Dancer Ethan Colangelo talks BODYTRAFFIC and living his childhood dream
Growing up in Toronto, Canada, Ethan Colangelo was heavily influenced by the music videos he saw on MTV. It wasn’t just the catchy tunes that caught his eye, it was seeing the clarity and connection to music and the rhythm in the dancers’ bodies that felt almost addicting to him. He was fascinated by the level of physicality it took to be moving for such long periods of time in such intricate ways. He knew even at a young age that he too wanted to dance in some capacity and registered for a hip-hop dance class. For a while, he focused on mastering hip-hop, but one week when his class was cancelled, he found himself in a ballet class instead. It felt like fate, and ballet became his life.
“Ballet became my whole world and whole passion and eventually I went to train at Canada’s National Ballet School. This was an interesting trajectory because often ballet and hip-hop are considered opposites, yet they actually have a lot of benefit for each other by taking both dance styles,” he says.
Now, Colangelo finds himself as an internationally sought-after dancer and choreographer, with many successes decorating his resume. He has impressed audiences around the world, from his work with Trevor Daniel on his recent and viral music video “Falling” to being selected as a finalist at the 11th Annual Copenhagen International Choreography Competition. No matter the project or venue, Colangelo is just happy to be doing what he loves each and every day.
“Being a professional dancer brings an incredible amount of balance to my life. Taking classes regularly and constantly working on my intellectual and physical capabilities inside the art form is something that I greatly value. I also love the fact that dance as a career keeps me in great shape and furthermore promotes a healthy lifestyle in general. Another key love of mine being a dancer is the incredible community this art form has; it constantly allows me to meet new artists to be inspired by and learn from,” he says.
One way that Colangelo is always working at mastering his craft is being a dancer in the repertory company BODYTRAFFIC. BODYTRAFFIC is a world-class contemporary dance company, known internationally for its Los Angeles-grown, contagious vivacity. Founded in 2007 by Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC continues to push boundaries and establish Los Angeles as a city known for dance. The company is deeply committed to producing acclaimed works by distinctive choreographic voices, all while surging to the forefront of the contemporary dance world.
BODYTRAFFIC has an extremely diverse repertoire ranging from Hofesh Schecter who has created work for the Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, NDT and more to choreographers such as Richard Siegel who has created work for companies such as GöteborgOperans Danskompani and The Forsythe Company. This range of styles and contemporary work that BODYTRAFFIC does instantly attracted Colangelo. Every performance that they have there is never one piece that looks the same, which is very hard to do as a contemporary dance company as you have the same dancers inside the same umbrella of dance style. However, BODYTRAFFIC maintains its diverse repertoire and dancers consistently.
“Working with BODYTRAFFIC has been such an incredible experience, being able to learn such a diverse repertoire inside of an incredibly loving and supportive work environment is everything I could have asked for. BODYTRAFFIC has an incredible sensibility for clarity and cleanliness while performing. In rehearsal, the focus with the repertoire is having a clear and common cohesiveness amongst the dancers while also maintaining immense integrity towards the quality and movement vocabulary of the choreographer who created the work,” says Colangelo. “BODYTRAFFIC also has an immense focus on theatricality therefore things such as focus, intention and gesture inside of the workplace. Musicality is another aspect that the company is very great at and often people say that the dancers look as if they are manifesting the sounds they are hearing in the theatre.”
Colangelo first became attracted to BODYTRAFFIC when he was doing a summer program in Banff, Alberta and the dance company came to perform. He knew he wanted to be a part of such a talented and famed group immediately and was so pleased when this came to be about a month later.
Colangelo now enjoys contributing his own uniqueness to the company as an individual. Each dancer in the company dances with their own signature style or natural qualitative aspect. He is also a creator, which allows him to contribute to ideas, improvisation, or movement that is needed. His contributions are also his dynamic and aggressive physicality that can be very impactful whilst performing. He is truly an asset to the company.
“It is such an honor to be a part of such a successful company like BODYTRAFFIC. They have repertoire from some of the best choreographers in the world such as Hofesh Shecter, Matthew Neenan, Richard Siegal, Stijn Celis, Kyle Abraham, Ohad Naharin and many more. Being a part of their season at the Wallis Theatre in Los Angeles this year was such a huge opportunity and then being able to tour the show across America to incredible cities such as New York, Boston, Dallas and many more was such an invigorating experience. The tours and shows have been extremely successful and the response to the work is very exciting. Every person who leaves a BODYTRAFFIC show says that all the pieces were so incredibly unique which is a goal in the diversification of the work that we do,” says Colangelo.
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