Monday, November 14, 2011

Dec 20 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Echale Salsita. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancers: Robert Callan & Lyndon Dou.

More work on The Toughest Girl Alive today. Yesterday, I blocked through the first act with our new supporting player. Today, I did the second. Tonight, I'll be meeting with Robin, and Karen (our general manager) over dinner to discuss upcoming strategies.

Last night's meeting was interesting. I had thought that the proposed one woman show project was going to be more of a theatrical undertaking. While it IS that, it also has more of a spiritual/self-realization component to it. It is currently in an outline form, so I encouraged the artist to write a bit more of the actual monologues she will present and to find the connections in the various areas of interest.

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Dec 19 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Echale Salsita. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancers: Stephanie Maiorano & Max Tchernychev

As we close up on Nutcracker, I want to thank the special groups that came to see our shows as our guests...

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of San Diego
The Wounded Warrior Project
San Diego Police and Fire personnel and their families
The Naval Special Warfare Community of San Diego

Today, I began work on a remount of The Toughest Girl Alive at Moxie Theatre. I also had to get some numbers in for a Creative Catalyst Fellowship that I will be getting in 2012. And in about 15 minutes, I have a meeting with an old colleague about a one person show.

Meanwhile I need to finalize the pas de deux that we will be doing in February.

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Dec 18 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Echale Salsita. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancers: Stephanie Maiorano & Max Tchernychev

Last Nutcracker of the season today. Have to go in early to give a talk to a group from the Ivy League. Then a backstage tour to someone from Big Brothers and Sisters. Then the show. Then we pack it all up to be cleaned and put away until next year.

So far my back is feeling better today. 2 Advil and hot shower and I am on my way.

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Dec 17 2011

Rehearsal of SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer:Arielle Meads. And we will leave Alice gazing into the future. Tomorrow, we will begin with some rehearsal shots from Echale Salsita.

Well, yesterday we had a performance at the Naval Training Center (NTC) in the evening. For the most part it went well. It was walking distance from our studio, so we got ready and then walked over. A group is trying to start a Christmas weekend event in Point Loma (our neighborhood) and asked us to be involved.

The stage was plenty pig and the staff on hand was nice and helpful. It was also kind of fun walking in my Herr Drosselmeyer cape from the studio to the stage on a windy day. I felt like Bela Lugosi.

The one unfortunate thing is... somehow I messed up my back during the show. I didn't feel anything, but when I got back to the studio to change, I had a great deal of pain bending over and/or lifting anything that weighed more than 10 lbs. It feels a little better today, but I am probably going to have to adjust my show a bit to compensate.

Oh well, 2 shows today. Matinee and evening. :)

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Dec 16 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. The Queen of Hearts. Red on red on red.

Last night at the dress rehearsal, we had an injury. So we have had to do some more reshuffling. So after the class I taught this morning, we had a put in rehearsal for Waltz of the Flowers. Then a kid's matinee. Then a Snow put in rehearsal. Pack the costumes up for an outdoor show tonight at the Naval Training Center and then tomorrow back to la Jolla for a matinee and evening show.

It sounds bad, but I can't wait until Monday.. The big reason is that when we get into show mode, I tend to eat out more often than we are in rehearsal mode. Which means my wallet gets thinner and my waistline gets bigger :)

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Dec 15 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Arielle Meads

Nutcracker school matinee went well today. Taught class at 8am.

Congrats to Stephanie Maiorano and Evgeney Korsakov on their first Sugarplum and Cavalier with the company. Everything went well, other than a technical snafu with the headsets that connect the back of the stage to the front of the house. Well, we ended up doing everything by visual cues. No blood was spilled and some younger dancers got the opportunity to be put into Waltz of the Flowers and variations.

Tonight, we start with the kids pictures before and after the show. So once again I get to act like an elf helper to churn them through. Then our dress rehearsal. Then home to snooze and do more of the same tomorrow.

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Dec 14 20111

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. This was the section of the ballet that showcase the battle between the Lion and the Unicorn. Above you see the Unicorn in his unfinished costume.

