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Choreographer Michael Pink on the joy of creating ‘Peter Pan’

Peter Pan has been quite the adventure for Choreographer and Milwaukee Artistic Director, Michael Pink.

“It’s something I’ve never done before,” he said when asked what prompted him to create such a production.

For Pink, Peter Pan is the type of show that on the surface is filled with fun—but features characters with depth and soul-searching underneath. His interpretation remains very true to the original play and book, reminding everyone that staying young is just a matter of the heart.

“When you see grownups playing roles like Michael and Jon and even Wendy, it’s great to see everyone get back in touch with their young side and behaving in a certain way,” he said.

Pink began working on Peter Pan in 2005, when he first wrote the synopsis.

“We didn’t put it on stage until 2010,” he said. “When it actually was time for me to go into the studio and create it, I had five weeks.”

Even then, it’s been an evolving process. He said that here at BalletMet, he’s seeing Peter Pan with a renewed eye and re-working parts of the production to fit with the artists.

Pink’s favorite moments from Peter Pan are the ones that provide the audience with the opportunity to be reminded of their youth. George Darling, for example, also doubles as Captain Hook.

“When the Darling children see their father being cross and angry and irritated because they’re making noise in the nursery, they see him as a threatening Captain Hook,” he said. “I like that at the end, the reality of the father when the children come back is that he realizes he gave up his youth way too soon, and it gives him back that opportunity to find the balance between not growing up too quickly and not being too serious.”

In the end, Pink said that he hopes Columbus audiences join BalletMet dancers on the journey.

“[Columbus] should feel very proud that they have such a fine company here producing this kind of work,” he said. “Hopefully everyone is able to escape into the world of Peter Pan for two hours… and have an amazing time and create memories that will inspire them to come back and see other ballets.”

Most importantly, Pink hopes that with a little faith, trust and pixie dust, you’ll never lose sight of what it means to be young.

Michael Pink’s Peter Pan will run February 10-12 at the Ohio Theatre.


Photo by Jennifer Zmuda.