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Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor
Get to know Boston Ballet’s resident choreographer, Jorma Elo.
Jorma Elo in rehearsalPhoto credit: Ernesto Galan
Jorma EloPhoto credit: Sadie Dayton
Internationally-acclaimed choreographer JORMA ELO has created 15 world premieres for Boston Ballet since becoming the Company’s resident choreographer in 2005. His works draw inspiration from both contemporary and classical realms. His Bach Cello Suites physically unites dance and music, while his CARMEN is a fiery and dynamic ballet refreshed with roles that reflect today’s world. We sat down with Elo to talk about everything from his long friendship with Artistic Director MIKKO NISSINEN to his childhood dreams of becoming a professional hockey player.
Tell us how you became a dancer.
Well, I was into sports. I played hockey as a very young man and I loved it. I wanted to become a professional. Then I saw my sisters going to the dance class, and I thought, “Hey that would be good training to maximize my physicality for hockey.” When I started dance class, I found out that there was music involved with the physicality, so that drew me in.
Did you always choreograph throughout your life as a dancer?
No, it was actually much later on that I started to choreograph small works. I was well over 30 when I started my first choreographies. And even those were just playing around, having fun. So the interest grew quite late compared with many choreographers, and slowly I fell in love.
When did you meet Mikko?
I met Mikko when I went to my first class at the Finnish National Ballet School. I was probably 13 and he was 12. He was very ambitious. From a young age, he had this power and ambition to do great, cool things. He went on to have an international career as a dancer, with more of a classical repertoire. I was doing more modern dance, even though I started as a classical dancer, and in different parts of the world we had our own careers. Then we came back together when he invited me to do a piece for Alberta Ballet, his then-company in Calgary. It was one of my first commissions for a bigger company.
Lia Cirio and Paulo Arrais in Jorma Elo's Carmen
Photo credit: Rachel Neville Photography
Get a behind the scenes look as Principal Dancer Lia Cirio rehearses Jorma Elo’s reimagined Carmen.