Miye Bishop, 23, is the daughter of John Bishop, artistic director of Bellingham's Northwest Ballet. This weekend, she choreographs the company's production of "Coppelia," under her father's direction.
The ballet, which will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 1-2, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 3, at Mount Baker Theatre, features live music by the Starry Night Orchestra. The company also will stage selections from Copland's "Billy the Kid," "The Red Pony" and "Rodeo" at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at the theater.
Q: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
A: I was born in Hiroshima, Japan, and lived there for 10 years until my family decided to move to Mount Vernon. It was quite a life-changing experience, but now I'm well-adapted.
Q: How did you first become involved with the world of ballet, both as a dancer and as a choreographer?
A: I've always been around ballet because of my father, whose whole life evolved around ballet, but when I was younger I didn't have the interest or the discipline to start dancing especially under my father's direction. It wasn't until my family went to Vancouver, B.C., to watch a company perform "Sleeping Beauty," and being pulled into the ballet just before the show started. It was just a simple character role, but I was taken backstage to be fitted for a costume and make-up, in the same room as professional dancers who were all breaking in their pointe shoes and lifting their foot past their head.
I had to stand for the entire third act of "Sleeping Beauty" next to the throne as a page, but I was standing just a few feet from the dancers who were moving so effortlessly and dynamically. I knew at that point this was something that I wanted myself to do someday.
Q: Where did you train?
A: I trained mostly at Northwest Ballet Academy with my dad and several other teachers, and performed with other different dance groups. I knew I wanted to teach and choreograph too because I wanted to be someone who could show people how fulfilling ballet can be in each of their lives; to move to the music and perform in different ballets. There's so much you can do with dance, and I wanted to help others find their inspiration because everybody has their own niche.
Q: What brings you joy about what you do?
A: The environment I am in with people who exude passion and artistry, and the chance to perform for an audience and give them as much joy and excitement as I am feeling. I've been very fortunate to have worked with amazing teachers and choreographers, and I aspire to do the same for others.
Q: What's special about this weekend's ballets?
A: The dancers have been giving up their Saturdays and Sundays since January to rehearse for these two performances, and I can guarantee you will see some highly skilled dancers. "Coppelia" definitely is a ballet that has always been my favorite because it brings the audience so much laughter and has lively music to dance to. I love the sassy and the jealous Swanilda, and the crazy doll maker that she pulls a prank on. But there is also romantic side of the story when Swanilda and Franz wed, which will be followed by a beautiful grande pas de deux. The Copland program has a fun Western flair; the music alone will make you want to get up and join in on the dancing, there will be brilliant choreography and many dedicated dancers.
Q: Do you do other kinds of dance besides ballet?
A: I have danced with Bellingham Repertory Dance so I have some modern background, and I've been trained in contemporary, ballroom, and jazz. I am very jealous of people who can breakdance. That is something I can only wish I was good at.
Q: What else is fun for you besides dance?
A: I love traveling to different countries. I have had such a great experience going to Third World countries, and sharing the joy of dance there. Dance is everywhere, and I made immediate connections with people by dancing with them.
Reach MARGARET BIKMAN at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-2273.