Jason Winters is known as one of Australia’s greatest contemporary imports from the USA and has landed a dream role as one of resident choreographers on this season’s SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Australia!
We caught up with Jason for a chat just before Episode 1 aired last night (Sunday 9th Feb) …
What does it mean to you to be given such an amazing role on this Season of So You Think You Can Dance Australia?
“I feel extremely blessed & honoured to be asked to be involved on the start of the show as one of the primary contemporary choreographers. Really that meant being there from the very beginning with the Top 100 and helping to almost initiate the dancers into what they’re going to be given throughout the course of the entire season which is I think quite special and going to make this season really powerful in comparison to previous seasons in that we really know what the talent is like in this country now and we are ready and prepared to give them some challenges that probably they’ve never had before.”
Within the Top 100 you had a great variety of dancers – how have they adapted to your style of Contemporary?
“I’ve always explained my work as a true fusion of technical and commercial aspects meaning you’ve got to have the training behind you … ballet, jazz – even old school modern – and sometimes stuff like yoga and martial arts. But those aspects I think are the technical base and then to layer upon that all the commercial aspects of the hip hop even stuff like dance hall and African and funk and so many different layers of movement – that is the challenge!
So when I had the Top 100 I actually was asked to do three different pieces of one routine, but each piece had it’s own focus.
The first focus was ballet technique with my kind of ‘flow’ infused into it and that was a challenge for some of them. Then the next session was basically my technical contemporary style and I guess pure creativity from my point of view. Then the last section was taking both the first ballet section and the second contemporary section and mashing the two together into a jazz commercial version.
So the dancers of the contemporary section didn’t even know what was coming – they really didn’t have any clue – and all of a sudden they found themselves challenged on all levels. It was challenging for me too because I’m here with iconic pieces of music and anyone who has seen A Chorus Line and loves that show and has a place in their heart for it – it’s a Classic – so I don’t want to do anything but show the utmost respect. But then I also wanted to show how it was timeless and we can take it and make it very current for where we are today – so it was a challenge for me as much as it was for the Dancers!”
Do you feel that there is a difference in the calibre of dancers that you’ve seen coming through for this Season as against previous seasons in Australia?
“I do and I just think that’s a natural progression because the training in general is getting better and better as the years go by and as one of the people that is part of the teachers & choreographers within Australia, we continue to grow, we continue to evolve and we continue to be inspired by people all over the world and people here in Australia and other artists and so that just trickles down to the students we work with and the dancers that we train.
So yeah, I know that for me personally, I’m looking forward to a new crop of dancers that have abilities that maybe people have never seen before.”
For more information on Jason Winters or to book Master Classes & Workshops, head to his bio page on our DanceLife Directory here: http://www.dancelife.com.au/directory/view/list,76