The Future for Kiyon Gaines | Next Step and Beyond

In his second year of retirement, choreography is in the forefront of his mind—to create ballets for companies across the nation.  For the next two and a half years, he’s the resident choreographer for Ballet Arkansas and will be heading there in January. He is currently the Next Step Program Manager at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Under his management, he has expanded the Next Step Program to meet the needs of aspiring choreographers.

Kiyon made changes to the program based on his own experience as a choreographer seeking opportunities. He recognized that dancers needed to learn different skills and protocols to submit their applications. For one, they needed to know where the opportunities are among the choreographic institutes and competitions. Dancers also needed to learn how to write an abstract communicating what they wanted to choreograph and what inspired them to create a work.

Kiyon has also brought in established choreographers (Crystal Pite, William Forsythe, Justin Peck, Kate Wallich) to do fireside chats and to answer questions. Kiyon plans to expand Next Step beyond being an in-house program and to open it up to other choreographers outside of PNB. He cites the need for more studio space or dedicated studio space so the program can expand.  He is also working with a local composer, Avi Lasser of Hevanti Productions, who is creating original compositions for two works. “I want to make sure that we have great music,” Kiyon said.

Within the next ten years, Kiyon wants to pursue the chair as Artistic Director and share his joy for dance, community on a wide scale. He plans to spend the next five years being a better teacher, doing more choreography and gaining more experience as a non-profit administrator, though his role as Next Step manager.


Patricia Vaccarino

Patricia Vaccarino is an accomplished writer who has written award-winning film scripts, press materials, articles, essays, speeches, web content, marketing collateral, and ten books.

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