John Beasant III is an independent dance artist regularly teaching, performing, and presenting his own work across the country. Formerly a company member for Doug Varone and Dancers and Shapiro and Smith, John has also worked with a number of up and coming choreographers and been a guest artist for The Limón Dance Company. His recent choreographic commissions include work for The Modern American Dance Company (St. Louis, MO), and the Juilliard School (NYC, NY).
As the first guest artist of the 2012 school year, John was no stranger to the MCD studios. Like all our modern dance majors and grads, John Beasant III, spent countless hours here honing his craft before completing his MFA in 2009, though he did most of his graduate studies in the Department in the 1990’s. This fall in the midst of his thriving career as an independent artist, he returned to the University of Utah to work with our current students. His 3-week residency included daily technique class, teaching advance improvisation, choreographing for PDC and a brown bag lunch discussion. Grateful for the mentorship he received while in the department, John also carved out time to meet one on one with students to chat, answer questions and offer advice. I took advantage of one of those meeting to ask John a few questions. Here is what he had to say.
(A) What’s it like being back?
(J) Oh it’s great!
(A) What are your impressions of the current students?
(J) They have met and exceeded my expectations! I enjoy their curiosity and questioning. I prefer thinking bodies and inquisitive minds. And, they’re real responsive to feedback.
(A) Do you find students here are unique in that respect?
(J) Yeah well, this department has such a focus on contemporary dance and study. It’s special, the level of inquiry and the intelligent bright dancers. There’s a real fostering of research development too.
(A) What can you tell me about your PDC piece?
(J) Well, one constant in my work is the human element, relationships and discoveries about the human condition. I am always looking for something true and honest. In this piece each dancer has a unique personal journey traveling through intimate and environmental spaces, to ultimately find a common ground as a community of people. It’s really a celebration of the work and play of artists.
(A) If you could pass on just one piece of advice to the students here what would it be?
(J) Be yourself, find something true, unique, and special inside the process for you.