Susana B. Williams has exemplified the majesty of human movement through the Royal Ballet’s principle dancer
Hello Matthew, first thing’s first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Matthew: I was born in Liverpool, England. At present, I work in London and when touring as it’s happening recently I have been in Los Angeles, California, USA, Tokyo, Japan and soon I will be at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. All taking place in less than one month.
& you, Susana, where are you from & living today?
Susana: I was born in Guatemala City where I initiated my dance education at the National School of Dance of Guatemala. By marriage, and after residing for more than 36 years in the U.S.A. I became a U.S. citizen in 1999. My home is in Kentucky, USA.
Can you tell us about your training?
Matthew: I joined The Royal Ballet School aged 11 and graduated through the School with honors. Roles while astudent included Fritz (The Nutcracker) with The Royal Ballet. Awards as a student include at the School’s 2011 Lynn Seymour Competition, the 2009 Kenneth MacMillan Senior Choreographic Competition and the Gailene Stock and Gary Norman Award for Excellence. I joined the Royal Ballet during the 2013/14 Season, promoted to First Artist in 2015, Soloist in 2016, First Soloist in 2017 and Principal dancer in 2018. In 2016 I was named Best Emerging Artist at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.
How does one become the principal dancer at The Royal Ballet?
Matthew: I don’t think I could be the dancer that I am today without having been trained by extraordinary ballet masters at the Royal Ballet School and receiving superb attention and coaching at The Royal Ballet and other companies I dance for including Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. My responsibility and commitment is to excellence when performing the work of acclaimed choreographers nationally and internationally. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by the quality of inspiring international dance-artists from all over the world.
You’ve got three famous dancers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Matthew: I have to say that Johan Kobborg is someone I appreciate for his artistry and acting a lot, and the way he gets into roles. Of course, both Baryshnikov and Nureyev obviously, who I’ve watched hundreds of times on video. I will hire a chef and will look at his suggestions.
Susana, you have devised a piece called “My Accidental Departure” for a one-off performance at the Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Susana: The dance-theater piece “My Accidental Departure” honors the memory of my oldest son who at age 36 was in a fatal accident that took place in the early hours of a Summer day. To offer the audience the most perfected interpretation of the theme and utilizing my own movement idiom to express what I perceive as the stages of the accident I invited Matthew Ball a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet to collaborate with me performing the work.
Where & when did you first meet Susana?
Matthew: I met Susana B.Williams thanks to an invitation I received from Dance-Forms Productions via the internet. I began communicating with Mrs.Williams on November 2, 2018. I was very flattered to have been selected to perform her new work “My Accidental Departure” to be presented as part of “Dance-Forms’ 76th International Choreographers’ Showcase” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in exclusive performance on Monday, August 5, 2019 at the Emerald Theater/Greenside show starting at 9:20 A.M.
What compell’d you to pick Max Richter’s avant-garde update over the real thing?
Susana: After listening to various musical compositions the ideal choice for me was to synchronize Max Richter’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons/Summer” to the choreography. The musical structure of “Summer” presents all the musical modalities and transitions I was looking for.
Dance-Forms will be delivering eight other distinct works by choreographers from across the world – is there an element of competition or is the event more a festival of ideas?
Susana: Exploring an unlimited range of creative ideas, “Dance-Forms’ 76th International Choreographers’ Showcase” delivers a solid line-up of superb choreography. The company will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a feast of stunning dance works by international choreographers in a program featuring original choreography by Frances Lai Baca, Cornelius Carter, Aylin Eleonora, David Justin, Mercede Kia, James Morrow, Kelley Schoger, Shoko Tamai. The element of competition is present, but above all is a wonderful celebration of the art form. The showcase will be presented in five performances at the Emerald Theater/Greenside Venues from August 5 through 9, 2019 at 9:20 A.M.
How are you finding working with Susana & her creation?
Matthew: I first became acquainted with Susana’s work watching a video of her acclaimed solo “Time And No Time” with music by Bahramji & Maneesh De Moor’s ‘Call Of The Mystic.’ The work was reviewed as a highlight of “Dance-Forms’ 75th International Choreographers’ Showcase” in Dancing Times Magazine. The solo was interpreted by Brandon Lawrence, principal dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet who I knew from our years at the Royal Ballet School. Working with Mrs.Williams is a delightful experience. I begin learning and rehearsing her choreography on August 1st. She’s synchronizing the work to Max Richter’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons (Summer),” a musical composition I love.
How are you finding working with Matthew?
Susana: Working with Matthew means to me having the opportunity to present my work at the highest technical level. His extraordinary artistry as demonstrated in performances offered with the Royal Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures will help make his performance of “My Accidental Departure” an unforgettable experience.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell My Accidental Departure on the streets of Edinburgh…
Susana: A dance performance like no other with the cream of the crop of dance.