I recently caught up with our Director/Choreographer Keturah Stickann to talk about herself, her upcoming visit to Vermont, and how to dance and keep someone's pants up at the same time.
Give us a little back ground about yourself.
I'm originally from Missouri, but I currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I'm a director and choreographer, but I started out as a modern dancer, both in concert dance and opera.
What was appealing about coming to Vermont to be a part of Orpheus and Euridice?
I was excited to come up to Vermont both because of Ricky's piece, which is such a great story and a beautiful piece of music, and also because of the site-specific aspect of the performance. My degree concentrated on site-specific work, so doing this sort of performance is straight out of my roots. I loved the Marble museum the first time I saw it, and the opportunity to get in there and tell a story in that space is absolutely delicious.
What are your favorite operas, musicals, music, plays?
Not sure I can begin to answer this question.
How did you get started as a director and choreographer?
I danced for years and years before I'd ever paid any attention to opera. When I was just out of college, I got a job as dance captain for Philip Glass' "Akhnaten" in Chicago, and the second I stepped out on stage and started dancing with that full chorus singing, I knew I'd found my medium. I've been interested in directing for as long as I can remember, so when I retired from the stage, I always knew I would learn the craft of directing. I was lucky to fall in with some pretty incredible mentors right off the bat, who taught me how to put up a show with humor and generosity, and how to collaborate with designers to make meaningful shared work. I miss performing sometimes, but I love helping performers prepare for the stage even more.
Do you have any funny stage anecdotes to share?
I have a ton. But the one that still makes me heave with laughter is from fairly early in my performing career. Also (Bonus!) It's about an adaptation of Orpheus and Eurydice. I was playing one of a duo of "malevolent spirits" who were supposed to follow behind Orpheus as he made his way into the underworld. My counterpart and I were dancers, and Orpheus was a singer with a body mic, and a mic pack tucked into the back of his pants. At some point during the number, his pants came undone, and started to slip off. He kept trying to get them buttoned again, but the scene was very active, and so he looked back at both of us with fear and frustration. My partner and I did the only thing we could: Karen took the back of his waistband, and held it up while still trying to dance behind him, and I stuck my hands down his pants, found the mic pack, and held onto it until we were safely off the stage. Orpheus kept on singing, trying desperately to look like he was searching for his lost love, instead of actively trying to obscure the fact that his two dedicated furies were literally attached to him via a wayward pair of falling pants. Ah, the glamorous life of a dancer!
If you would like to know more about Keturah, please visit her website.