Every year at this time, there is such a rush of energy felt around the PNB studios. There is a performance season in full swing, the school is starting rehearsals for our June performance, and the youngest and newest choreographers are quietly anxious, as they begin to feel the stress of what to do next in preparation for NEXT STEP on June 18. In particular, Price Suddarth and Ezra Thomson. These are two Company members who are not only adjusting very well to their new lives as professional dancers, but also experiencing their first taste of the chaotic schedule and planning that go along with creating a new work for PNB’s NEXT STEP program.

Price has made full use of his time with his dancers and is a thoughtful planner. Yet, finding time in his full schedule as a first year Company dancer is proving to be quite a task. He is calm and quietly confident about knowing he’ll finish his first new work by June 18th, but at the same time restless to get into the studio and work with the Professional Division students he has chosen. His piece is starting to take shape, and looks quite a bit like Price’s dancing— musical and clear, with angles that are precise and tastefully artistic.

Choreographer Ezra Thomson works with
Professional Division students Jennifer Christie and Harrison Monaco on a new work for NEXT STEP.
Photo by Kylee Kitchens.

Ezra is realizing just what a huge responsibility he’s taken on. Not only has he decided to choreograph, but this second year dancer has also (at the wise suggestion of Peter Boal) gone ahead and composed his own music for this year’s NEXT STEP! It is already difficult to choreograph under the constraints of performing, taking class, and rehearsing as a PNB Company member. To also compose, play, and record original music in your spare time is quite an undertaking. How does he do it? Ezra is the quintessential workhorse, though laidback enough to not stress out too much. He knows he’ll get everything done, but is always thinking of what needs to come next.

I’ve included a clip of Ezra’s original composition for this year’s performance so that you can get a sneak peak as to what is in store for everyone. I hope you enjoy it, and stay tuned for more updates and insight as to what is to be expected June 18th. It’s getting closer! Also, don’t forget about TEEN NIGHT on May 4. From 6-8 pm teens are invited to step in side Studio C with Company dancers and be the first to see the works being created for NEXT STEP.  I hope to see you there!

Nicholas Ade, NEXT STEP Coordinator

Featured photo: Choreographer Price Suddarth works with Professional Division student Elle Macy on a new work for NEXT STEP. Photo by Lindsay Thomas.