5 Questions for a Choreographer


Ilya Kozadayev is quite the jet setter. Before retiring from the stage to focus on choreographing, Kozadayev trained at the Vagonova School in St. Petersburg, Russia, The School of American Ballet in New York City, the Academy of Ballet in Colorado and graduated from the John Cranko Ballet Academy in Stuttgart, Germany. After performing with an impressive array of professional ballet companies from Boston to Houston, Ilya served as Assistant Professor of Ballet at the University of Oklahoma School of Ballet.


Currently in his first year as a member of the Dance Faculty at North Carolina School of The Arts, Ilya Kozadayev has made several trips to Providence in recent years, creating some of FBP’s most memorable story ballets including Hansel & Gretel and Romeo & Juliet. This season, Ilya departs from this narrative approach with his gripping Symbiosis, coming to Up Close On Hope this week. Let’s dive into some details…

So Ilya, let’s start from the beginning. When did you first feel inspired to create choreography?

I think I was 12 or 13 when I created a solo for myself and performed it in my middle school concert.


What is your process like? Are you driven by the music first or a specific concept?

My process is different for every piece that I do. I usually develop a concept and then look for the music (or silence) to fit it.

Where did the inspiration for Symbiosis come from?

The inspiration for Symbiosis actually came from the idea of dance itself, and its requirement of close physical and physiological support, particularly in contact partnering.


Symbiosis will feature a unique use of the new lighting in our Black Box Theater. Can you tell us a bit about how lighting, in tandem with costuming, music, and other elements, contributes to your overall vision as a choreographer?

I think that the beautiful new lighting in the Black Box Theater are an important part of this work. Lighting, costume and music are vital parts of the whole for me- the “ total work of art”. All of these elements are essential in setting the environment of that which is happening on the stage, thus creating a complete vision; an experience which the viewer can then freely enjoy and interpret.


What do you think the dancers at FBP can bring to this piece? 

I always enjoy working with the dancers at FBP. They learn the work fast and interpret the choreography with dynamic yet sensitive approach. It is beautiful to watch.

To see Ilya’s piece at Up Close On Hope this month, head here or call (401) 353-1129 for tickets.


This post was written by Kirsten Evans. The author is in her eighth season as a Company Dancer with Festival Ballet Providence. She is also the Company PR & Communications Assistant, as well as the writer of a personal blog, Setting The Barre.



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