Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

Moving With the Music

Moving With the Music

Headshot of Chase Brian Fittin

Chase Brian Fittin, a first-year student in the inaugural BFA Dance program at Peabody, has trained in all styles of dance since he was 6 years old but says his favorite style is a blend of contemporary and hip-hop. He has performed with Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato at the Billboard Music Awards and hopes
to one day dance in a company and choreograph. We caught up with him at the end of his first semester.

Why is contemporary hip-hop your favorite?

I love music, and I have a lot of musicality when I dance. I like to mimic the music through my body. In hip-hop, and in contemporary, I can articulate and move not just to the music but with the music. I like merging those two styles because I can fully show the music through my body.

What drew you to the dance program at Peabody?

This school has so much history, and the fact that we’re starting something so new and setting this tone
for the future classes is awesome. I wanted the one-on-one experience that I have with my director, danah bella, right now. Considering that we’re the first class here, we’re getting hands-on attention, and we’re working so much!

What have you discovered so far at Peabody?

I’ve definitely found myself as an artist more. We have choreographers coming in of all [types]. Yin Yue [artist-in-residence, fall semester], who has her own company, has taught us so much. Our ballet teacher, Kristen Stevenson, has set two pieces for us, and we recently had a choreographer, Sidra Bell, who has her own company, come from New York. By dancing so much and working with the faculty and the choreographers we bring in, I’ve been able to venture out and discover and explore new ways to move my body.

We also have student choreography that we’re working on. For our first-ever performance in December, the piece I wrote is a contemporary hip-hop solo. I wanted to showcase my style because I feel like a lot of people think if it’s hip-hop, it has to be hip- hop, or if it’s contemporary, it has to be contemporary, but I don’t think it should be that way.

Who or what inspires you?

When I began, my main inspiration was Justin Timberlake. He was such an amazing performer. My parents
got me a behind-the-scenes dvd, and I would watch it all the time and dance along. I wasn’t good, obviously, because I hadn’t had lessons, but they saw that I was interested and took me to my first class. Right now, my main inspiration is my mom, because she’s always been there for everything for me.

What might be next for you?

Taking dance as a profession, there are many different pathways you can go down. I want to be able to be a dancer and work in a company and to branch out and be able to choreograph for certain things, as well. I would love to be a dancer or choreographer for an artist’s tour — to be able to show my visions for that artist’s songs and to collaborate with that artist.

What was it like performing with Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato?

I had such a great time! It was a crazy experience because something like that doesn’t come around often. It really motivated me to continue doing what I’m doing. The staging and the lighting were very elaborate, and we only had one rehearsal before the tech rehearsal. They jam-pack everything into a two-day experience and you have to go along for the ride.

— Interview by Jeb Cook