This aspiring choreographer reveals his process behind developing a new story come the song everyone has in your head.


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For a dancer in brand-new York City, life consists of audition after ~ audition, performing a choreographer’s dance combos. Benjamin Rivera chose to adjust that.

“I kind of simply took a step back for a moment when ns was sitting around in new York and also , ‘I’m surrounded by some of the many talented world I’ve ever met in my life,’” says Rivera, “and every we execute all work is sit in studios and auditions, and also then us hope that somebody hires united state to provide us the opportunity to produce something. Why not simply take it right into my own hands?”

Even at the young period of 24, Rivera didn’t want to wait for someone to rental him come dance—though there has actually been no shortage of work because he i graduated Oklahoma City University. (Rivera instantly boarded the Disney Fantasy together the dance captain and swing, before joining the national tour of noþeles Goes, climate the nationwide tour the Elf and, most recently, the national tour of Dirty Dancing.)

Still, in ~ the height of audition season this past winter, Rivera feel the itch come choreograph. He dropped in love with dance at the period of seven, as soon as his gymnastics coach argued he start dancing to help his flexibility. “I was instantly in love v it, and it type of hasn’t quit since,” states Rivera. Later on on, Rivera assisted his choreographers because that high college productions, and that “gave me the confidence to create.”

“You uncover a song and also it go the majority of the work-related for you,” states Rivera. “You uncover a song and you’re like, ‘There’s no method this shouldn’t have dance to it.’” for Rivera, that music was Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and also Dance.” The catchiness the the song is undeniable, yet Rivera’s inspiration emerged from the lyrics.

“It had actually such a bright power of hope and also joy,” the says. “It create a story in my head that was therefore vivid.” influenced by the music, Rivera choreographed, directed and also starred in what he calls a fairytale story. Rivera is fixed the very first young dancer come choreograph his own work, however the professionalism and vision behind this video clip suggests he’s someone come watch.

In the video clip (filmed by Eric Mann), Rivera look at a girl across the dance floor that leaves the bar before he can talk come her, however on his means home—while quiet thinking about his let go connection—he look at her throughout the subway platform. “There was just this build of hope in the whole song for me,” he says. “What are the opportunities in a city as huge as brand-new York City the you’d run back into somebody favor that?”

After landing on his story arc, Rivera essential to discover his princess. He remembered a girl (the now co-star the his video, Lizz Picini) from dance class. “She had actually approached me and was like, ‘I kind of desire to play and interact and also not simply do the choreo,’” that remembers. Rivera harnessed the fearlessness, freedom and playfulness in his video, and also not just through the movement.

While the initial music video clip takes place in one club, Rivera want to record the life and also excitement of new York City. His choreographic vision was around a journey, no one moment, and also a full photo through movement, not just steps. “I want to create shapes and also lines and also with the train and with the bench… you can do so lot with the atmosphere if you connect with it slightly,” the says.

Rivera’s enthusiasm is palpable as he talks about the project. “There’s something in developing for me,” the says. “There’s some sort of high that I get from being able come not just perform a piece, but collection something top top people.”

The dancer hopes to parlay his extracurricular creative thinking into occupational as a choreographer. “I know that i wouldn’t just come to be a choreographer overnight, and also I knew it took time, and also it take away getting human being to understand you and also know her work,” the says. “I recognize I’m young, however I , ‘There’s no reason I shouldn’t start now.’ there’s no reason I shouldn’t start acquiring my name out there and putting in the time and the work.”

In the meantime, Rivera will next be working on Pirates of Penzance at Barrington Stage, choreographed through Joshua Bergasse. As he proceeds to feed his very first love, dance, he’s also excited to learn from Bergasse, absorbing his process, never shedding site the the finish goal.

“It’s because you gain to placed a piece of your heart in it,” says Rivera as to why choreographing is particulary meaningful. “You obtain to sit back and watch it come together.”

Ruthie Fierberg is the attributes Editor at priziv.org.

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She has additionally written for Backstage, Parents and also American Baby. See much more at ruthiefierberg.com and follow she on Twitter in ~