Sunday, March 04, 2007

The beginning of SONNETS

So our upcoming show is SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS. The picture above is a performance shot of SDB principal dancer Rachel Sebastian in her solo form the piece. SONNETS premiered last year as part of our annual Valentines show. Which coincidentaly we postponed to March 31'st this year so that our dancers could dance in the opera.

Anyhow, SONNETS came about because I needed something uber- romantic. You know... Valentine's Day... Lovers. A date ballet. Something that someone could take someone else to after a dinner and before a nightcap.

Also, SDB has done alot of work accompanied by poetry and spoken word. The Brontes, Falling, Love: 20 Cents the First Quarter - Mile, Luna Lunera, Eternally Bad and others all featured dancers dancing to poems (with or without music). In the past, these pieces have been received well by critics and the fact that we do so many of them sets the company apart from others.

One thing, however...

In the case of Falling, the movement was specifically tied to every word in the poem. The piece was 20 minutes long and performed to no music. While I enjoyed the process of making the piece and the piece itself, I knew that I didn't want to do that with this ballet. The sonnets which have been chosen are a springboard for dance pieces that then have a life of their own.

I also felt that it would make the evening too dense physically. Not to mention the fact that i wanted the dancers flying around the stage, just dancing.

There are 3 exceptions though...

A "dark lady" pas de deux is very tied to the structure of the 3 poems that are spoken as it occurs. Also, there is an early section, choreographed by me on one of my dearest friends Andrea Feier, features movement based on American Sign Language. It isn't signing, but the kernal for the movement ideas come from a literal transaltion of some of the poems into sign. The last section that is very grounded in the specific words is the portion of the ballet performed by guest artist Uma Suresh. This is because it is classical Indian dance. A type of dance with is a bit more suited to direct narrative than ballet.

In the days that come, I'll go back and go through the ballet from start to finish and include some insights as to why certain things were made for certain people.

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