Things are getting a bit hectic. We needed to cover some missing spots in the children's matinee of Waltz of the Flowers tomorrow. We have a couple of options, so we are set. Then ran through the Snow Pas De Deux with some alternate casts.

Tonight we have our tech rehearsal, so I need to load up my car with the costumes we have been using at the lecture demonstrations and zip them over. Zoom!

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Dec 13 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancing cards.

We had our last Nutcracker LDs today. In Alpine. For those of you who are not San Diegans, Alpine is a bit of a drive. But then most of our LDs have been. It was a rough start. Rain. And costumes and music that were left in someone's trunk. Luckily, we adapted. Boulder Oaks Elementary even had cookies for us. :)

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Dec 12 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Scout Forsythe & Zoe Marinello-Cohn

Day off today. Just got the rehearsal and performance schedule for the week with a few surprises. In addition to our regular performances, we have two Nutcracker matinees this week. Normally they are narrated by a longtime SDB associate Gail Mackler. I just found out that she will be out of town, Luckily we only do the second act. Unluckily, I will have to cover for her. It is sort of an open secret that I hate public speaking. I do it all the time and have gotten used to it (and proficient at it), but I still dislike it nonetheless.

Additionally, I will have to teach the classes that precede the matinees (where in the past I have not). So instead of having a late day on both Thursday and Friday, I will now have a two VERY early days. And I am not a morning person.

Ah well, such is life.

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Dec 11 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Arielle Meads & Nick Zavala

Back to the office. Upstairs, the kids are being rehearsed for this week's Nutcracker performances at Mandeville. Up until now, we have had to rehearse things twice as there have been two casts for two theaters. As we have completed our Birch performances, we now just have one cast rehearsing.

Afterwards, I am off to a champagne toast to commemorate the closing of The Great American Trailer Park Musical at the Rep. From all accounts, it was a big trashy success. Extended for a week even.

Onward! This week we have a few more in-school performances, our Mandeville shows, and then I gear up for a return run of The Toughest Girl Alive at Moxie Theatre.

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Dec 10 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Eddie Styles. As I mentioned before many of the original hip hop cast of Alice came back for this production. Eddie came back to reprise his role as the Mad Hatter.

Today, the ballet company goes off to perform at the German Club in San Diego. They will be doing an abridged version of the Nutcracker. Robin will narrate. I have been narrating the educational outreach shows at schools for the past two days. Sometimes there is a microphone. Sometimes there isn't. A few of the shows didn't have a mike, so my voice is a little tired from having to project over the music. Poor me.

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Dec 9 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Tiffany Koepke

A month of daily blogs!

Well today, we were off to Solana Vista Elementary School in the morning. We go there every year at Nutcracker time. A command performance. It doesn't have a regular stage. We perform in a kiva. Sort of a carpeted pit. The kids all sit around us.

And then we jetted over to Painted Rock Elementary School in Poway. A nice multi-purpose room with a real stage. With carpet. And a nice hole in the middle of the stage. Luckily, I had a roll of duct tape. Instant patch.

Onward to the weekend's rehearsals!

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Dec 8 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Noriko Zaragoza & Arielle Meads

In between Lecture Demos. This morning, we got up bright and early and did two shows at Ocean Knoll Elementary School in Encinitas. Very nice. The school has a lovely view of the Pacific. Their mascot is the Dolphin. So I got to say "Good Morning Ocean Knoll Dolphins!" before I went into my spiel about proper assembly behavior. First group was great. K through 3. Very attentive and quiet. They clapped for everything. The second group was a bit tougher. 4th through 6th. They are always a bit more challenging. :)

Now, we are off to Adams Elementary in somewhere in between East Village and Kensington. Two more shows. Then more of the same tomorrow.

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Dec 7 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Caitlin Sullivan. The Duchess' foot and a flamingo croquet mallet in detail. Dunno why I just like the interplay here. And a slight bit of San Diego Theatre trivia. If you go and see The Great American Trailer Park Musical at the San Diego Rep this week, you can see our croquet mallets "on loan" as lawn decoration. While I was choreographing the show, they mentioned they needed flamingos, so I volunteered ours.

