The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra presents The Nutcracker featuring Texture Ballet on December 11. Meet Alan Obuzor, founder and Artistic Director of Texture Contemporary Ballet. He was honored in 2013 by Dance Magazine by being named one of the “Top 25 to Watch.” Originally from Pittsburgh, Alan began dancing at the age of nine. Two years later he attended Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, where in 1998 he was a recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Foundation Dance Honorarium. Alan received a contract to join Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s professional company at the age of 17. Alan has also choreographed more than 55 new works for Texture Contemporary Ballet and many other dance companies and various independent projects. In 2011, he won first place in the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters Dance/Choreography competition. Alan also founded and Artistic Director of Texture Contemporary Ballet in 2011.
WSO: When did you begin dancing and when did you realize you wanted to focus on dance as a career?
Alan Obuzor: When I was nine I tried a musical theater class. In that class, there was dancing and singing, and they said that ballet was the foundation that all dance was built around; because of that, I tried a short summer session of ballet, and instantly fell in love. After a few ballet classes, I told my mother that I wanted to be a professional ballet dancer even though I had never even seen a ballet performance.
WSO: You wear many hats in your career as a professional dancer, choreographer, artistic director, and teacher what has been your favorite role?
AO: My favorites are definitely things that take place in the studio and on the stage – rehearsing, performing, working with dancers, teaching students, seeing everything and everyone’s hard work come together for a performance.
WSO: Do you have a favorite holiday memory from childhood?
AO: I love Christmas and spending time with my family. The magic of Christmas morning as a child holds a special place in my heart.
WSO: What does performing the Nutcracker with the live orchestra bring to the production in your opinion?
AO: Live music and dance is an incredible pairing. They build upon each other, they let a performance breathe, ebb, and flow, they bring each other to life, together they keep the dancers and musicians always present and in the moment. Also, in my opinion, the Nutcracker score is some of the greatest music that has ever been created. Hearing and seeing dance and music unfold in the theater before one’s eyes to tell this classic holiday story is always a special treat.
Read more about Alan Obuzor on Texture Ballet’s website