Hernan Justo’s Rockballet
Springfield Ballet Company’s ‘Rockballet’ Climbs ‘Stairway’
September 10, 2015
For the last 15 years, Hernan Justo has returned to Springfield as a guest choreographer for the Springfield Ballet Company’s annual production of “Rockballet.”
The artistic director of the Carolina Ballet Theatre in Greenville, S.C., since 2000 after a long career as a professional dancer in his native Argentina and in Chile, Venezuela and in the U.S., the charismatic Justo said he cherishes his yearly visits to Springfield — he’s in love with the Muni Opera — and his relationship with the SBC and its artistic director, Julie Ratz.
“It’s so valuable, the local arts there,” said Justo, in a recent phone interview. “I love the company and I love Julie and I know how much they mean to the community.
“I have a relationship with them that goes beyond the professional level.”
Justo takes a first-time crack at choreographing Led Zeppelin’s rock anthem “Stairway to Heaven.” The nearly 8-minute piece features only four dancers, including Justo’s student and Springfield native, Meghan Loman, who spent 10 years with SBC.
With it’s progressively increasing tempo and bombast, Justo admitted “Stairway” wasn’t the easiest composition to choreograph. In the past, Justo has gravitated toward prog-oriented rock groups like Queen, the Alan Parsons Project and Yes.
“I’m 51, so that’s my time,” said Justo. “I tried to visualize what it might look like. When you have a good troupe, it comes together faster and better.”