After graduating in 2009, James has received the Blueprint Bursary, won Sadlers Wells Global Dance Contest along, choreographed on Scottish Dance Theatre, been awarded Arts Council money amongst other things. I interview him over the phone whilst he is in Leeds choreographing on NSCD's third year about the excitement that is surrounding him and how it feels to be very much in the spotlight so soon into his career.
S: After winning Sadlers Well's Global Dance Contest you are very much hot property, how do you feel about the hype that is surrounding you right now?
J: The hype? It was kind of weird. I think mainly because when I entered the competition I didn't think I would get shortlisted as the audio quality was so awful [on entry video]. Then I got shortlisted and I didn't think I would win because I had seen how other people had pushed the whole facebook thing, encouraging their friends to vote. Looking at the views that each entry was getting I was just assuming that nobody outside of my friends and family were voting so I didn't think I could win.
So when I did, it was mental. Suddenly people knew who I was without me knowing them.
S: Some people argue that a name can become more famous than their work. Does it bother you that people could now just think 'that's James Wilton he must be good', without actually seeing your work? Would that bother you?
J: It seems you can get to a point where your name is so big that you can't really do any wrong. So I want to avoid that to be honest with you.
I want people to have seen my work before they talk about me. Once people start to know about you it does feel sometimes, that they want a piece only because it is something new and rep companies are always after that next big thing. In my opinion some companies just stick with the safe bets where as others do take more of a chance.
S: I think for example Hofesh a couple of years ago- it seemed like he was making work on so many companies, and I thought artistically that must be tough going
J: That is ultimately what I want to avoid. I don't want to get to a point where I am just churning things out. I want to always be at a place where I am excited and energised about what I am doing. I am still exploring and I am young and don't have to keep repeating a certain formula to keep people happy. I want to keep experimenting. For example, I am working with students at NSCD and I am not doing anything with them that I have done before, and I think there is a tendancy for some choreographers to do that but there are only so many ideas you can come up with.
I want to avoid always starting at the same point because I know it works or because that is what the director is wanting. To some extent there will be an expectation, but I don't want people to already know what the piece is going to look like before they book. There should still be an element of surprise.
S: You use a lot of music that has lyrics. Is this a secret ploy to appear different and slightly trendy?
J: It is not like they are saying it for any justified reason or because it hasn't been done before. I try to use it intelligently. I go on what I like and what I can stand listening to hundreds of times and use music that I would listen to on my ipod walking down the road.
S: So do you use the lyrics in the songs to help people relate to your piece?
J: Lyrics have to be making sense even if the connection is only making sense in my mind. In what ever I do I don't try to preach a message. Apart from Drift the duet I made for SDT. The lyrics made sense to the movement, but apart from that no I don't use the lyrics to create movement. The music helps me when I am choreographing as I think that whatever I was experiencing at the time when listening to it, feeds subconsciously into what I am creating.
So there you have it. I enjoyed talking to James and how he is unashamedly still quite young within the industry and is still figuring out why he is where he is. Whilst his voice and confidence within his work is very clear already I hope he as open as he says he is and keeps his humble head held high.