Robert began choreographing at Point Park University, where he received a BFA in Jazz Dance. He joined Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2 after college under the direction of Shonna Hickman-Matlock. He was commissioned to set two full-length original works for Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s 2010-2011 season. Robert continues to explore his talent for choreography as part of CityDance’s faculty by creating colorful, eclectic works like “Carnaval” and “Trees”.
Rob’s work will appear this weekend at the CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore Hall in an evening of dance with CityDance Conservatory and Hubbard Street 2.
I had the opportunity to ask Rob a few questions about his experience with dance and choreography, focusing on this weekend’s performance.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in dance?
Robert Priore: I often ask myself why I chose a career in dance, but the answer I’ve come to is that dance chose me. From a young age I was a mover and a shaker, constantly making up dances for my sister and I. It wasn’t until I was 13 when my parents put me in dance classes that I knew I absolutely had to be a dancer. No matter how much I have to struggle physically or financially – I will be a dancer.
Can you describe your inspiration for My Heart has Four Corners, which will be a part of this weekend’s performance?
Robert Priore: My Heart has Four Corners looks at the idea of supporting the one you love. The four corners of a square are strong and resistant and can withhold a lot of pressure. The same speaks for the boundaries of a committed relationship.
I’ve seen you dance with CityDance Ensemble and in videos online from Company E. You are a wonderful mover and performer. In your current position at CityDance, you have to move from performance to choreography. What do you like about choreographing and what are some of the challenges you may face?
Robert Priore: Dancing and choreographing are really like apples and oranges to me. When I am dancing and working with Company E I have to turn on one part of my brain, and when I am teaching and choreographing I need to activate another part. However with that being said, I believe that when I’m doing both at the same time it gives me an extra insight to share with the students that is different from most educators and choreographers. When I’m working with them at night, I’m also going through the same process during the day. As much as I love dancing, I have always felt myself to be more of a choreographer. There’s a rush you get when you watch your choreography on stage that can’t be replaced by any other feeling.
What can guests look forward to tomorrow at Strathmore?
Robert Priore: I think everyone will be in for a real surprise at this concert. Never in my four years of professional dancing experience or in my 10 years of teaching, have I seen young dancers move this way. I’m very excited to see how the audience responds to these dancers performing the work that I’ve created, as well as in the pieces others have crafted.
Tickets are still available for tomorrow night’s performance, CityDance Presents Hubbard Street 2 and CityDance Conservatory Dancers at Strathmore at 8PM. I hope you are able to attend the performance – and let me know what you enjoyed most! If you can’t attend on Saturday, the cancelled performance tonight will be held as an open rehearsal with a suggested $20 donation. You can purchase tickets by visiting the Strathmore site or by calling 301.581.5100.