June Digest: A conversation with Nick Blaylock, Choreographer of “Traverse” Dance Film

The following is a conversation with Nick Blaylock, the choreographer and just one of the many artists that came together to make the film Traverse in 2016. The film is getting a screening this July 1 at the Rose Wagner, along with some new choreography performed and produced by many of the same artists.

The original “Traverse” crew (photo courtesy of TWIG Media Lab)

Hi Nick! Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background, your current work and interests. 

My name is Nick Blaylock, and I share a wonderful life with my wife, Brea, our newest addition, Marlo, and our pup, Audrey. I started dancing pretty late, so I’ve spent the better part of 12 years in school, freelance performing and choreographing, and teaching. I currently work at Southern Utah University as an Assistant Professor of Dance and the Dance Program Head. I also collaborate with Heartland, a multi-disciplinary collective directed by Molly Heller. My interests would be education, music, philosophy, and dogs.

How did you originally connect with TWIG for this project?

All credit goes to Eric Handman (thanks again, Eric!) — he was one of my professors in graduate school at the U, and he said TWIG was looking for a collaborator. TWIG welcomed me with open arms, and I am very grateful.

You and the team filmed Traverse in 2016, tell us what those five days of filming were like for you, what you remember most. Was this a new way of working for you?

The five days of filming were wonderful – full of exhaustion and good times. I remember the mutual respect between all the artists, and for the environments within which we worked. It felt like we were all just thankful to be a part of a project like this together.

Dancers heading out on road trip through Utah’s landscapes.

Did the project inform your creative practices moving forward in any way?

Certainly! I seem to continue making choices quickly in processes as a way of trusting myself and those in the “room.”

You’ll be making and premiering a new dance work for the July 1st event with six dancers (two from the original cast). Tell us about your process and plans, how do you see it relating to the film? 

Yes, come check out these incredible artists — Bashaun Williams, Eliza Tappan, Megan O’Brien, Natalie Border, Olivia Beck, and Samantha Matsukawa! I would enjoy referential motifs and odes to specific textures we experienced along the way. Reflecting on our experiences working with the environment, as subjective, also feels potent.

What has happened for you and the dancers between filming and now, the past six years?

Ah, I would love to hear from the dancers on this one. Everyone seems to be thriving. They are all incredible people doing a variety of special things. My family and I have moved around and found ourselves in Utah again. A lot has changed in the fields of film and dance, so Traverse is a real testament to TWIG’s vision and direction.

On location in Southern Utah

You can see Traverse Friday, July 1 at the Rose Wagner Theater.


This article is published in collaboration with

Categories: Dance

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