As a young dancer, the majority of my dance idols were classical ballerinas who danced in the Coppelias and Swan Lakes of the world. But this changed in the 1990s when The Joffrey Ballet commissioned the music of Prince to put on the most moving interpretation of his music I’d ever seen.
In a yet unprecedented move, Billboards used the music of Prince in combination with the choreography of many Joffrey artists to present one of the most buzzed about shows of the era.
Here was the genius, Prince fans had an opportunity to be exposed to classical and contemporary ballet, and ballet fans were treated to the music of Prince. Win, win, WIN!
And it was the most provocative thing I’d ever seen. I’d been a Prince fan, in the way that you are a Prince fan when you grew up in Minneapolis, but I’d never heard songs like “Darling Nikki” much less seen them danced to in bras and panties. As a teenager, it was the first time I remember understanding what ART is. How artists can collaborate and create even bigger art. I was inspired.
Today, I still remember rushing home from school and watching a piece or two on the VHS tape we purchased at a performance before I went to dance class myself as inspiration. This is what Prince did. He innovated. He built bridges. He inspired. Not just musicians, but all types of artists.
And since, people have seen imitations works, like the recent production “Moving Out” which paired the music of Billy Joel with the choreography of Twyla Tharp.