Finished the postcards for the February show and sent them off to the printshop. Should get them back in a few. Robin rehearsed the lecture demo today. Unfortunately we had an injury today. Tiffany's foot is hurt, so she will have to be replaced in the lecture demo this week.

I taught Level 5 today at the school. It is actually the only San Diego School of Ballet class I teach. The company classes I do in the morning aren't really considered school classes. Anyhow, the Level 5 girls are starting to look stronger. We have been working on their jumps and beats. Personally, I hated beats (batterie would be the correct term). I was much happier in adagio. But then I never had any illusions of becoming a ballet dancer. And some of these girls do. So they need to work on their entrechats, cabrioles, and brises. Everytime, I see them.

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Dec 6 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Noriko Zaragoza. This is one of my favorite parts of the ballet. It deals with an episode of Alice in Wonderland that is usually glossed over in treatments. Probably because it is so weird. In it a rather ugly Duchess (who has a frog footman) is having an argument with a cook who is tossing pepper everywhere, while a crying baby turns into a pig, and the entire proceeding is being watched over by a grinning Cheshire Cat. Well I made the Duchess into a bit of a glamourous femme fatale (to suit a dancer in the company at the time, Heather Falten) and gave her two beefy cooks. They manipulate her into various odd positions. The pig and the cat remain. All set to a cool piece of music that is in a 7/4 time signature.

Came into work today to work a bit on the mailout for our Spring show. Longtime SDB dancer Noriko Zaragoza (the Cat in the above pic) ran rehearsals today for the lecture demonstration.  Off to teach at Florence Elementary School in a bit.

Thank you everyone for following.

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Dec 5 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Noriko Zaragoza. I love this stuffed pig. When the ballet isn't being done, he sits on my dresser at home.

Day off. Yay!!!

That just means I get to catch up on everything else that I need to do. Laundry. Cleaning out the pet cages. Taking items to good will. Dropped off flyers for our annual Free Day of Dance at schools in the South Bay. Every year, we (along with Malashock Dance and San Diego Dance Theatre) offer free dance classes on the day after Christmas. I always teach a morning stretch class from 9 to 10 for everyone who over indulged the day before.

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Dec 4 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Scout Forsythe

Nutcracker matinee today at the Birch. Then we packed up for our shows at Mandeville. The matinee went well. Nice sized house and very appreciative.

I did a backstage tour for a friend's grandson before the show started. It can be fun with young children who have never been on stage before. Everything is interesting to them. From stage lights with colored gels to hoisting wooden swords to getting to strum a few notes on the strings of a bass. Much excitement.

Day off tomorrow!!

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Dec 3 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Arielle Meads

I didn't mention that yesterday morning, as I was racing to the Nutcracker lecture demonstration, I took a little tumble as I tripped over a curb. "Luckily" the cd player I was carrying broke my fall a bit. The reason I am bringing up this fascinating tidbit is because it must have set up the karma for the rest of the day.

Once we began the second act run through of the Nutcracker dress rehearsal yesterday, it seemed that not 15 minutes would go by without some one slipping onstage or off. Thankfully there were no serious injuries. However, its a good thing that dancers wear tights, as there are going to be plenty of bruises on display today. :(

Oh well, opening in San Diego today at the Birch Theatre. Come on down and get into the holiday swing of things!

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Dec 2 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: David "Darkie" Simmons. Tweedle Dee in all his glory.

Had our first Nutcracker LD today in Coronado. It went very well. The school had a tiny stage, so we danced on the floor of the auditorium instead. Tile over concrete. The kids were all around them in a U shape. Kindergarten kids only. Very well behaved and attentive.

Tonight, we have our dress rehearsal at the Birch. But also have to wrangle the kids photos before and after. If you have ever seen A Christmas Story, it's a little like the scene where Ralphie goes to sit on Santa's lap. If I only had a huge slide to send them all down on. :)

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Dec 1 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: David "Darkie" Simmons and Samath Orm. Yesterday, we had the dainty ballerina feet and today we have the hip hoppers. By the way these legs belong to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

In Nutcrackerland, we rehearsed our lecture demonstration and cast the upcoming educational outreach shows for the Holiday season. Tonight, we have our tech at the Birch. But it should go smoothly, as we are now a well oiled machine after tour. :)

The Birch is a lovely theater, but it is a bit cramped backstage. I don't even have a laundry room to escape to.

