Thursday, January 17, 2008

Elite Syncopations - Solo

First, I would like to welcome anyone who is coming to the blog for the first time, thanks to the nifty, new San Diego Ballet newsletter. You have all caught me in the middle of a dissection of one of our premieres from this last season... Joplinesque.

We are now smack dab in the middle of the piece and are coming upon the first of two solos.

A fairly bouncy tune titled Elite Syncopations, danced by Jillian Nealon.

The piece was put together along with the Bethena Waltz for a studio performance in the Spring of 07. It was our inaugural show in our new studios.

Many times, I will choreograph a solo for a specific person. Sometimes, I like the whole group to learn it and pick from among them. The latter was the case with both this solo and one that was created for Jazz Suite #1. I didn't set out to make difficult dances. But somehow I did. At the end of the process, there was really only one dancer who was able to move as quickly in some of the movement phrases as this ballet demanded. And that was Jillian.

As you will notice, these photos were taken at two different run thrus. In the top photo, Jillian is still wearing her watch (a no-no). In the second, she has removed it (thank you). The solo feature lots of little jumps, hops on pointe, back bends, bends to the side, bends forward, pirouettes, and a fair amount of strutting on stage. Through out she is backed up by the 4 corps girls from the first movement, who were dancing on either side of her and the other soloist.

Since all of the dancers had learned the piece, it was fairly easy work to set up the corps girls, as they echo Jillian's steps as she does them.

My favorite part of the piece came at the end, when the 5 girls just marched on point towards the audience in unison. It was a fairly simple step, featuring an exaggerated arm swing and head tilt, but it always made me smile when it happened. The all just looked so happy and confident!



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