Next up in our series of Twitter interviews is Sam Pinkleton, the choreographer of MARIE ANTOINETTE. The chat ranged from Sam’s influences to what distinguishes movement in a play versus a musical or piece of dance, and what are some of Sam’s dream projects.
@SohoRep: We are interviewing choreographer Sam Pinkleton from MARIE ANTOINETTE. Hey Sam; how are you? First off– how did you come to dance?
@PamStinkleton: [I came to it] by accident. I did theatre and liked to jump around a bit more than most…and possibly choreographed my high school show choir.
@SohoRep: Ahh I see — so it was GLEE before there was such a thing?
@PamStinkleton: oh yes. #lowbrowbeginnings — I think the first thing I choreographed was a Carpenters medley in sequin dresses
@SohoRep: Does Todd Haynes know about this? [This is a reference to SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, an infamous short film by director Todd Haynes that tells the tragic story of Karen Carpenter using Barbie dolls. It has never been cleared for release by the Carpenter estate. –Ed.] #litigiousCarpentersusage.
@PamStinkleton: I read Todd HAIMES, but either one of them should stay away from my Carpenters history. I’m campaigning to put a “we’ve only just begun” dance break into the MACHINAL wedding scene…stay tuned…
@SohoRep: “We’ve only just begun” dance break = Sophie Treadwell spinning in her grave. Or maybe totally loving it? The latter!
@SohoRep: You seem to be making a name as the choreographer who works on plays. Is there a difference between dance in a play and a musical?
@PamStinkleton: I’m not sure yet…what I love about choreographing plays is that the way dance fits is carefully considered by playwright/director. It feels like there’s more economy and therefore more precision, more specificity — but then again I’ve never done HELLO DOLLY
@SohoRep: In MARIE how was it ‘carefully considered’? And in MR BURNS?
@PamStinkleton: BURNS was about “dance moves”. MARIE was creating a tightness and an atmosphere around the one woman. I’m being reductive of course…
@SohoRep: Is this because movement is weighted more powerfully in a play — where there is less to begin with?
@PamStinkleton: I think it is. It has different value show to show — in BURNS, dance was its own currency in – like music or TV show memories
@SohoRep: What is the process like when it’s maximalist? Like a Broadway-style musical?
@PamStinkleton: Creating ‘tightness and atmosphere’ seems more inline with a play; BURNS was – for all intents and purposes – a musical, no? I like to think of Burns as a musical play-it’s a play where folks use music for very specific reasons (including doing a musical). I’ve never done a big flashy musical (I’m available) but nothing beats big flashy dancing. Spectacle triumphs when done well…
@SohoRep: Who are some of your favorite choreographers?
@PamStinkleton: the great Dan Safer who runs Witness Relocation…of course I love Forsythe and Sasha Waltz and Pina and de Keersmaker. also Steven Hoggett, Sheryl Murakami who does videos for Beyonce…and of course Robbins and Graham and everyone we steal from
@SohoRep: Have you choreographed evening length pieces of dance? What’s that experience like?
@PamStinkleton: I’ve never choreographed concert dance at all; I’ve only worked in theatre. It doesn’t appeal to me; I like being a collaborator.
@SohoRep: What are your upcoming collaborations? What’s a dream project?
@PamStinkleton: the aforementioned MACHINAL at The Roundabout Theater Company, the new musical FLY BY NIGHT at Playwright’s Horizons… And maybe some TBA fun with some MARIE collabs… you set me up for this, but I really want to do a big splashy musical! It scares the hell out of me! MAME in Tampa or something…
@SohoRep: Thanks so much for chatting with us, Sam! Looking forward to that opening night in Tampa… Cheers, sir!
@PamStinkleton: See you at the hotel pool. Thanks, guys.