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Nov 30 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Tiffany Koepke & Stephanie Maiorano

Today, the dancers got their assignments for our lecture demonstration at Coronado on Friday. These are mini-shows that we take to public schools through all of San Diego county. We have ten school shows in these next two weeks, while we rehearse and perform at night in the theatres. We also did a short dancer rehearsal for local dancers who will be performing in Nutcracker this weekend. Casts change from show to show.

I also sat on a panel for a new public art piece at the San Diego Airport. Some very nice submissions. We narrowed it down and will be meeting with the finalists in December.

Then I had to rush back to SDB and teach a class. A full day!

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Nov 29 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Bronwyn Stokes. A young dancer as a living flower. We have flowers in The Nutcracker too. I guess its an easy analogy. Dancers = Flowers.

Still getting over the head cold thing. Mainly a day of drainage. Ick.

But I did go to my old high school this evening. They were dedicating a building to my first dance teacher. It has a music room, choral room, orchestra room, dance room, and a performance hall. We will be having a celebration in January 14th for all of his old students.

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Nov 28 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Arielle Meads and friends. This is the Caterpillar section of the ballet. FYI, Alice is a ballet that was created as part of a longstanding relationship with Culture Shock San Diego, a hip hop dance crew. When Alice premiered a few years back, this dance was performed by the Jabbawockies, who have gone on to create quite a name for themselves.

Be it ever so humble... so glad to be home. As I get older, I have found that I travel less well than I used to. This mainly pops up in sinus headaches. Aggravated by going up and down in airplanes. And today I got a doozy, thanks to the non direct flight back from Billings. But after my self imposed exile under the covers, most of it seems to have disappeared. Still I will be a little fragile for the rest of the evening.

Well the truck got all packed, we got a nice review in the Billings Gazette, no Baby Mice were harmed, and all of the dancers returned safely home. Now for our local shows. We have tomorrow off, but I have to go take care of a special engagement. More about that tomorrow. Right now, I am going to crawl back under my blankets.

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Nov 27 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Arielle Meads

My last day in my laundry/dressing room among the super concentrated detergent and lemon polish. The Waltz of the Flowers is playing and I have about 12 minutes before I have to go onstage and finish the Nutcracker with a swirl of my cape.

Shows have gone well (knock electronic wood). Now we all need to pitch in to load up the truck, so it can be on the road bright and early tomorrow morning to get to San Diego by Tuesday night. Shows at North Park Theatre on the weekend. Along with our first school lecture demonstration of the season on Friday.

Ah well, I just heard the end of Flowers, now its the Pas de Deux. Gotta run upstairs as I have to cue the sheep and sugarbabes for their entrances.

If all goes well, I might just be able to see The Muppet movie tonight!

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Nov 26 2011

Rehearsal SDB Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Stephanie Maiorano

Sitting in my laundry/dressing room in between our Final Dress and our first Nutcracker show in Billings. The dress went fine. A few minor mishaps, but nothing really reportable. A little backstage drama as well, but thats all straightened out. Had a lovely dinner with Abby and Rachel (our Snow Queen and Sugarplum Fairy). Complete with a Huckleberry Ice Cream Sandwich for dessert.

It should be a good show tonight. The orchestra plays a section of the party scene a bit faster than usual, but thats fine by me. It means I am onstage less. :)

Hope we will see a little snow by Monday, but I don't think its in the cards. Ah, well.

Yesterday, I was awoken by the howling winds. Today, it was the screaming baby in the hotel room next to mine at 4am. According to the hotel service, they checked out today. Lets hope so .

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Nov 25 2011

Rehearsal of Alice:Wonderland. Photographer: Manny Rotenberg. Dancer: Arielle Meads

Woke up today to blasts of Montana winds at the Dude Rancher. Strolled around downtown Billings before I went in to teach company class onstage, then a kids spacing rehearsal and then a run though The Nutcracker with the orchestra.

