Meet the NEXT STEP Artist: James Kirby  Rogers

James Kirby Rogers (he/him) is from San Francisco, California. He trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he was a YAGP finalist in 2014. He attended summer courses at San Francisco Ballet and Houston Ballet. James joined Houston Ballet II in 2015 and Kansas City Ballet in 2016. He joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a soloist in 2021.

Read on to learn a little more about James and his new work, and see his new choreographic work for NEXT STEP 2023 on Friday, June 16 at 7:30PM at McCaw Hall. Click here for more information and to buy your tickets.

NEXT STEP is PNB’s annual choreographic workshop where Company dancers have the opportunity to create original works for PNB School Professional Division students. NEXT STEP provides opportunity, infrastructure, and support to grow tomorrow’s choreographic talent while providing a performance opportunity to our most advanced students.

Interviewed by Eric Hipolito

What is your piece about? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My piece is about heritage and group thought. I draw inspiration from so many things, movies, books, nature, dancers, choreographers, other kinds of theater. For this piece it was my family.

What is your choreographic process like? Why did you choose to choreograph this year?
My process is very collaborative. I am interested in hearing the voices of the dancers in my piece.

Is this your first time choreographing for NEXT STEP or are you a returning choreographer?
This is my second time choreographing for NEXT STEP. I think this year I had a clearer picture of what the program is like. It really is a marathon where most choreographic processes are sprints.

What do you want the audience to leave with after your piece?
For me when I watch my piece I feel affirmed by the beauty of life. I hope they feel that.

What are you going to do with your time off?
I’m going to Europe!

Who were your role models or inspiration when you were younger?
Baryshnikov, Jermaine Spivey, Pina Bausch, Marina Abramovich, my mother and father, the list goes on.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I love the water.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. -Rumi

Photo credits: James Kirby Rogers © Angela Sterling. James Kirby Rogers in rehearsal for NEXT STEP with PNB School Professional Division students, photos © Eric Hipolito.