Beyond Choreography...

Written by Neta Meir


Posted on April 05 2017

It's April first, which calls for a new month-a fresh start is ahead of us!!
So because I feel super festive I am more than excited to introduce you to a very special guest we got the chance to talk to-Darrell Grand Moultrie, 
Which might be one of my personal favorite choreographers. Back in the day, When Dance Theatre of Harlem visited Israel, They preformed a piece named "Vessels", which touched me truly .. And the brains behind this masterpiece is Mr. Moultrie, So ever since then I was a keen follower of his work.
I hope you'd find this interview as inspiring as I found it, and I'm wishing you a month full of inspiration, may your spirit never rest seeking for change and newness!!!


Q: About?
DGM: I was born and raised in New York City in Harlem (very proud New Yorker) youngest of five and introduced to the Arts through Public School. There was a very special woman in my life. Ms. Gwendolyn McLoud  my 3rd grade music teacher who saw something in me and made it her business to expose me to EVERYTHING New York had to offer. She told my mother...."he's mine!"  She made me sign a contract in the third grade that I would do great in school and she would pay for everything I needed for dance. i kept my end of the bargain and excelled in school and so did she. She paid for every dance class, every piece of clothing  and shoes I needed. She took me to Broadway shows, Symphonies, Alvin Ailey, New York City Ballet, Plays, Dance Theatre of Harlem. It gives me goosebumps when I think of what she did for me. Before she passed she told me she was very specific about showing me a very DIVERSE look in to the Arts. She told me the world would try to label me as one thing based on where i was from......and her goal was to make sure I appreciated many forms of Art. My career today is a direct reflection of what she did for me. I am blessed to be able to jump in to different genres as a choreographer thanks to her commitment to me. I hope to be an inspiration for young people of all races who come from disadvantaged surroundings.



Darrell Grand Moultrie by Franklin Thompson


Q: What made you realize you want to become a choreographer?

DGM: I was choreographing as a kid! I was always bossing the kids around and making them dance in my creations in the hallways of the housing projects! Usually it was the latest dances. As I got older there was a great school I attended in East harlem called The Harbor Conservatory for the Arts where I met more passionate teachers who changed my life. We would do student choreography there also. Then it continued at Laguardia High School for the Performing Arts and Juilliard.

Q: What's your favorite piece you have ever created?
DGM: I really love creating tailor made work for the dancers in front of me. So I love seeing dancers dance something that was created for them. I just recently set a new ballet in Japan at NBA Ballet and that was one of my favorites because the process was mind blowing. Their work ethic is out of this world. They delivered from the first day of rehearsal through the premiere. Boiling Point for Atlanta Ballet was a very similar experience.
Q: Who's your favorite choreographer? 
DGM: My favorite choreographer will never be just one person.  The list    Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Jose Limon, Bob Fosse, Dwight Rhoden, Ulysses Dove, Lila York, Nacho Duato, Jerome Robbins, Martha Graham, Peter Darling.
Q: What inspires you?
DGM: Joy and hard work inspires me. I love laughter and cracking jokes in rehearsal, but at the same time I love when we all can switch gears and put in the hard work. I'm secretly a goofball but Joy is what carries me. My family and friends make it all possible and their support inspires me.
Q: Dream company to work with? They'll be so lucky to work with you!!
DGM: Dream Companies are Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Hubbard Street,  I would love to work with Carlos Acosta. The New York companies are the birth of my inspiration so I would love to get to them for the full circle moment.
Q: What's the biggest difficulty about being a choreographer?
DGM: I would say the hardest part about being a choreographer is that you have to stay passionate for all of the dancers you meet. To inspire, challenge and lead is extremely difficult. You have to keep your mind and spirit strong. Each year you are on a course to change the artistic paths of many dancers. Not easy...... but amazing. Also to make sure people don't see my skin color and try to prejudge what I'm going to do. My biggest challenge has been getting people to really investigate the diversity of my work.
Q: What comes first in your choreography process:music or movement?
DGM: I'm a big music fan. I usually have my music first. I am a true believer in the marriage of music and choreography. A very essential relationship to move audiences.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
DGM: I used to try to predict where I could see myself...but I've learned to not even think about that. None of us know what the heck is next! I try to stay present and do great work. I would love to honor my grandmother and see a very strong savings account in 3 years.  lol  Freelance life is a financial rollercoaster.
Q: If you wouldn't be a choreographer, what would you be? 
If I wasn't a choreographer, I could see my self as a movie director. I am fascinated with filmmaking and actors.
Q: What's your favorite part of the day?
DGM: My favorite part of the day is 3am to 6am. There is a very unique type of silence during this time no matter where you are in the world. Its a great time to think and listen to music.
Q: Favorite thing to eat?
DGM: I loooooooove pizza.  Salmon (well done) also.
Q: What's on heavy rotation in your music library
DGM: If you heard my music rotation you would think I was crazy. Rotation   Beyonce, lots of Gospel, Prokofiev, Kendrick Lamar, Kenji Bunch, Brahms, The Hamilton soundtrack, Vogue chants by Kevin JZ Prodigy, Nirvana
Q: Balanchine or Petipa?
DGM: Balanchine!!!! I grew up on his work.
Q: Dream Destination?
DGM: My dream destination   Hawaii, Greece, Australia.  
Just give me an amazing beach, chair, umbrella, cocktail, and an iPod.



So there we go!! I feel extremely inspired and honored to have the chance to speak with such a talented choreographer, look out, world!! Darrell Grand Moultrie is coming at you ;)





  • Comment author

    Beautiful post!
    Thank you ; – )

    Posted by hana | April 22, 2017
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