Trevor Cook, a native of Cody, Wyoming in the United States first discovered dance as a young boy watching his mother teach dance classes. Ever since, dance has played a major role in his life.
You are touring the UK and internationally with 19 dates in 6 countries, what are you most looking forward to about this?
We worked hard for months creating and rehearsing, and the tour is time to share our work with a variety of audiences. I am thrilled to be traveling to so many interesting international and regional locations that I have never been to before, and just to have the opportunity to perform in an international tour is very exciting. I love dance and I love to travel, so being able to do both at the same time is exciting.
How do the different cultures in the company (Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, USA and the UK) come together? In which ways do you inspire each other?
First of all, I love how diverse EDGE is, and everyone is such a delight to work with and be around. Coming from a very non-diverse region of the U.S., it is incredible to have so many different cultures among the 14 of us, and to be able to share in traditions of these cultures. We love making each other food from our home countries, exploring other cultures found in London, and even learning and practicing language with each other. I find working with everyone in EDGE quite inspiring as we all come from such different and diverse training backgrounds. We all have different strengths, but I find everyone so open and creative, that it made it a joy to collaborate with each other in the different creation processes, and everyone brought out the best creatively in each other.
You are working with four contrasting choreographers, what are the different ways of working and how do you adapt to each?
All four of our choreographers have been completely different and produced different work, which is exciting, but one commonality they all shared is that they sourced lots of material from us as dancers, which made us an integral part of the process. This is not something I was really used to coming from the U.S., but I found it both intellectually and physically stimulating. I find that this made EDGE as a company closer as we were constantly working with each other and collaborating. Because of the variety one day I might have been making a duet based off of a doodle I drew and the next making up a song using facts about water, so each process was a new challenge. For me it was important not to compare the different processes, but to approach each one openly and give the most of myself to it, even if I didn't quite know what to do. In a lot of the creation processes, there was not a lot of time to think about what the choreographer wanted or how I should create, there was only time to create, which yielded truthful and raw versions of myself at that moment in whatever I was creating.
What can audiences expect from the mixed bill?
Audiences can expect a variety of exciting and new works that are all four completely different in this mixed bill, each showing a collection or group of dancers in a different light. Maybe the focus will be on the dancer's bodies and the sensations they are having, or on how a group exists together and works with each other, but I think all of the pieces somewhere or another draw inspiration or are informed by our current world.
What do you hope to learn and achieve throughout the tour?
I hope to learn how to pace myself and keep investigating the work through the tour to keep things new and fresh, but I am also excited to learn from other companies and programs we will do exchanges with. I hope to learn more about myself as a performer and really be as present as I can in each performance to truly enjoy this incredible opportunity I am about to embark on.
What has the process taught you about yourself so far?
This process has taught me a lot about myself so far, but one thing I have really learned is the importance of being a human being onstage and not trying to do or put on anything that takes away from that. I think in my past my heart and my fire were almost extinguished at the mercy of trying to be or look a certain way, but now I realize the great importance of dancing with my heart first before anything else. Sure, technique and unison are important, but they should never be more important than being the most authentic version of yourself onstage. I know I much prefer to watch performances where people, not machines are performing, so I am taking this newfound perspective and applying it to my practice, and so far, it has made it less serious, more enjoyable, and way more fun.
You will finish your tour with a residency in Portugal, teaching and developing new works with 150 young people aged 3 - 25 years, from the region. In which ways do you hope do develop from this collaborative experience?
I hope to develop a bond with these young people through dance. We might not all speak English, but we can all speak dance, which I think is unique for our art form. I find this with EDGE too that sometimes we all communicate better by dancing than we do talking, which I think is beautiful. Also, I think there will be a lot to learn from these young people we will collaborate with, so I am excited to see what they can teach us as well as what we will teach them.
One of your performances in Portugal is dedicated to works created by yourselves, how does this add to your experience?
It is great because we have already created so much with each other during the creation of the pieces, but this will be an opportunity to create under our own terms. Also, I think a lot of dancer's voices will come out through their choreography, which will be fun to see.
How do you feel being a member of EDGE has helped to prepare you for professional life?
I feel that EDGE has prepared me for professional life in countless big and small ways both in my personal training and dance aesthetic and how to act professionally in and out of the studio. For me this program has been so valuable because I feel I have gained so much practical knowledge about dance that I had not received from past training that was heavily focused on course requirements, learning standards, or marks. I feel personally invested in and have had the luxury of time in the studio to practice what I have learned. We have spent so much time actually dancing, not just talking about dance. Although the year has been a whirlwind, I feel like I know so much more about myself as a dancer, and what is important in order to carry me into my career. In some ways I have had to unlearn things I thought were serving me that really were not, so for that I am grateful to EDGE for retraining my body and mind to better serve me as a dancer and artist in the future.
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