Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Quartet - The Entertainer

After the couples first number, the quartet of girls who danced upstage center in the opening return.

They dance to the very popular, The Entertainer.

Back in the 70's, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing this piece being played somewhere on the radio. We can credit the uber-popular team of Robert Redford and Paul Newman for that.

Before they were hawking salad dressing and independent movie festivals, they made a string of insanely, profitable films (from which they made an insane amount of profit and became the beloved philanthropists we all have come to know. Love that Newman's Limeade.)

One of these flicks was The Sting (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year).

The movie featured The Entertainer as its recurring theme. The popularity of the movie (and its ubiquitous theme song) started a ragtime craze, that contributed to the playing of ragtime in ballet classes and Kenneth McMillan's Elite Syncopations.

See how the real world influences art!

Anyhow, this particular piece was originally choreographed for Stephanie Aubuchon, Amy Kaplan, and Khristina Kravas. Three of the company's principal dancers. It was also one of the pieces reconstructed from the performance with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. We didn't perform it at the studio performance in the spring, rather we redid it for our fundraising event in June. So it was ready in plenty of time for inclusion in the ballet.

Here is Kirsten at the beginning of the dance. The movement begins with a soloist setting a theme. The other girls then join in, as she begins to develop variations on the original theme. Through the piece they take turns as soloists and explore different permutations of duo's, trios, and a quartet.

For anyone who can count, you can see that our original trio has become a quartet. So some of the architecture of the dance had to change. When the dance was originally performed it was also half as long. That was because that was all the orchestra wanted to play. So there was some amount of new choreography that was developed for the new quartet version.

Here is one of the pitfalls of photography. It looks as if the two forward facing girls have either fallen off point or are ahead of the two girls facing the back. In actuality, they are doing a different movement phrase altogether. The girls facing back are executing an attitude turn. the ladies facing front are transitioning from hops on pointe.

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