The Classical Station’s interview with Amy Hall Garner

Interview with Amy Hall Garner

by Bethany Tillerson (photo credit: © Luis Alberto Rodriguez)

Amy Hall Garner
Photo © Luis Alberto Rodriguez

Amy Hall Garner has quickly risen in the dance world to become a renowned choreographer, working with the likes of The Juilliard School and Broadway. She has also received an award in The Joffrey Academy of Dance’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition. We were honored to be able to interview her on her recent and upcoming work with Carolina Ballet.

This season isn’t the first time Garner has worked with Carolina Ballet; she worked with them previously last year.

GARNER: I first worked with them about a year ago in the Choreographer Spotlight series. As a freelance choreographer, you jump on those opportunities because that means you can work with a company and create different works with them and try to find new things in your choreographic voice, which is what I am all about and always wanting to do. I was really excited to figure out a new language in ballet with Carolina Ballet.

She also elaborated on the ways the pandemic has affected her career as a choreographer.

GARNER: I’ve done both in-person and virtual work. With Carolina Ballet, it’s always been in person…so I’m just excited about getting in the studio with them. The pandemic showed all of us that we take those little things for granted, things that you wouldn’t even think about. But the pandemic got away from us for a little while, so it’s going to be nice to be in the studio creating like we normally do.

As a choreographer, Garner finds herself moved by music, literally and figuratively, and looks to it for inspiration.

GARNER: Music is my foundation for creating work. I have to feel the music. I have to see the dance, so to speak, through the music. I am always looking for wonderful music that takes me on a journey, that gets my wheels going. With choreography, you’re seeing the music, you’re seeing the time signature, you’re seeing how the choreographer plays with timing and musicality and colors in a different way than listening to it on the radio or at home. It’s very, very important—and if you’re a music lover and you know the piece very well, it’s thrilling to see how someone interprets the piece and brings it to life.

Carolina Ballet, in addition to presenting new pieces, will be performing Garner’s previous choreography, a work titled Suite 44. Garner had great things to say about revisiting old work that will strike a chord with any artistic person.

GARNER: I’m really excited about revisiting Suite 44 because as a choreographer, you create a work and then you have time away from it. You look at it again and you may want to change and embellish and manipulate things differently depending on where you are and how you see it, because you’ve come away from the work for a while. I’m excited to revisit it and see what happens and see how the dancers are settling in with it now.

Amy Hall Garner’s thoughts on choreography, music, dance, and the design elements that go into a ballet performance are well-worth listening to in full. The interview conducted by Naomi Lambert aired on The Classical Station at 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 18th.