Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cupid... draw back your bow.

What would a Valentine's ballet be without Cupid. :)

Seriously though, as I was trying to figure out a framing device for this huge series of poems, I was struck that there were two sonnets at the end that seemd to have nothing to do with ther rest. Most of the sonnets are personal ruminations about love. They are told in the first person, whether they discuss personal angst or are giving advice to others. But the two final sonnets #153 and #154 are narrative stories about Cupid. Cupid and his arrows of love. Now it would have been very easy just to choose to not do these two sonnets, but instead I found that they were nice little bookends to the ballet.

But Cupid also appears in the ballet because of what often happens when I look at dancers.

In this case, Cole van den Helder.

Cole has been part of our Nutcracker for a few years now. A little smiling ball of energy topped by a pile of blond curls. One day as I saw him sitting on a stool during rehearsal, swinging his legs and looking as if he wanted to create havoc and I thought, "We need to squeeze every opportunity of cuteness out of that kid while he still looks like an angel." Because while I am sure that Young Master van den Helder will break a few hearts when he gets older, "cuteness" is a finite commodity.

So when I was putting the ballet in the season last year, part of me honestly thought, "Oh yes, I have to do it now while I have a Cupid." because you see, I tend to ruminate on ballets for awhile. I get a thought for a ballet and then I just keep it on the backburner until the time seems right. So SONNETS had been an idea for years. And in a way, Cole's cute factor had alot with the decision to do it last year. Even though all he does is bring in a candle and fall asleep at the beginning and then walk across the stage at the end.

The image of a beautiful boy with wings and a candle was something I felt was very important. As you can see, I think my mini Pagent of the Masters worked out well. by the way, unlike those big budget companies (where people stand and sing), at SDB we have to be creative. The candle was bought at a thrift store in San Ysidro and Cupid's wings come courtesy of someone's Halloween costume.

I love this image because he looks so warm and cozy in his little white socks.

Tomorrow we will start at the top of the actual dancing of SONNETS and go through each section piece by piece. We will have photos taken from rehearsal last year by Gene Johnson to help us on our journey.

As far as the company today. The dancers came back from their vacation ready to go. We quickly re-learned the fimale of SONNETS which was performed at an in-studio performance last month. In addition, the dancers learned a new group section. Most were let go early. This was done for two reasons. First, so they wouldn't get to worn out on their first day back and second, so that they could finish their dancer bio pages for our website.

Getting dancers to write about themselves is like pulling teeth. So I literally had to sit here and squeeze it out of them. But it is done for the most part.

At the end of rehearsal, Chelsy and Askar rehearsed the White Swan pas de deux in preparation for a personal appearance on Thursday at a middle school in Chula Vista. The kids there helped put our mailing labels on postcards for a bulk mailing.

Before they left, Askar and Rachel went over the opening pas de deux for SONNETS which shall be the subject of tomorrow's blog.

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