Kyle Weiler is a dancer, actor, singer and a recent graduate of The Juilliard School. He has danced the works of José Limon, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Kyle Abraham, Camille A Brown, Brian Brooks. Throughout his education he performed at NY City Center, BAM Fisher, and in the Chicago Dancing Festival. Recent musical credits include: Dame Yankees (Ordway) and Mamma Mia & Dear Edwina (Theatre Aspen). Kyle taught and performed in Arusha, Tanzania while participating in Arts Powers Arusha: a student initiated, arts outreach exchange in Arusha, Tanzania. Back home in Minnesota, he co-created and original teen cabaret for Hennepin Theatre Trust, and assistant directed/choreographed Bare: The Pop Opera at Minneapolis Children’s Theatre. He is a founding member of the Arts Fusion Initiative, a diverse group of artists who create unique, interdisciplinary performances inspired by American poets. His choreography has been showcase at NY Jazz Choreography Inc. and in Juilliard’s Choreographic Honors. For the next 15 months, Kyle will be adventuring around Europe and Asia, playing Diesel in the centennial tour of West Side Story. Many thanks to EEE for keeping jazz dance alive in the Twin Cities!
Inspiration for Duke Juke
I spend this summer living and performing in Aspen, Colorado. For a portion of my time there, I was choreographing a musical for the advanced students at Theatre Aspen's Summer School. On one of my mornings off, I went to see the school's junior production of Bye Bye Birdie. The cast was made up of (what looked like) hundreds of tiny little girls in huge poodle skirts, and little men with greased hair. The girls spent most of the production screaming, and chasing after one tiny little boy in a black leather jacket. I had never seen anything so endearing and hilarious. The sight was so odd, sweet, comical, chaotic, and full of intense effort. Funnily enough, that image became my main inspiration for the piece. Additionally, I have always loved Duke Ellington's music. I explored creating to his famous compositions last spring and wanted another opportunity to dive deeper into his iconic recordings.
My choreographic process with the EEE dancers was fast and furious. I was in the studio with them for only four days. I must have been inspired by how quick the rehearsal process was because the choreography ended up being just as speedy. I was so fortunate that the dancers were so willing to tackle any challenge I presented them. They were vulnerable enough to be silly, giddy, and stupid at times. Each one of them displayed an incredible work ethic from the beginning to end. I purposefully came into the rehearsal room with lots of ideas, but no set plan. I wanted to remain open as much as possible. Not ever working with the dancers before, I didn't want to come in and set something without understanding their movement quality first. I wanted to create the piece with them rather than for them. That is always a challenge for me because I feel "naked," standing in the front of room knowing I don't have the answers. I'm much more drawn to a rehearsal room that is filled with "I'm not sure, but what if..."
From the very beginning, the EEE dancers were incredibly open, receptive, enthusiastic and eager. They were the sweetest people I have ever worked with. It was a joy working alongside them in the studio. Plus... we had cutest babies in the world hanging out in the corner while we created. What's not to love!
You can catch Kyle's Duke Juke in EEE's First JazzView
The TEK BOX; The Cowles Center for Dance & Performing Arts
528 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN55403
Show dates & times:
Fri • 7:30pm | March 17
Sat • 2pm & 7:30pm | March 18
Sun • 2pm | March 19