Actually, I am blogging from my private dressing room (its the laundry room) at the Alberta Bair Theatre. Many of these theatres are not built with the idea that they may need to accommodate large casts. When that happens I often find myself tucked in some nook or cubbyhole to give the rest of the cast room.

Everything went pretty well. The local kids who play the Baby Mice in the production needed some extra coaching. So I spent some time with them. It may not sound like it, but Baby Mice are actually difficult parts that we encourage touring cities NOT to cast. You don't miss them if you don't know they are supposed to be there. They run around the Big Rats and Soldiers in the fight scene. The audience loves them because they are wearing diapers and so tiny, and the little kids all want to play them. But their faces are covered and it can be scary for a 6 or 7 year old (yes, they are LITTLE kids) to be surrounded by smoke. They need to be very smart and extremely well rehearsed or its a safety issue with all the prop swords being swung around the stage. When ever we go to a touring town, my heart always sinks a bit when I hear, "Oh, we cast the Baby Mice." The only thing that can make me more despondent is hearing that they double cast the mice.

Once, we even pre-cast the show in a small town (without Baby Mice) in September and when we showed up in November, the person in charge of the kids told us "Oh by the way, we looked at the video and noticed that there were some Baby Mice, and they were so cute we went ahead and cast them. But they are really nervous."  Aaargh!!!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nov 24 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Scout Forsythe. Normally I don't like blurry photos, but there was something about this that struck me.

We are in Montana! Staying at our home away from home, the Dude Rancher Lodge. The ballet company (and a few hangers on) got on the plane in San Diego this morning bright and early, connected in Denver, and arrived in Billings. I love airports, but I hate flying.

Tonight, we have a company Thanksgiving dinner and hope that everyone gets to bed nice and early for a big rehearsal day tomorrow.

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Nov 23 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Tiffany Koepke. First arabesque. Clarity of movement and line is important in dance. The audience must be able to understand what you are trying to communicate. You can put all of your passion and soul into a dance, but if it is illegible, then it is pointless to put it on a stage.

Tomorrow, we head off for Montana. This morning, I had to cover for one of the instructors at the ballet school who teaches adult classes in the morning. Adult classes are great because they are made up of two different kinds of students. Adults who have been dancing for most of their lives (and want to stay involved) and adults who have always wanted to dance (and just got the nerve to do it). They aren't under the illusion that they are going to be professional dancers. Their motives are more about self-improvement.  So they work differently. And their goals seem to be more "in the moment."

After that I had a rehearsal with the Snow King and Queen. They weren't on Robin's rehearsal schedule today, so they requested I come in and work with them. Usually, rehearsals are set by Robin or myself. However, if a particular dancer (or group of dancers) feels that they would like more rehearsal on a particular piece for a clear reason, I try to work with them. Personally, I could be in a rehearsal room all day long, so for me its just more of a chance to have fun. There are a few exceptions to that rule however :)

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Nov 22 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Tiffany Koepke. In a lovely 4th position.

Cleaned up more of Waltz of the Flowers in anticipation of the show this weekend. Have to do some interviews for the show in San Diego. The questions always sort of hit the same note. "How do you keep The Nutcracker "fresh" year after year?" I wonder if they ask the people in Lion King the same thing? After all, in one year of a Broadway run they probably do the show more than we do in 12 years.

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Nov 21 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Arielle Meads

At yesterday's Nutcracker rehearsal I had some time to clean up rat and soldier choreography. Rehearsal is mainly made up of three different things. Discovery, which is the fun part. That includes the teaching of the existing choreography to the dancers or the creation of new choreography. Fixing problems. Which is either working with the dancers to execute the steps correctly or re-adjusting the movement for the dancers or re-choreographing it. And Repetition. Drilling the thing over and over again until it is in the dancer's muscle memory. The LAST thing you want is a group of people onstage who are trying to remember what comes next.

I also readjusted the end of the Snow pas de deux. The pas ends with a sequence of tricky lifts. Depending on the Snow King and Queen sometimes it takes a few tries at it to see which sequence works best for this particular couple. I think we found our answer. Of course, it took the Snow King tossing the Snow Queen into the air about 50 times to figure it out, but thats life in the rehearsal hall, :)

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Nov 20 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Lyndon Dou. I love the energy of this shot. Lyndon is actually a very restrained guy, so its nice to see him having fun.

