Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Shall I Compare Thee to A Summer's Day?

Above is a picture of from last year's rehearsals of SONNETS (in our old studio). Before we move ahead, I would just like to give some photographic credits. The previous performance pics of SONNETS were taken by Elazar Harel. The upcoming pics of rehearsals were all taken by Gene Johnson. They were all taken at a single rehearsal.

This dance is the first piece in SONNETS. It is used to set up the premise that we will see later in the piece. That premise being that sometimes dances are done in silence or to a spoken sonnet or to music or both. It also features one of the most familiar of Shakespeare's sonnets, # 18. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely etc." This was done intentionally so that the audience could get a feeling of familiarty with the piece.

The dance begins in silence and after about 30 seconds repeats itself. At that point, a piece of Native American flute music begins to drift in and the narrator begins. Because so much of the dance is done in silence, the bodies of the dancers were particlarly important. This dance is really all about line. The type of thing that Rachel Sebastian is perfect for. Long extensions, beautiful feet and a slightly heightend sense of drama. Because of the subject of the ballet, there is also a slight element of eroticism. But I pretty much just wanted to see a basic man and a basic woman on stage.

It was also important to me that the first piece of music be something that the audience would register as "primitive." because the first sonnet, lovely as it is, is so rarified. I wanted to make sure that the audience felt that they were going to see something that was universal. Since the next module of the ballet is performed to a series of Spanish Court dances, I needed something totally free form and primal to begin.

I should mention that Rachel and Askar learned this piece a few days earlier. It lasts about a minute and probably took less than an 45 minutes to stage. I tend to set things quickly. Below you will see the oher dancers ready to come in for the section that follows this one. But that is tomorrows blog.

In rehearsal today, we remounted another group number, a small ensemble number and a solo. So we are on track. That is it...apart from the fact that I discovered that I only like yogurt if it is very cold.



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