Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Dark Lady


Only 4 days of rehearsal left.

Today's piece is the centerpiece of the second act. A very long pas de deux that illuminates 3 of Shakespeare's poems dealing with a mysterious "dark lady." It is set to a Turkish whirling dervish, so I had always envisioned it as pretty much perpetual motion. Twisting in and out of knots.

Now, we get requests all the time for dancers to appear at a function. And when we ask how long they want the dancers to dance, we usually get the same answer. "Not long. Maybe 30 or 40 minutes."

Just imagine running nonstop for 40 minutes. And trying to look pleasant the entire time. 5 minutes is a long time for a dancer to keep dancing nonstop. This pas de deux is 8 minutes long.

Of course, the dancers didn't have it thrown at them at once. For something like this, I like to set daily one hour long rehearsals. That way the dancers build their endurance as they learn. The more you do a piece, the more you learn where you can "rest" and breathe. Even if it is only for a second. Every second helps.

Now, the dancer that originated this piece, Heather Falten, had to leave us this year to go make some money dancing at Bally's in Las Vegas to pay off her student loans. I could have replaced her with someone in the company, but I didn't really want to. There are other pieces where I don't feel as strongly. Where I think, "Well, let's give it to this other dancer and see what she can do with it." But in this case, I didn't want to.

At least for now, this is Heather's number. So Heather got some time off and will be joining us on Tuesday to get plugged back in. Don't think she hasn't been working on it. She has. Just not with us.

So when she arrives, she and Askar will go off into a rehearsal studio and try to get back the timing and nuances that they had in the piece last year. Sometimes re-setting can be a frustrating process. Because people change. Not just in weight but in tiny imperceptable things. So a step that might have been simple before can suddenly elude you. And you wouldn't be able to figure out why.

This is an interesting image because it is one if the few moments in the dance where they are just standing still and she is not on point. Although, they are "acting" you can also see that their bodies are a bit exhausted. Remember that this dance occurs after an hour plus of dancing in the first act.

An interesting picture, because this is actually a spin. He seems a bit off balance, but he is actually swinging her around.

We have had alot of dancers perform with the San Diego Ballet over the years. And we have a very open door. While I do my best to make sure that the dancers that we have here are growing as artists, I also made certain pieces for certain people.

So as long as they are still in good dancing form...

Johnathan Sharp would always be welcome to play Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Peter Kalivas would always be welcome to perform his role in Mambomania.
Stephanie Aubuchon would always be welcome to perform as the Firebird.
Khristina Kravas would always be welcome to perform the role of Charlotte Bronte




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