If you haven’t been to the ballet in awhile, or ever, ORANJE is bringing ballet to YOU this year!
Callie Croom is a classically-trained ballet dancer living in Chicago, taking this very technical, challenging and distinguished art form and putting a fresh, modern twist on it. Born in Dayton, Ohio, Croom grew up taking ballet classes since she was only three years old, dancing for Barbara Pontecorvo. She continued her education at Butler, receiving a BFA in Dance Performance two years ago. During her time at Butler, she choreographed each year for the Student Choreography Showcase (which she urges you to try to attend…it’s FREE!). “My art is like me; it’s weird and quirky and at points a little immature, but that’s how you grow up artistically,” Croom said. “It’s constant experimentation, lots of trial and error.”
This past season, Croom worked with colleagues at Elements Contemporary Ballet for an installation in the Chicago Cultural Center. Elements is a part-time gig for her while she freelances for several other people in the greater Chicago area and waits tables in the evening. “I’d like to work full time with a company, either as a dancer or a choreographer (or both!),” she said.
So how does one go about choreographing ballet? Croom tells us she likes to try to enter a studio/rehearsal with some sort of planned movement, but at the same time as a blank slate. Inspiration can hit at any time, from human relationships she has had to a piece of inspiring music. Casting dancers that she trusts, and that also trust her, they work as a team to come up with movement that makes sense for everyone. “We usually improvise for awhile to get comfortable with each other. Then, I start building around certain phrases that work.”
This will be Croom’s first year ORANJE, both as an artist and attendee. “I’ve case mostly Butler alumni that live in Chicago now, so I’m excited to work with this specific group of people and to be able to bring them back into a place we all spent time together dancing. I have no idea what the finished work will look like, but I know I’ve got some seriously talented dancers cast for this, so I highly recommend you come see them werk.”