Monday, March 12, 2007

The Pleasant Peasants

Monday is the official day off for the San Diego Ballet. but as you can see, no day off for me. In addition to being theartistic director of the ballet, I am also very involved with other arts organizations in the city. One of these is the San Diego Performing Arts League. A memebr service organization for performing arts companies in San Diego. As a former board member, I am still active on committees and events. One of these is the Star Awards. It recognizes volunteers who help arts organizations survive. Our budgets being what they are, without volunteers... everything would stop. today, i had a planning meeting for that event. I am in charge of... the entertainment, what else?

I also have a meeting for a Chula Vista Arts Council to attend this evening, where I will represent the San Diego Ballet, the San Diego Performing Arts League AND the School for Creative and performing Arts where I am a consultant.

So we left off at SONNETS with Andrea's beautiful dramatic solo. We now come back abit to the Elizabethan world with a dance I call... The Pleasant Peasants.

This was the first dance that was actually choreographed for the piece. I knew that the piece would be premiering in Spring of '06. Since we had a summer program in '05, I satrted playing with some movement on the students who took the program.

By now, I had already decided that the piece would not just feature court music, but world music as well. Agnes De Mille who wrote one of THE best dance autobiographies (named incidentally Dance To The Piper) once said, "There is no such thing as a bad folk dance." So I hoped that the use of folk dance music would at least impart some of that non-badness to my choreography. Although the technique for this piece is pretty much just ballet, I always imagined that the dancers were out dancing "on the green," as dancers did in Shakespeare's time. In my youth, the Old Globe Theatre here in San Diego used to have Dances on the Green before their shows. Alas, that "green" has been paved over with a gift shop and concession stand.

So I am always telling the dancers that they have to be doing thier steps as if they are trippingly waling over little brooks surrounded by frolicking lambs. Anything to make them smile and laugh.

When the dance was originally choreographed there were no men in it, as there were no men in that particular class of the summer program. When it came time to set it on the company, the men were added partnering the 4 principal women in movements that complimented the original. I love the picture above because Megan is sooooo off balance. There is alot of that in this piece. On balance-off balance-on balance-off.

This picture is also from the same section. I am including it so that you can get a view of our Ballet Mistress, Ahita Ardalan Bergaman. Ahita is originally from Iran but trained at the Paris Opera school. You can tell if she thinks something needs work because you will hear her say..."That was not so nice." If she seems a bit relaxed, its because I am running the rehearsal. Also, I believe this was the first time she was seeing some of these pieces, since I was just choreographing it. Ahita also serves as our stage manager, so she has to know the ballets inside and out, since she will be calling lighting cues during the actual show.

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