How To Try Something New: Principal Dancer Lia Cirio On Her Choreographic Premiere

How (and why) did you decide to try your hand at choreography?

I feel like I have said this to you before, but I never thought I would choreograph. It’s never been on my radar…until the sign for the choreography workshop went up last year. We were doing Romeo and Juliet and I have never been cast to do Juliet, even though it is my dream role. So I was feeling emotional and distant from company, and trying to think of things I could do for myself to get inspired. I wanted to do something different, or to try something new, so I could break out of old patterns. The sign went up when I was going through this emotional turmoil, so I thought, ‘why don’t I try it?’

I started with a search for music. But when I found out that all the choreographers were women, I narrowed my search to focus on female composers. For movement, I drew a lot of inspiration from Jiří Kylián, a lot of flexed and sickled feet, and turned in kind of things, everything grounded. The dancers are wearing socks, but I can see myself experimenting with pointe shoes later.  I also drew from my own experiences, the ins and outs of my life, and those fleeting episodes of acknowledgment: when you are walking down the street and you remember a moment from your life and cringe or laugh.

Since I know my colleagues so well, I knew I wanted to use Maria Alvarez. She is so grounded and we have a similar focus in our dancing. Then I chose three guys — Matthew Slattery, Lawrence Rines, and Daniel Cooper — because I have loved their quality and their friendship together.  Because of my experience with Cirio Collective and Jeff, I went in wanting it to be a collaborative process. We all grooved and danced together and found our way.

When I decided that I wanted to do this, to give some of my artistry out, I felt so much better about that whole Juliet thing. I am not even thinking about that role now, it is kind of forgotten (until it comes up again at least) because I have found a voice and I feel so positive. I have had a taste of getting my vocabulary out and saying something with choreography, and now when I listen to music, I think, ‘I could do something to this.’

words by Lia Cirio | images by Erin Baiano

{ Cirio is pictured in Côté Cour’s Poetto leotard in new color Piet Red. Click here to shop, receive 15% off discount code when you order Issue 02. }


Cirio premieres her first work of choreography, Sta(i)r(e)s, set to music by Carolina Chocolate Drops and Agnes Obel on November 1st and 2nd as part of BB@Home: ChoreograpHER. The sold out, black box show, at BB’s headquarters, also includes new work from Hannah Bettes, Jessica Burrows, Lauren Flower, Sage Humphries, and Haley Schwan.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment


Start typing and press Enter to search