An Interview with John Paul Lawson
Lawson will be one of the featured dancers in our upcoming production of Hot Guys Dancing.
- Where did you receive your training?
I started dancing at age 4 at Jean Hart Academy of Dance in Poway, California. I began mostly in ballet, undergoing Royal Academy of Dance examinations every year from Pre-Primary to Grade 5 when I grew more interested in other dance styles. Continuing my passion throughout college, I took ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance classes at Palomar College. Soon thereafter I branched out to dancing under the direction of different choreographers in San Diego.
- What was the rehearsal process like for LET ME INTO YOUR SKIN?
The rehearsals for LET ME INTO YOUR SKIN have been a wonderful learning experience under the direction of Michael Mizerany. Rehearsals are paced, yet productive. Michael is excellent in demonstrating what it is that he is looking for, and gives notes that are articulate and easy to understand. The process has been both difficult and rewarding. I have enjoyed learning and experiencing the new movement and partnering involved with this piece and I am thrilled to perform it with Chad Ortiz at this year’s show.
- LET ME INTO YOUR SKIN is inspired by the play BEAUTIFUL THING and was commissioned by Diversionary Theater in 2011. Can you tell us a little about theme or plot of the dance?
From my perspective, the dance is about two young, fairly inexperienced gay men and the internal struggles they face to be with one another.
- Did you have any trouble acclimating yourself to Michael’s particular movement style? What was the most challenging part of the process?
Overall, I have really enjoyed the movement involved with Michael’s choreography. It is athletic and challenging and there is a lot of partnering. For sure the hardest aspect of this dance has been the partnering. As a male dancer, I am most commonly the one doing all the lifting. In this duet with two male dancers, I find myself being lifted more rather than doing the lifting. However, with an excellent and strong partner like Chad, I never had to worry or be afraid even in the most daring lifts. Combing the fast-paced, athletic dancing along with challenging partnering has for sure been the hardest part of the process.
- Near the end of the dance, you and Chad Ortiz share a kiss. How well did you know each other at that time? Was it uncomfortable?
As the resolution of the story line, the kiss has been an entirely new aspect of performance for me. I have never done a show, or dance in which I needed to be that intimate with my partner. Chad and I have danced together for some time now, and are close enough as friends to where it has never been uncomfortable. You don’t want to miss it!!