Rehearsal for Don Juan. Photo by Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Members of the San Diego Ballet. So for our Fundraiser in March, we did a sneak peek of a ballet we are preparing for next season, Don Juan. Now, anything can be the spark for creating a new ballet from music to a story to a specific dancer to a particular shade of red on a ketchup bottle. In this case, we have an excellent mature male dancer with the company. Full length ballets are generally based around female dancers (Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, etc), so the idea of creating something around a guy was intriguing.
Rehearsal for Don Juan. Photo by Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Members of the San Diego Ballet. So trying to find a good archetype, I decided on the sort of swashbuckling lover. In the end, I was caught between Casanova and Don Juan. Both characters would allow for plenty of nice pas de deux with a variety of girls, which would serve the company well. The problem with both characters was that unfortunately, the linear story lines didn't work well. There is basically no Casanova story and the Don Juan story, dealt with too many characters that were either uninteresting to develop dance-wise (father in laws and such) or necessitated elaborate stage craft (statues coming to life and the mouth of Hell opening up and swallowing the character).
Rehearsal for Don Juan. Photo by Manny Rotenburg. Dancers: Members of the San Diego Ballet. In the end, two contributing factors made the decision. The first was coming across Lord Byron's satyric poem, Don Juan. The unfinished work pretty much just has the title character jump from exploit to exploit, running into slave traders, sultans, mothers, daughters, duchesses dressed as friars, etc. That gave me the freedom to just come up with as many fun scenarios as possible with the title character just sort of stumbling from one to the other.
The second contributing factor was finding some music that I could make work in a cohesive fashion. With Casanova, I had found some very pleasant Rossini pieces, but they weren't making sense to me as a whole. Last year, I had choreographed a piece to classical Spanish guitar. I went back to that and managed to find a treasure trove of danceable music by the same composer.
So in the following entries, you will see our first choreographic sketches for Don Juan. This section is entitled "Don Juan and the Gypsies" and takes place in the middle of the First Act. For the most part, the dancers are wearing costumes from our production of Shakespeare's Sonnets, as the needed something to wear at the fundraiser.
Daily Stuff - Watched a couple of auditioners take class today and worked in the office.
Labels: ballet, Don Juan, San DIego Ballet