Visual Artist Debuts First Ballet With Boston Ballet's ChoreograpHER

Photo: Photo: Brooke Trisolini/Boston Ballet

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Visual Artist Shantell Martin got to choreograph her own ballet for the first time in her career thanks to the Boston Ballet Company, and it makes its debut Thursday night. But there's just one thing.

"I actually don't know anything about dance," Martin said. "But I know lots about lines. I create lines with pens in different mediums and dancers create lines with their bodies and those things match up."

Martin isn't a trained choreographer, she's actually a visual artist that hails from the U.K. and New York. She's best known for her intricate, large-scale drawings that feature black and white lines. Martin told WBZ's James Rojas she found the process of choreographing was not that different from her artistic process.

"In a way, I am creating a picture," Martin said. "It's just that the form of it in this instance involves different moving parts, literally moving dancers."

Martin's ballet called "Kites" is part of a new series from the Boston Ballet Company called ChoreograpHER, which is meant to celebrate women making innovations in creative fields like dance, music, design, and visual art. The program features five women, who each choreographed their own ballet.

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Of the five different choreographers, Martin is the only one with no prior dance experience. Martin said this opportunity was possible for her because Boston is a city that is open to more creative risks than other places she's lived and worked in.

"Boston is willing to take a lot more risks and that in a way creates a lot more creative and innovative art here," she said. "It definitely takes more risks than places like New York."

The ChoreograpHER program runs from March 3 to 13. Martin's "Kites" ballet debuts March 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Boston Opera House.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports.

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