Ballet choreographers

Visual artist debuts first ballet with Boston Ballet choreographer

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Visual Artist Shantell Martin was able to choreograph his own ballet for the first time in his career thanks to the Boston Ballet Company, and he makes his debut Thursday night. But there is only one thing.

“I actually don’t know anything about dancing,” Martin said. “But I know a lot about lines. I create lines with pens in different mediums and dancers create lines with their bodies and those things match up.”

Martin is not a trained choreographer, she is actually a visual artist from the UK and New York. She is best known for her intricate large-scale designs that feature black and white lines. Martin told WBZ’s James Rojas that she found the choreography process wasn’t all that different from her artistic process.

“In a way, I create an image,” Martin said. “It’s just that the shape of it in this case involves different moving parts, literally moving dancers.”

Martin’s ballet titled “Kites” is part of a new Boston Ballet Company series called Choreographer, which aims to celebrate women who innovate in creative fields such as dance, music, design and visual arts. The program features five women, who each choreographed their own ballet.

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Of the five different choreographers, Martin is the only one with no previous dance experience. Martin said this opportunity was possible for her because Boston is a city open to more creative risks than other places she has lived and worked.

“Boston is willing to take a lot more risks and that kind of creates a lot more creative and innovative art here,” she said. “It certainly takes more risks than places like New York.”

The ChoreograpHER program runs from March 3 to 13. Martin’s “Kites” ballet begins March 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Boston Opera House.

WBZ’s James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports.