2018 ETD/NCG Spotlight: Jordan Ryder / by Andrew Tran

We would like to introduce you to another one of our 2018 ETD New Choreographer Grant Recipients, Ms. Jordan Ryder. She just recently graduated from NYU and bursting onto the professional dance scene! Here is a little more about her and her dance background.

Come see Jordan, and our other two recipient’s new work at our ETD/NCG Studio Showing at the Martha Graham Studio Theater (55 Bethune Street, 11th Floor) on Saturday October 13th, 2018, with showings at 7pm and 8:30pm.

1) How long have you been dancing? What college did you attend?

I started dancing at the age of three! However, I would say my more serious training began at age fourteen. For college, I attended New York University, Tisch School of the Arts where I graduated in 2018 with a BFA in Dance and a double minor in Sociology and the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology.

2) When did you start creating work and what was the name of your first work? (feel free to elaborate)

Aside from dancing around in my basement growing up, my first formal choreographic endeavor was sophomore year of high school. My high school’s dance company obligated us students to submit a piece proposal for our winter concert. I was so intimidated by the idea of creating work that I submitted an improvisation based piece in hopes it would be rejected. To my surprise (and slight horror), it was accepted. However, as I moved through the creation process, I found I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot about commanding a room. The experience also opened my eyes to how vast the world of choreography could be. Seeing the work performed on stage filled me with so much pride and happiness that as soon as the curtain closed, I was eager to choreograph again. I haven’t been able to stop since!

3) Which choreographers inspire you the most and/or what is your favorite piece of choreography?

I love the work of Adam Barruch, Aszure Barton, and Crystal Pite. Each of them are great at infusing their artistic language into thrillingly physical, virtuosic, and technical movement. The interplay between narrative and raw movement fascinates me, and I believe all three of them combine the two in innovative ways.

4) What made you fall in love with choreography? Can you think of any specific moment in your life that made you realize you loved choreographing?

Though I enjoyed choreographing throughout high school and college, it was not until my senior year at NYU that I decided I wanted to continue choreographing post graduation. To celebrate my final year, I decided to make the most of my resources as a student while pushing myself as a choreographer more than I ever had before. I worked with classical music for the first time, had the dancers wear gym shoes, and even incorporated two tables as props. While having this many obstacles initially was quite overwhelming, the challenge taught me a lot about myself and rewarded me with a piece that felt genuinely me. Seeing all the risks that initially made me uncomfortable play out on stage made me feel such purpose and pure joy. It was then that I realized I didn’t want my graduation to serve as the ending to my choreographic career. After that initial concert, my piece was chosen by the NYU Tisch Dance faculty and student body to be presented again at the end of the year during Second Avenue Dance Company’s Major dance concert. To me this served as another sign that I should pursue choreography with full force.

5) What is your goal as a choreographer? Do you want to start your own company? Or, work project based?

I started my company, RyderDance, immediately upon graduation. Because I am so fresh out of school, I am currently focused on developing a body of work to my name and applying for performance opportunities. Right now, my goal is to have a talented company of dancers and the means to continue exploring my choreographic voice.

6) Where do you see yourself in ten years as a choreographer?

In ten years, I plan to be in a place where I can pursue choreography full time with a consistent company of dancers that I am able to compensate fairly for their time and energy. I aspire to be established to the point where my company tours nationally and internationally, and I am asked to create commissions with other artists.