by Kyra Laubacher for Pointe Magazine, May 17, 2021
South African–born choreographer Andrea Schermoly is no stranger to challenges, and she’s often on the move. Among an extensive portfolio of productions created for companies worldwide, she has also tackled reimaginings of Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring and Judith as one of three artists in residence at Louisville Ballet.
Schermoly is also no stranger to film, having created a digital short called In Passing for the Ashley Bouder Project in 2015. But her most recent film project for Louisville Ballet, a new version of the iconic Rite of Spring, breaks ground—or, rather, ice—with its fresh, arctic take on the Stravinsky masterwork.
Pointe spoke with Schermoly about this newest work for the company’s digital Season of Illumination, discussing the challenges of Zoom rehearsals and the ballet’s arctic inspiration.
How did this project come about?
Robert Curran, Louisville Ballet’s artistic director, presented the idea over a year ago, but I started working on it last spring. And that’s mostly in terms of talking. My brother, Joe Schermoly, did the set design, so I spent a lot of time discussing the piece with him, our lighting designer Jesse AlFord and Mikelle Bruzina, who’s one of our head ballet mistresses.
The piece was initially proposed as part of a Stravinsky triple bill by Louisville Ballet’s three resident choreographers featuring Petrushka, Firebird and Rite of Spring. It would have been a theater piece had it not been for the pandemic. Eventually, Rite will transfer to the stage, so I wanted it to live in an “80 percent land,” where I wouldn’t have to change it all over again. It was pretty daunting, but a great challenge.