Monday, January 07, 2008


Sorry for the delay between posts, but the further we got into Nutcracker season, the more I retreated into my shell. I don't particularly like performing, so I try to conserve my happy feelings as much as possible :)

So back to Carnival!

If you remember, we left a very happy little swamp filled with frogs, lizards, fish and alligator all samba-ing away. When the Samba finishes, the stage is taken over by a group of Culture Shock dancers portraying a flock of birds.

The dance that they did had a great kind of Tahitian-Hip-Hop flavor to it. Like Hula-ing ravens. After they are done, the SDB dancers come back on the stage with their own version of birds.

This dance is done to one of the pieces from Carnival of the Animals that was retained, the Aviary. The first dancer to appear is Abby Avery (seen in her rehearsal leg warmers) as a Bluebird.

Abby Avery.
Abby "Aviary."

Get it? Actually, she told me she used to be kidded about it as a kid.

The piece was originally designed to be a solo to be followed by a trio for Abby and two butterflies. But things changed.

As I was choreographing the entire ballet, I had finished a very nice tango for a pair of Rhinos. At the same time, someone had donated some very flashy, ballroom dance-y costumes to the ballet that were just staring at me all day long in the office.

Pretty much all at once, I thought... why do I need to have two Rhino's? Can't it be a Rhino and something in a two piece hot pink costume.

Like a flamingo!

Ta-da. The character change made the dancer very happy. (She had ALSO been eyeing the costume for awhile.) She also went into the next rehearsal letting her partner know that she would no longer need to wear the pre-requisite Rhino horn in the dance.

So now I had a Flamingo... and a Bluebird... and a Swan.

Remember her.

Since I had 3 birds in the ballet, I could now have an... aviary. Even though it is still Abby's solo, we have a couple of guest crossovers from the Flamingo and Swan (who we will see later). So I actually get to make the ballet seem as if it has a bit more continuity rather than just be a bunch of disparate parts.

We also have a couple of crossovers from the two butterflies, who will join Abby for the following trio.

There are no insects in the Saint-Saens Carnival, so the inclusion of butterflies gives a nod to the insect world, without having to include anything too icky. (We also had the wings in storage. As a ballet company, there is no shortage of fairy/butterfly wings lying about.)

I loved the new music that was used for this trio. It had a lovely soaring quality. It was as if you were flying over Machu Pichu or some Andean mountain range. As a mater of fact, there was a lot of running in big arcs across the stage.

But it was pretty much another happy, happy dance. After all, butterflies and a bluebird flitting about. What else could it be?

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