But we are deep in Nutcracker-land right now. Sunday is the big kid rehearsal day. We have about 100 of them running through the studio today. Running through Act Two upstairs right now. Act One later. Ending with the fight scene. Today we also need to finalize casting on some of the kid's parts.

Some of the dancers have been allowed to understudy and learn parts that may be a bit of a challenge to them. Today we find out whether they have risen to the challenge and be allowed to perform or whether they need to wait another year. While it is tempting to make someone's holiday wish come true, we also have a responsibility to our audiences to put the best show possible forward. And that comes first.

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Nov 19 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Lyndon Dou. Bunnies!

Had to get my suitcase ready and packed to go on the truck ahead of us for tour. It leaves tomorrow morning. We leave on Thursday. Right now its snowing in Billings.

More Nutcracker rehearsals today. Variations. Flowers. Snowflakes. etc.

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Nov 18 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Arielle Meads. I like this image because it very much reminds me of the Classic Alice drawings by John Tenniel. There is something a bit rough around the edges and slightly decadent about this Alice.

Got the big grant off today. Huzzah! Included images form the America's Finest City... Dances! campaign to give it a bit more "pop." Then went off to Grossmont College to teach a couple of ballet master classes. It was nice. The students were all very focused and willing to stretch themselves. Thats always nice. This time next week, we will be doing our first Nutcracker of the season in Montana!

I also got news today that the Trailer Park Musical is being extended. Congrats to the denizens of Armadillo Acres!

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Nov 17 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist.

Off to put the finishing touches on the OSP Grant for the Commission for Arts and Culture today. Its due tomorrow, so I am actually ahead of schedule. The company dancers are off to do a "freebee" this morning. Sometimes we do free shows for charitable groups. Today, they are performing for the Thursday Club.

Thats about it. Tonight will be attending a 50th birthday party for my pal, Candye Kane. The show I wrote about her life will be back at Moxie Theater in January!

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Nov 16 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist & Matt Carney. So here is Rachel dancing as Dinah the cat surrounded by her "butterfly" guys. Ever since I was a teenager, I have loved the whole Japanese conceit of stage crew that the audience just "accepts" isn't there. They pop into my ballets and shows whenever I need them.

More grantwriting today! Then teaching a class at SDB.

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Nov 15 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Alice:Wonderland. Photographer:Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. So much story in just a leg, a foot, and a boa :)

More grant writing today. Also, off to Florence Elementary School to teach an after school program. Its a good group this year. Very focused and a good energy. But most importantly, have to go pick up the payroll. Sometimes its all about the bottom line.

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Nov 14 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Suite Italienne. Photographer: Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Tiffany Koepke & Noriko Zarogoza. You can clearly see that this is a rehearsal shot as the backdrop for Alice:Wonderland is hanging in the back. The backdrops were created by students from the Creative and Performing Arts in Chula Vista and are filled with cartoony/anime versions of Wonderland characters. Believe it or not, I am pretty sure that the menacing pink monster is supposed to be the Doormouse at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

The dancers are off today. We have a big grant due on Friday. Later in the day, I'll go in to start working on it. That will be pretty much my life for the week. Grantwriting :(

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Nov 13 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Suite Italienne. Photographer: Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Tiffany Koepke & Zoe Marinello - Cohn. This particular movement (the minuet) was the last that was conceptually figured out. It almost didn't get used. Its a lovely piece of music, but it just didn't seem to fit within the structure of the ballet. I ended up using it the same way that you might use a palate cleanser in a meal. A little bit of sorbet before the big dessert (finale).

Another light day at SDB for me. I had to go in and remember my staging for playing Herr Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker and then crank out 2 1/2 casts of fight scene rehearsal.

