Dr. Yoav Kaddar is the director of the WVU Dance Program, the WVU Summer Dance Academy, and president and a founding member of the WV Dance Education Organization. He received his BFA from The Juilliard School, his MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle, and his PhD in Educational Administration from the University at Albany, NY. He has been a member of the Jose Limon, Paul Taylor and Pilobolus dance companies. Dr. Kaddar has choreographed over 60 works for dance and theatre, is a Fulbright Scholar, and teaches nationally and abroad. He has been a member of the American College Dance Association Board of Directors and has served on the US Fulbright Selection Committee for the Arts. He currently serves on the board of directors of the National Dance Education Organization and was recently elected as the organization’s next president. Yoav has choreographed for WVPT in the past and is delighted to be back working on this production.
Interviewer: Yoav, thank you so much for joining WV Public Theatre today to chat about your work on our production of I Do I Do!. How did you come to work with West Virginia Public Theatre this season?
Yoav: I’ve worked with WVPT in the past but this year I came to work on this season when Jerry contacted me to see if I could help find a last minute choreographer for I Do! I Do! as the choreographer they had scheduled couldn’t do it. I told Jerry that I “knew” a pretty good local choreographer… the rest is history.
Interviewer: Well we are certainly lucky to have you with us! What is your creative process like for choreographing a piece?
Yoav: When it is a musical, I first read through the script. I get the overall feel and let my imagination and creative instincts go wild. I meet with the director to get their vision and take on the production and to learn what role they see the movement and choreography playing in the production. I then go into the studio and work on creating some basic ideas for each of the numbers. I listen to the music and count it out. Once in the studio rehearsing with the dancers the process is a collaborative one, a give-and-take between me and the actors. I want to create sequences that make sense to them on stage and that they feel are organic to the plot and advance the play. Some numbers fall into place faster than others. Overall, it’s a process that evolves over the rehearsal and creative period, and locks into place once we get into the theatre and add costumes and full scenic and props elements. The bottom line for me is that the process is ongoing and living. It’s all about decision making. There are multiple options for solving the movement but eventually we have to choose one that feels most comfortable and right for the actors and the overall play.
Interviewer: What inspired the choreography for I Do! I Do!..?
Yoav: There are a number of elements that inspire the choreography – the text, plot, music, characters and the actors as individuals who bring their own interpretation to the play.
Interviewer: Were there any challenges when it came to choreography for I Do! I Do!?
Yoav: Yes, there are always challenges in choreographing a musical but especially with this musical as it involves so many props and costume changes. The challenge was to balance the choreography with all the other action on stage in terms of not “upstaging” the text or overwhelming the actors’ stamina, the singing and music requirements, and the overall blocking and direction of the director. It’s finding the right balance, which is what the rehearsal process is all about.
Interviewer: So many elements to balance there. What do you hope is communicated to the audience through movement in the production?
Yoav: I hope that the movement in this production helps and contributes to the development of each of the characters, who they are, their personalities, the relationship between them as well as showing how they transform and develop, age and change throughout the journey of the plot.
Interviewer: That is wonderful and is there anything else you’d like the audience to know?
Yoav: Yes, although this is an older play/musical and set in the past, it is still a wonderful reflection of the evolution of a couple, a life-cycle of a married couple with all the ups and downs of the journey they share throughout their lifetime as husband and wife, as partners in life. That said , it does not reflect every couple but I’m sure all married couples can find some part or parts that they can identify with for better or worse. As the saying goes “art is a reflection of life” – this production is one of those instances and most of all… it has a happy ending, which these days is always worth experiencing.