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Time Out New York: Was there a piece in particular that clicked?
Neal Beasley: During that process, it was learning the main phrase from It strikes that perfect balance that’s so prevalent in Trisha’s work: There’s a specificity and almost geometric precision about what the body is doing, and yet it’s held in that place of specificity very lightly.
But it never felt heavy once that physical experience was unlocked.
She’s not going to accept the first thing that comes out of your body, but the thing she will often choose is what makes her laugh, which I love.She was working from a very simple spatial structure that we used to make a five-minute phrase that concentrically rippled out from the center of the stage. That was also really interesting too because my body by nature is hyperactive or perhaps overly mobile.I remember Trisha saying, “All right Neal, we just need to slow you down.”  We would make these passes and she would go back through and interrupt me.Shortly after, he joined the company, where he remained for four years, before moving to France to become a member of Ballet Preljocaj. Now, as part of the company’s current BAM season, Beasley performs Recently, he spoke about his career. Neal Beasley: I grew up in Mississippi in a town of 1,400 people on a farm with cows and all that funny stuff. At age six, I had memorized all of the “Rhythm Nation” music-video choreography. I found my way [to dance] because of discipline problems. I ended up going to a magnet school in a different county; I went as an academic major, but it was a performing-arts magnet school, so I found my first dance class and it was suddenly like, Oh! My first love with that work was as a dancer and learning about it over time, it’s become that my love of it is of an artist and a maker and seeing its brilliance almost more objectively, even though it’s impossible for me to be objective about that work. Then I went to Idyllwild, a boarding high school for the arts. I went from culturally homogenous backwoods, feeling misunderstood, to suddenly having awe and reverence and being surrounded by all these people that were all equally passionate about what they were doing. There’s a contingent of people who are here and working and still in my life. We went to school six days a week and had academics all morning—six- to eight-hour days of dancing and college-prep homework for hours after that. That’s where the training got serious, and leaving home at 13 to move halfway across the country is big. When I found my outlet, [my family] were all relieved. Time Out New York: Where did you go after Idyllwild? I loved that there was so much room for student work. Time Out New York: You performed Trisha Brown’s choreography at Tisch. This is part of everyone’s story, and I remember Tere O’Connor saying something about this in a Bessie acceptance speech years ago; dance has always felt like a blessing and a curse. If anything, it motivates me to participate fully, to really show up.