Pieces of Eight Choreographer Highlight: Peter Franc

Peter Franc | Image by Brian Simcoe
Given the safety protocols put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, our junior company, OBT2, is facing considerable obstacles to perform. And yet, these young dancers are approaching their work with a determination and commitment to dance and learn no matter the challenges. This fall, in addition to a daily ballet technique class and supplemental classical training, our young OBT2 pre-professional dancers experienced working with four different choreographers to develop innovative work for our Pieces of Eight project.

We connected with the first four choreographers working with OBT2 to get a closer look at how the pandemic has affected their process and influenced their pieces. The first choreographer is OBT principal dancer, Peter Franc. Peter has been dancing with OBT since 2015 and recently presented a world premiere of his choreographic work ‘Sarkah’, as part of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s program, Closer, in 2018.

OBT: Has your choreographic process changed during the pandemic and if so, how?

PETER: I’ve really had to find a way to use my words even more when teaching the dancers the choreography! The physicality and weight of the movement is hard to convey on a small screen.

OBT: With all the limitations imposed by the Phase 1 guidelines on spacing, partnering, and wearing masks, what is it like teaching the dancers during this time?

PETER: The spatial limitations were significant but draw such a clear line of what is possible. No physical contact and not being able to organize formation changes meant everything had to fit in each dancer’s box. This pushed me to re-imagine what was possible given those limitations but lead me to some ideas that I would not have found otherwise.

Dealing with the lag time rehearsing via zoom was a constant challenge when trying to make sure everyone had the same sense of musicality. It is also much harder to see the people in the studio and the people at home all at once so I would run it in different groups so that I could focus on a realistic amount without getting overwhelmed!

OBT2 Dancers practicing Pieces of Eight to the music of Moby

OBT: Can you tell us about the piece you’re working on with OBT2?

PETER: The music to my piece is a song called ‘Sweet Apocalypse’ by Moby. The entire idea started from this song as it made me see a mass of dancers all undulating and pulsing as the various elements of the music built. I wanted to embody each layer of the music and try to bring these complimenting sound waves to life.

Stay Tuned!

We will continue sharing insight into each choreographer contributing to Pieces of Eight. Stay tuned for upcoming blog features on, OBT founder & choreographer James Canfield, New York choreographer Tamisha Guy, and OBT company artist Makino Hayashi, among others. Along with surprise pop-up events this fall and winter, Pieces of Eight will be performed in full this February as part of OBT2 RAW.

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