The fight scene is probably the most complicated section of the ballet in that it utilizes very small children... mixed in with older kids... and professional dancers. One Rat King. A Rat Queen. 2 Rats with guns. 6 rats with Sabers. 3 Junior Rats. 3 Baby Rats. 6 Junior Soldiers. 10 Senior Soldiers. 2 mounted Cavalry buglers. Clara. The Prince. Herr Drosselmeyer... and a ton of smoke. All of the groups have their own track. All are running around furiously. Half of them have masks. And the other half have toy guns. And its all over in less than 3 minutes.

A recipe for disaster, if not taken slowly and carefully.

It helps if you have a loud voice :)

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Nov 12 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Suite Italienne. Photographer Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Stephanie Maiorano and Max Tchernychev.

Ah well, today was a short day. Just a couple of hours of rehearsal on the Spanish, Arabian, and Chinese variations. Robin (my co-director) will be rehearsing the end of the first Act.

The Trailer park musical opened last night at the Rep to enthusiastic audience response. One more checked off the list.

I mentioned a grant yesterday. I was awarded $20,000 by the San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst Fund. It is a new initiative that funds individual artists to move to the next stage of their development. My proposal was to take a dance piece that had been performed by SDB and to turn it into a musical by commissioning a new score. I'll be giving my ongoing reports via this blog from now until next September. So stay tuned !

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Nov 11 2011

Rehearsal for SDB's Suite Italienne. Photographer: Manny Rotenburg. Dancer: Arielle Meads. Looking just like a mechanical doll. :)

Ah, so happy for this day to be here. The Great American Trailer Park Musical opens tonight at the Rep, so that means I just have to worry about The Nutcracker for the next month. Well, that and the miscellaneous after school dance programs and master classes I also have on the plate.

We had a very nice forum last night before the preview. A discussion between myself and 4 other local directors (Sam Woodhouse, Sean Murray, James Vasquez, and Todd Salovey). All about directing musicals. It was also good because lately a few people have been confusing me with James, I guess because we share the same initials and are latin. So people got to see that we actually ARE two separate people.

I also got some exciting news about a grant I wrote, but I'll talk more about that tomorrow. right now I need to wash some clothes for tonight's opening and hope that something will actually fit me. :) Ah well, starting tomorrow its time for the yogurt diet. Thank God for Lemon Chobani.

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Nov 10 2011

Rehearsal for San Diego Ballet's Suite Italienne. Photo: Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Scout Forsythe, Leah Nepomunceno, Mariko Domyo, Arielle Meads.

Ballet dancers always have a look of indeterminate age about them. The dancers in the photo range from 15 to 21, but you would be hard pressed to pick out who is who.

So yesterday we had a lovely event at Wine Steals, a sort of "Meet and Greet" or "Friendraiser", that's all development department lingo. Afterwards, I zipped off to see the end of a preview for the Trailer Park musical I choreographed at the Rep. Its in pretty good shape, if I say so myself, but will be happy when it has opened tomorrow.

Today was a fun day. Just rehearsals with the dancers for The Nutcracker, so we got to talk about how the Spanish dancers are really Chocolate Gypsies and the Reed Flutes have big smiles because they know that the stage is going to be covered with a bunch of 6 year old sheep and that there is a difference in the port de bras between the sugar coated flowers in Act Two and the light, airy snowflakes of Act One.

Onward in to the Holiday Season!

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Nov 9 2011

If you are here you came for ballet (or musical theatre) insight. SO I will make sure to post a nice pic everyday. Technical rehearsal for San Diego Ballet's Suite Italienne. Photographer: Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Caitlyn Sullivan, Stephanie Maiorano, Max Tchernychev

On with my life. Well started the morning with a meeting on Social Media with SDB's Social Media Director. I got to learn all about the difference between a Facebook Friend page and a Facebook Fan page, all of which I quickly forgot. Well, thats why we hired a social media specialist.

Now have a Nutcracker rehearsal to run, followed by a quick jaunt over to the San Diego Rep to re-stage a number in The Great American Trailer Park musical, which opens on Friday, then back to SDSB to teach a class and then off to a wine tasting fundraiser (I don't drink) for the ballet and then back to the Rep to catch the tail end of the GATP preview and notes.

Busy, busy. Tomorrow, I will perhaps comment on what happened today :)

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I'm back

Hello Neglected Blog.
I have returned and will be posting daily from this day forth.