Dwight Rhoden: „Gatsby is eternal“

Choreographer Dwight Rhoden about "The Great Gatsby Ballet. Copyright: The Great Gatsby Ballet

Choreographer Dwight Rhoden transformed F. Scott Fitzgeralds glamorous world of „The Great Gatsby“ into a piece for ballet. Before that, Rhoden worked with artists like Patrick Swayze, U2 or Cirque du Soleil. With Kulturschoxx he talks about eternity, his international team and how Baz Luhrmanns movie of the same title influenced him. 

Mr. Rhoden, Patrick Swayze, producer of your Complexions Contemporary Ballet, which celebrates its 22nd year, once said about you He made ballet sexy, exciting and fun. In his pas de deux you see a relationship between a man and a woman, many could only dream about.” What is so special about your way of working with the artists?

Dwight Rhoden: It was a big honor to work with Patrick and when Complexions came on the dance scene in 1994, I really feel like we changed the landscape of what contemporary ballet is. We were one of the first companies in both New York and the United States that was really trying to integrate on all levels. When working with artists I‘m using contemporary transitions to hit the classical lines and shapes. As a result – A beautifully articulated body which snakes through several torso and hip articulations between the tendu and arabesque.

You worked with Cirque du Soleil, staged shows for Prince, U2 and Lenny Kravitz and created  dance sequences for Hollywood movies. How did your experience help you to create the Great Gatsby Ballet?

Rhoden: That experience helped me to express emotions in the dance more widely and bright.



The Great Gatsby is a mix of Russian, Ukrainian and USA artists. What is the benefit in mixing these cultures?

Rhoden: It is a dynamic and professional team with big ambitions. We’re living in a modern world where mixing cultures is so natural and it has a lot of benefits. It helps you to watch in this world more widely.

What inspired you when you developed the choreography?

Rhoden: Music. Cinematography. Art.

Did Baz Luhrmanns „The Great Gatsby” influence you?

Rhoden: I wouldn’t say it influence me. But it is somehow inspired me on some ideas that were realized in the Great Gatsby Ballet. The Great Gatsby Ballet idea was born before the film came out on screens. So I would say that we are more inspired by Fitzerald’s timeless story.

Luhrmanns piece takes place in the 20ies. What makes the story so timeless?

Rhoden: The story of The Great Gatsby will always be attractive for people: wealth, greed, greed, society and man’s place in it – all expired and today’s topics. Gatsby is eternal, like the ballet, I hope. Fitzgerald’s novel „The Great Gatsby“ is experiencing another wave of popularity. I‘m interested in the story of an eccentric inner Jay Gatsby, his loneliness. It is similar to many of us, on our current scramble for life in the pursuit of success. You live in prosperity, like everything you have and want more, but at the same time feel a certain emptiness.


More information

„The Great Gatsby Ballet“ starts its German tour in Berlin, Admiralspalast today. Then Hamburg (4. november, Mein Theater am Großmarkt) and Frankfurt (6. november Jahrhunderthalle) follow.