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100 Creatives: Jeremy Choate

Jeremy Choate
Jeremy Choate

What he does: In his first experiment with installation light, "Photo Box D", lighting designer Jeremy Choate divided the stage with backlit fluorescents and suspended strobes. As the dancers darted across the stage, they seemed to fragment and disappear. Now the 15-year veteran is known for moving lights out from behind the wings to center stage. In another piece called "Cinco Sin-Nombre,"Choate hung five bulbs across the stage. "The dancers could grab the light bulb and throw it around on stage so that they were ultimately dancing with the light," he says.

How he started:As a kid, Choate would create lightshows in his closet using anything he could get his eight-year-old hands on: flashlights, lamps, plastic Easter eggs, and tin foil. He studied lighting at the University of Houston, and by sophomore year, he had quit school to teach lighting at a community college. Choate left academia to freelance fulltime.

100 Creatives: Jeremy Choate

What inspires him:The way everyday objects are lit entrances Choate. He once drew inspiration for dance lighting while cruising down I-45 at night. The streetlights were swirling shadows around his motorcycle, an effect he recreated onstage using mercury vapor lights. "We had a white floor so that the shadows, when the dancers were moving around, would have that same quality of growing in length and circling around their bodies," he says.

What's next:In the next few months, Choate is creating lighting for shows by Theater LaB, Suchu Dance, and the Pink Ribbons Project, a benefit for breast cancer. He was commissioned to turn an old power plant into a light installation by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which is opening in September and will run for five years. "Light is everything. It's the source for all life," he says. "There's something magical about it for me."

100 Creatives: Jeremy Choate

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