Press Alert: Atlanta Ballet Dancers & Helen Pickett Share Their Experiences with Camino Real

Get a glimpse behind the scenes with these interviews with Atlanta Ballet company dancers Alexandre Barros, Jacob Bush, Heath Gill, Jonah Hooper, Tara Lee, Nadia Mara, Brandon Nguyen, Alessa Rogers, and John Welker; apprentice Olivia Yoch; and resident choreographer Helen Pickett about the making of the world premiere of a ballet based on Camino Real by Tennessee Williams!

Click here to read ArtsATL's "Preview: Atlanta Ballet’s Helen Pickett choreographs the surreal netherworld of 'Camino Real.'”

"Pickett, Atlanta Ballet’s resident choreographer since 2012, likes to blur the line between theater and dance, and often talks about the importance of humanity in her work. Pickett had a decade of work with choreographer William Forsythe and his Ballet Frankfurt, and several years of experimental theater and film work. Her last piece for Atlanta Ballet, The Exiled, also featured spoken words and was inspired by Sartre’s No Exit."

Click here to find out the numbers for Atlanta Ballet's Camino Real and to find out just what it takes to put this brand new work on stage in this Atlanta Business Chronicle feature.

"Atlanta Ballet's world premiere of "Camino Real" is more than satin, tutus and releves -- it's a $500,000 investment, 1,500 pounds of metal and an original score that took five years to create."

Click here to read why Atlanta Retro named Company dancer Alessa Rogers its "Kool Kat of the Week" after she sat down for a one-on-one interview.

"'I don’t want to give too much away, but there are a lot of firsts in this ballet. I think the audience will be surprised by a lot of what they see – many of the dancers (me included) actually have speaking roles which has been a challenge for us. There is an original score, original costumes, an original set and they are all amazing. The collaborative nature of this ballet has been so exciting. Just being in the same studio with all these talented, creative designers and artists who are working so hard (I’m pretty sure some of the production team has just been sleeping at the studio in order to get this massive ballet built.) has been so cool to watch. I just can’t wait to get into the theater and see it all come together and come to life!'"

Click here to read The Marietta Daily Journal's coversation with company member Alexandre Barros and apprentice Olivia Yoch.

“(The story) is very complex. We all read the play before we started working on it. It’s really hard,” Barros said. “(Pickett) put every single detail from the play into the stage. The sets are amazing. They’re so beautiful. The music was just created. The choreography is brand new as well. There’s a lot of passion and a lot of love going into it — from Helen, from the dancers, from our company, just from everybody.”

Yoch said the story’s uniqueness, while challenging to portray, will have audiences thinking about it long after they leave the theater.

Click here to find out what dancers John Welker, who plays Gutman, and Jonah Hooper, who performs the role of A. Rat, think of Helen Pickett's first full-length work in Neighbor's Papers.

"For Welker, who will play the character of Gutman, he has five pages of lines to memorize alongside his dance numbers. 'I have pretty much as many lines as I do dancing, and it is a very new thing for me; it is new territory but it is also a new opportunity to discover the subtleties of my character,' he said. Welker describes Gutman as the arch villain, who revels in his evilness and rules with a heavy hand. He said he hopes to do his job right and have audiences despise and love his character at the same time.

Hooper and Welker said they look forward to bringing the show to audiences and said the production will be filled with dancing and beautiful costumes."

Click here to read Pointe Magazine Online's Interview with Nadia Mara about taking on the emotional role of Marguerite.
"Helen Pickett does a really good job connecting the emotional state of the character to the movement. She'll say, 'In this part, you feel anxiety,' and does a movement. But she also gives me the freedom of creating. For a dancer, the best thing you can do is create with a choreographer and make a role your own."

Click here to read GA Voices' interview with dancers Jacob Bush and Brandon Nguyen.

"'Dancing in 'Camino Real' has been a rewarding experience. It has been a collaborative process between the choreographer, dancers, designers and staff. Just to be a part of a ballet that is a world premiere based on a play by Tennessee Williams is in of itself a success.'"

Alessa Rogers and Benjamin Stone. Photo by Charlie McCullers.