On Friday, we will be appearing as guests to open the San Diego Symphony's Winter Pops. Since Marvin Hamlish is conducting, they wanted a dance group to perform One from A Chorus Line. So 12 of the SDB dancers have been rehearsing some new choreography that I made for the number.
Remember I mentioned that choreography is hard to copyright? Well, we won't be using Michael Bennet's original choreography for two reasons. First, is that I never did the show. So while I could probably "lift" it off of a video, I don't have a personal history with it. So I really wouldn't be clear about why something needed to be done in a certain way. The second reason is because the original choreography is based on a series of repeated steps done in amazing paterns on a full stage. We will be dancing on a thin strip in front of an orchestra. Basically in two dimensions. So patterns ae impossible.
So instead, to keep the energy building, I have chosen to start the number as a solo that then becomes a duet that then becomes a quartet etc until all 12 dancers are onstage in their gold (rhinestone encrusted) tuxedos. not until the last chorus do we get all the dancers moving in unison and not until the last bars do they kick in unison. Keep the audience wanting more.
The ballet dancers are having a blast with the gold top hats.
As promised, today we discuss the Cavalier
1. A gallant or chivalrous man. especially one serving as escort to a woman of high social position; a gentleman.
2. A mounted solider; a knight.
So it seems fairly obvious that the Sugar Plum Fairy's partner is not meant to be an underling. He isn't a servant or an attendant or Kevin Federline. We are in Lancelot and Guinevere territory or Elizabeth and Essex. The difference being that this is a happy pairing.
This ballet couple is interesting in that there is no hint of dramatic tension in their relationship. They are a young girl's idealized version of mature love. Each moment of their pas de deux builds on the moment before, until we are overcome at the end with the power of two people secure in each other. An interesting concept given that the two characters are unmarried and have no intention of being married.
San Diego Ballet's Cavalier, Askar Alimbetov, is a perfect foil for the ultra feminine Sugar Plum Fairy. Male dancers can come in many shapes and sizes. Some play on androgenous qualities (like three of the most famous male dancers in ballet: Nijinsky, Nureyev and Baryshnikov) and others can be hyper masculinized (like Vladimier Vasiliev.) Askar is a bit more in the Vasiliev mode. Big powerful jumps and strong fast turns. He really launches himself into his variation and his turns a la second build in velocity.
So the juxtaposition between Chelsy and Askar works well for this piece. It also helps that they are both very detail oriented, so that they spend time on even the smallest taking of the hand or placing of the head.
So that should be enough about those two.
Tomorrow is another day and another topic.