Duane Gosa, a member of the stupendous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo since 2013, shares his playlist for the company's December season. See him in tutu splendor at the Joyce Theater, where the Trocks, led by Tory Dobrin, return December 16 through January 4.
For me, music is always present. My life runs on a soundtrack, and music has guided so much of my life I don't think I could exist without it. I was introduced to dance through my music education, and I connect to dance so much because I feel it's the closest I can get to actually being the music. It's incredible that I get to call this my job; still, balancing 165 pounds in a pair of pointe shoes eight shows a week can be trying, and sometimes you need a little more motivation than an extra pair of lashes. A good groove can give you life.
1. "Rapture" by Blondie
"Debbie Harry makes me nostalgic for NYC in the '70s. Her music, style, and cheekbones are undeniably punk rock, but she also had the allure of Marilyn Monroe. "Rapture" has a funky groove with a solid bass line, plus Debbie Harry raps! It's a bit whimsical, but I dig it."
2. "I'm Your Baby Tonight" by Whitney Houston
"Really, anything Whitney will get the dressing room going. Her voice is so pure and great to sing along to because her power masks any of our vocal shortcomings."
3. "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer
"Hypnotic. The high energy beat complemented by her entrancing, melodic voice get me pumped, focused and feeling sexy. It has the right amount of tension and release."
4. "Frequent Flyer" by Chromeo
"It seems like we spend more than half our lives in Trockadero on an airplane or at London Heathrow, so I like to indulge in the fantasy of a coquettish exchange with a sexy flight attendant. “You look dashing, even with your seat belt fastened.”
5. "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones
"British artists have this peculiar savvy with soul in their music. The Rolling Stones were my gateway to rock'n'roll. I like the smokey, laid back feel to this song. It's right in the pocket."
6. "Black Cat" by Janet Jackson"
"One of the greatest pop artists ever and in my opinion very under-recognized. The electric guitar in this song gets me feeling predatory, and it's great for shows when I'm serving brassy broad realness, like one of the gypsies in Esmerelda Pas de Six."
7. "Here's Where I Stand" by Tiffany Taylor and The Company (from the motion picture soundtrack of CAMP)
"Nothing like an organ and a gospel choir to get you feeling the spirit. This song is leaves you feeling vulnerable yet empowered."
8. "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes" by Janelle Monae
"Our director, Tory Dobrin, often asks us to embody our favorite old-Hollywood actress at key dramatic moments in the show. I often think of Dorothy Dandridge in Carmen Jones. The sweeping melodies in this song create the perfect setting for beating that mug."
9. "9 TO 5" by Dolly Parton
"For our company class, we sometimes use contemporary music , and Paul Ghiselin, our ballet master, likes to use this song for petite allegro. Just a few bars into this song, everyone in the company is singing along. It's a good mood lifter."
10. "Black Ballerina" by Ariel Pink
"Delightfully quirky. I also think the title is appropriate."
11. "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown
"Classic. This song is great to play after shows, at that moment when you take off those pointe shoes that you've had on for hours, and finally 'let the cookies breathe.'"
12. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" by Them
"This one is really a lullaby for me that complements the train ride home to Brooklyn, crossing the Williamsburg Bridge. The city becomes so majestic yet peaceful, and this cover always takes me on a journey."