[Interview] 9 Questions with dancer James Floyd

Our North: Israel Garcia Chenge, Reagan Wise and James Floyd Photo by Cheryl Mann

Our North: Israel Garcia Chenge, Reagan Wise and James Floyd Photo by Cheryl Mann

BTSCelebs: Who is James Floyd? 

James Floyd: (Basic Bio) James grew up in the very supportive and loving family of Jack and Lela Floyd in northeastern Florida, and always enjoyed dancing for pure enjoyment. James’ sister Emily Iva Floyd, also a dancer, photographer, and choreographer, guided him to many of his achievements. The Barbara Thompson School of Dance, a local dance school in northern Jacksonville, Florida, initiated James’ main dance training at the age of 3 years old. James’ interest was not originally in classical ballet, studying many different styles of dance while living in Jacksonville including gymnastics/acrobatics, modern, character, jazz, contemporary in addition to ballet.

 At the age of 13, James attended a performance of Romeo & Juliet by American Ballet Theatre at Lincoln Center for the Arts in New York City. Soon thereafter, he developed a more technical and artistic understanding of classical ballet. James says, “He was completely entranced by the grace, strength, and beauty the male dancers/characters portrayed, as well as how clearly the story ballet could be understood by movement without words.”

James classical ballet training did not begin intensely until the age of 15 after competing in the 2010 Youth American Grand Prix finals in New York City. James furthered his study of classical ballet and contemporary dance training on scholarship with The Rock School for Dance Education – a pre-professional year round study, which James participated in from September 2010 through June 2014. In addition, James also participated in summer intensives with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Austin, The Joffrey Ballet, and The Bolshoi Ballet Academy in New York City and Moscow, Russia.

 James joined The Joffrey Ballet for the 2014-2015 season as a Studio Company member.

Who inspired you to pursue a career as a dancer?

I believe as a young child I was always inspired to dance, and created most of my own choreographic routines with my older sister. I know for a fact that it was not just one specific person who inspired me to dance. My parents and older sister were really the initiators who continued to support and believe in my dreams to pursue my career as a dancer.

How are you able to remember each detailed step of new choreography? How long does it take to perfect it?

As a dancer, being able to remember each detailed step of new choreography is extremely vital to a dancer’s profession, and it’s simply part of the job. As dancers, we are expected to work through numerous weeks of rehearsals to master the choreographer’s vision of his/her work. The rehearsal process generally depends on the specific type of production we will be performing. If we are preparing for a full length ballet, learning the choreography would take approximately 2 weeks, and about 4-6 weeks to perfect the details of the production. However, if we are preparing a contemporary choreographic work such as The Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Works, it would typically take about 2 weeks to learn the choreography and about 1-2 weeks to perfect it.

 Is it hard to lift your partner or completely trust them to lift you during a performance? How do you eliminate accidents on stage?

As a seasoned pre-professional dancer, we are required to have an abundant amount of specialized previous training. The ability to practice connecting our movements, and working together with other dancers in partnering is definitely a requirement. After much repetition and practice, partnering becomes more organic. The best way to eliminate accidents on stage is to work very closely with your partner to make sure you both have a mutual understanding of one another’s energy through the role of unison for the work.

Describe your dream ballet. Which Joffrey dancers would you want to join you in the performance?

I would have to say my dream ballet to perform would be Roland Petit’s Notre-Dame de Paris. This is a unique neo-classic ballet based on Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which premiered at the Paris Opera Ballet in 1965. This specific ballet requires numerous amounts of dancers to be involved, so therefore I would want all Joffrey dancers to be a part of it.

What production are you currently working on?

The production we are currently working on is Alexei Kremnev & Anna Reznik’s conception of The Sleeping Beauty, which will be performed May 14-17, 2015 in the Joffrey Black Box Theater located at Joffrey Tower.

What can we look forward to seeing you in during the remainder of 2015?

As I conclude the 2014-2015 season with The Joffrey Ballet Studio Company, I’m seeking to gain more experience and performance opportunities with a professional company, as well as continue to follow my dreams and grow as an artist physically.

*A Special Thanks to The Silverman Group and James Floyd for the exclusive interview and image.*

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