“I think most of the people that work in it, they’re just there to get into it,” says Kiefer Sutherland, the Oscar-winning star.
A few years ago, his mother, Dorothy, would make him watch the movie “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” to unwind. He’d cry by the end, and he says she still gets tears streaming down her face. Now she knows the story of the ballet from somewhere: A kid once tried to imitate Dvorak at age 11. The same man taught him the moves, and over the course of his youth, he became fluent.
Now he’s the biggest star in show business and a huge fan of the sport. But he’s not just a fan. In fact, he’s a dancer. He’s worked with choreographer Alexei Gumenik for years. (Gumenik is a fellow choreographer who taught the choreographer who taught the man who taught him to dance.)
“I get great joy from the dance,” Sutherland told me. “I’m not trying to be the best at it or to score big time. I’m just trying to dance it the way it was meant to be danced—and it’s amazing.”
What about the criticism? “I get that sometimes. But if I had people tell me my ballet was crap, I’d just keep doing it. I wouldn’t ask for change or try to improve at it or try to get a new way to do it, just keep doing what came before. At least try.”
You might be wondering, what was he doing in a ballet class at the time? Well, he spent the summer studying the choreography at the Institute of Contemporary Dance (ICD), which is part of The New York Academy of Music, while finishing his first film, “The Social Network.”
Now you might ask yourself, how do he do it? Well, like the movies, it starts with a lot of study and a lot of trial and error. “I had a whole semester in rehearsal,” he says, “where I studied the move after move, not just the first position. I didn’t do it to be a good dancer, I just did it to learn the move after move, I’m still doing that.”
That’s an example of a dancer learning the moves, rather than focusing on the body.
But it’s not just about learning a dance move,
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