Making Gators Dance – Part 2

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Jeremy Miranda and Rhonda Faehn after winning NCAA National Championships. Photo: Jeremy Miranda
Jeremy Miranda and Rhonda Faehn after winning NCAA National Championships.
Photo: Jeremy Miranda

Here is Gym Blog Central’s second part of our exclusive interview with Florida Gator’s Gymnastics team’s choreographer, Jeremy Miranda.

If you have not had the opportunity to read the first part, you can read the article here.

Q: You have been choreographing floor routines for UF for over 9 years now.  What continues to inspire you for each new routine you create so that it stays fresh and creative?

A: There certainly is pressure year in and year out to try and top the previous year’s routines. I am inspired and excited by the challenge that each year presents itself and look forward to that challenge with enthusiasm and optimism.

Since I am not in Gainesville full-time, I greatly rely on my experiences in New York City and abroad to infiltrate my creativity and choreography with the new experiences and new ideas that I am able to bring to the table each year for the start of each new season.  It is also inspiring to see how much the athletes have grown personally throughout their life experiences as a performer/gymnast and as a person through real world/relationship experiences and how that translates into what they can bring to the table in order to tell a deeper story through their movement.

I also really take the time to tap into the music selection choices and use the feelings generated both from the music and from working with the athlete in their interpretation of the music to come up with something very unique and very fresh and very creative.

Being honest, explorative and collaborative yields the freshest product.

Jeremy Miranda and the 3 National Championship trophies won by the Gators. Photo: Jeremy Miranda
Jeremy Miranda and the 3 National Championship trophies won by the Gators.
Photo: Jeremy Miranda

Q: Looking back at all the routines you have created, which ones are your most memorable and why?

A: I have often been asked the question of which routines have been the most memorable that I’ve created at the University of Florida throughout my nine seasons with the program and I can honestly say that I don’t have a favorite or necessarily a most memorable one.

I find that the most memorable experiences are those connections that I have with the athlete throughout the creative process and to see them grow as a person and as a performer throughout the course of the season.  Dance is a very personal and intimate experience and being able to share that with each of the talented athletes that I’ve had the privilege to work with is truly more memorable than any particular creation.

Each athlete opens up a very special part of themselves throughout the process and I love getting to know each of them; their personalities, their likes, their dislikes and ultimately what gymnastics means to them and where they want their gymnastics to take them.

Q: For me, Corey Hartung’s (UF ’06-’09) floor routines were the most creative and expressive due to her flexibility and dance.  My favorite routine was her 2009 floor routine with unique chomp at the end.  Tell me what it was like to work with her on her floor routines.

Corey Hartung performing one of Jeremy's floor routines. Photo: flickr.com
Corey Hartung performing one of Jeremy’s floor routines.
Photo: flickr.com

A: It was honestly very difficult working with Corey Hartung throughout her time at the University of Florida. Being such a talent and having such incredible movement capabilities, it was challenging to find something that looked bad on her body.

Often times we would come up with four or five different movement phrases and options for the different sections of her floor routine and it was extremely difficult to decide which looked best because everything looked so natural, fluid and effortless on her.  She was also a perfectionist and an incredibly hard worker which too played into the difficulty in finalizing what ultimately would be her set choreography.

The challenge was a healthy one however and it has been so thrilling to see her grow even more as a performer and an artist throughout her time in Florida and beyond as a cirque performer and later on a wife and now a mother.

Q: What is your goal as a choreographer?  Does it involve continuing with gymnastics?

A: Gymnastics has given me so much in my life and I cannot imagine a day without it being a part of me somehow and in some way. The same holds true with choreography and dance.

Right now I am living the best of both worlds being able to live in New York City and work on amazing productions both as a performer and choreographer as well as be able to stay involved with the University of Florida and work with the collegiate athletes each preseason and be involved in their postseason competitions.  I am so thankful to have the opportunity to dance and choreograph all of the world and I am an open book in terms of new opportunities that may come my way.

Each opportunity molds, inspires and allows me to view the world through a different lens enabling growth and expansion through each experience.  I look forward to continually collaborating with these athletes, being realistic about the bigger picture and ultimately using dance as a medium to help these talented young ladies mature into expressive, passionate, assertive women of society.

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