As 2015 slowly comes to a close, performing arts companies and spaces draw their seasons shut for the first half, and prepare for the second half to kick off in January. But there's still a handful of performances left for people to take in that aren't holiday-centric, and offer an alternative for audiences seeking a different kind of show. Tomorrow night, The Sugar Space presents Cameo
, an evening of one single work created by Michael Crotty as part of their residence program, featuring performers from the University of Utah, BYU
and the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. Today, we briefly chat with dancer Nick Blaylock, one of the performers in the show about his career and thoughts going into opening night. (Photos courtesy of Sugar Space, taken by Jeremy Bigelow.
Gavin: Hey Nick, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Nick Blaylock and I am an artist. I have a wife named Brea and a dog named Audrey. I am 25 years old, most of my roots are in St Louis. I dance, choreograph, train dogs, play music, and a few other things to lesser degrees. Dance is how I best interpret life. I am an avid believer in working to live, not living to work. I am a second year MFA candidate in the Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah.
Gavin: What first got you interested in dance, and what was it like getting into it early on?
I did not know what I wanted to do in college. So, my freshman year I started taking classes for a theater major. One of the prerequisites was a movement fundamentals course. An older gentlemen, who consequently later became my mentor, started rolling around on the floor. I have been dancing ever since. I often struggled with anxiety over starting so late. I thought I would not "make it," whatever that means. Eventually, I learned that nothing else made me feel so alive.
Gavin: What made you choose the University Of Utah's program, and what was your time there like?
I had the desire to go to graduate school for dance, and the University of Utah had one of the best programs. I also had an acquaintance who had graduated from the program a few years ago, and she highly recommended it. My time so far has been rich. I have danced a lot, talked a lot, taught a lot, and made work. The faculty is nurturing and full of wisdom.
Gavin: Currently you're a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the U. How did that opportunity come about?
I auditioned and let the faculty know my strengths and experiences in dance. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity, and that my strengths aligned with the department's needs.
Gavin: What was it like for you branching out and getting involved with independent shows?
Honestly, I have not performed in any other independent shows besides Michael Crotty's Boyhood
this past spring. My branching out was easy because I knew Michael and he is a pleasure to work with. I am newer to the community, but I am often meeting artists outside of the university. I plan on continuing to cultivate relationships with other artists and look forward to the possibilities inherent.
Gavin: When did you first hear about Cameo and what did you think about the show?
I have a fairly close relationship with Michael, so this work has been in and out of our conversations for a few months. He asked me to be a part [of the show] about two months ago. The concepts in the show are often shifting, but Michael's direction is easy to follow. I thought that a show like Cameo
would be a great idea, especially for the community of dancers in Salt Lake, considering the various backgrounds of the dancers involved.
Gavin: How has it been working on the show and working with the crew?
Working on this show has been a roller coaster, in a good way. Every rehearsal reveals something different about the work. We are constantly investigating characters and caricatures to inform what we are trying to say. Everyone involved in the show has been a pleasure to work with. Cameo
is full of exceptional individuals.
Gavin: What are your thoughts going into opening night?
I look forward to what a show like this can do for the community. I am excited to share the work with Salt Lake City.
Gavin: What can we expect from you going into 2016?
I will be choreographing in and out of the University. I will be performing in a work by Satu Hummasti in the Performing Dance Company's spring concert. I will also be choreographing for a screendance/documentary project to be filmed in several of Utah's finest destinations and presented at a film festival. That is all I can say as of now because these ideas are still in the conversational stages.