Cabaret artist, actor, writer and director Nathan Lee Graham is participating in a residency with the department of theatre and dance, culminating a dance for Geneseo Dance Ensemble's spring performance, “46Live: New Voices Bold Moves.” This is a pure dance piece; there is no libretto or spoken word. Graham, Broomfield and Hawkins want to use the piece to explore a human concept. Graham said that, in the medium of dance, a particular abstract idea can be expressed to the same efficacy through pure dance as it can through media like poetry or music.
Graham studied at Webster University in St. Louis and has experience in both film and stage acting, having played Todd in Zoolander, Geoff in Hitch and starred in “Cabaret” at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis.
“The emphasis of the piece is the concept of fear and how it permeates throughout the universe, throughout society and creates prejudice, hate and bias,” Graham said. “We're exploring that through movement.”
Broomfield will be responsible for staging the choreography of the dance with members of GDE, while Graham leaves Geneseo from Thursday Oct. 10 until November. After that, he will return to Geneseo to make final adjustments to the piece.
The three artists will work together, despite the long distance, through social media. Graham is using his time here to work with GDE members on the beginnings of the choreography. He described their role, and their understanding thereof, as being part of the art.
“I finally feel like I am at a point in my career … that I have something to say and something to impart upon students that will actually help them,” Graham said.
Graham attributes his success in the multifaceted field of performance to the fact that he accepted every role he could get in every medium. By doing this, he acquired experience in all kinds of performance arts. Now, he is a versatile asset to virtually any type of project.
He said it is common in the performance arts to be discouraged from pursuing jobs in such a wide variety, and it can be regarded as floundering or having no focus.
“I used to hate doing everything,” Graham said. “I felt like I was a jack of all trades and a master of nothing. And now I pretty much feel like I am a master of all of it.”