Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancer: Maxim Tchernychev. After being kicked out of the wealthy man's house, our hero hits the road. You will notice a small crucifix hanging around his neck. The maid servant in the pervious scene gave it to him  as she helped him escape.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancer: Elana Lewis. Finding himself a bit hungry, he becomaes aware that he is not the only traveler on the road.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancer: Maxim Tchernychev & Elana Lewis. And uses his natural charms to better his situation.

Daily Stuff: Today was a day filled with birds for some reason. Took my friend Dea Hurston out to lunch. She was regaling me with a lush banquet she had been to, so we decided to go to some place different... the Chicken Pie Shop. She had never been, and as it is a San Diego fixture I thought it my duty to introduce her to it. She had the Pie Dinner. I had the Hot Turkey sandwich with a gravy that can only be described as "blonde."

Ran into Spencer Smith who is going to be assisting me on In The Heights while we were there. Never figured him as Chicken Pie Shop guy. Can't tell if that increases or decreases someone's coolness factor.

Then dropped by the Centro Cultural De La Raza to see an exhibition of paintings based on Loteria. it was a nice show with various artists showing. So more birds. El Pajaro. El Gallo. El Cotorro. LA Garza.

Dropped by the ballet company to look at 5 audition videos. Have already been through about 10. And then wrote a county grant.

Lastly, I went to Diversionary Theatre to see their production of Birds of A Feather. The show is about the two gay penguins who raised a chick and also about Pale Male, the hawk that built a nest on a highrise in Manhattan. Nice show with many of my actor friends in it.

Busy day.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancer: Stephanie Maiorano. During the ballet, the Don keeps seeing the same woman in many guises. Kind of like Dulcinea in Don Quixote. In the first sequence, it's just a small appearance as a chambermaid. But she does help him out when the lord of the house comes in and catches him in a tryst. Here Stephanie is very calm, but the other characters are actually running through the audience right now in a very Keystone Cops kind of way.

Daily Stuff: 2nd In the Heights audition today. It was for local ensemble members, so I actually gave a difficult combination. It was a mixture of dance steps from different parts of the show and it was FAST. But a few people actually seemed to get the hang of it. :)

Afterwards, went to teach my adult class at SDSB. We took some time to break down some techniques tonight. 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. It took me a while to find chairs that would be sturdy enough. For this sequence.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Arielle Meads, Maxim Tchernychev & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. At the end of which, we have a somewhat complicated situation.

Daily Stuff: Taught at Florence Elementary School today. Taught Pas de Bouree. It was a bit tricky but 4 of the kids got it. Which means that by next week, 8 should have it, and then everyone the week after. There is often an expectation when something is taught that EVERYONE must get the concept right away. It doesn't always happen like that. Sometimes you need to let them take it away and work o it themselves.

Then went to the first callback for In The Heights at the Rep. Nice group of actors, mainly from Los Angeles but some San Diegans sprinkled in. Tomorrow, there will be more. Auditions ran over so we did a VERY brief dance call.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Arielle Meads &  Maxim Tchernychev. More of the pas de deux between the Don and the young daughter. What is it about chairs that makes them so fun to dance on?
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Arielle Meads & Maxim Tchernychev. And we finish in a somewhat questionable position for the mother to come back in and observe.

Daily Stuff: Went in and worked a bit on schedule. While I was in the office a woman came in to check out the building, she owns a dance school in Cheyenne, Wyo. and is looking to maybe convert a school building. Since Dance Place is housed in the old School Building at the NTC, she thought she might get some pointers. I gave her a tour and perhaps it may end up being a nice contact for the ballet company as we tour in the winter.

Afterwards I attended an Inner Circle event for the San Diego Rep. Was introduced as the choreographer for the upcoming In The Heights. Got some great news. Their new rehearsal hall is literally 5 minutes away from my house. Will make this summer very easy for me.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Arielle Meads & Maxim Tchernychev. After the Don dances with the lady of the house they are interrupted by the arrival of her daughter.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Arielle Meads & Maxim Tchernychev. With whom he also dances, when they are alone. She also is a bit of a dominating force. One of my favorite moments is when she instructs him to get on all fours and she rides him like a pony. It can either be seen a child's dominant fantasy or as a kinky allusion to the famous scene in La Dolce Vita. Either way, its a nice way for the Don to put his foot down and let his little mistress know that there is only so much a man will take.

Daily Stuff: Day off. Watched the Oscars. They were ok. It amazed me that in a year where the theme was honoring the music of film, that the actual sound mixing of the show was so bad. Also they started with the right idea (using film stars like Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron as performers) but then they lost steam.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. Musically this section was always a bit free. Very set movement wise, but that movement was just sort of layered on top of the music.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. But Max and Rachel always managed to get the final movements in on the last musical sequence.

Daily Stuff: Judged at a Young Choreographer's Competition today. While I was happy to see everyone's efforts, I was a little disappointed. There didn't seem to be much attention paid to phrasing or dynamics within movement phrases. Most of the dances had a sameness about them, rather than any sense of growth.

Just didn't feel as if I was being taken on a journey.

Oh well.


Friday, February 22, 2013

February 22 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. Here is where we see a bit of the core of this Don Juan. M Don Juan is not a predator. He is just naturally attractive to women. he rarely makes the first move. Now that doesn't make him an innocent.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. He does take advantage of the situations he gets into. But things rarely turn out well for him. In the end, it asks the question, as humans do we just follow where our nature leads us, or do we make decisions as to when we should or should not go along with our nature. Both Rachel and Max were great when it came to setting this section. No egos.

Daily Stuff: This morning I attended an assembly at the San Diego SCPA for a production of In The Heights that is being done in conjunction with the SD Rep. Very nice to see some of the young actors and dancers, not just from Zoot Suit, but Tommy and Hairspray as well.

It was good to start wrapping my head around the show and what I want to do with it.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Arielle Meads, Matt Carney, Maxim Tchernychev, Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. A family shot with Don Juan in the background.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Arielle Meads, Matt Carney, & Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. Rachel is just starting to lift her leg in arabesque. This was a particularly nice moment in the first dance.

Daily Stuff: Morning meeting to discuss a grant. Thats it for today. Time for early spring cleaning.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancer: Matt Carney. The first sequence in Don Juan began in a "happy household."
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancer: Rachel Sebastian-Hagquist. We meet a studious husband and his devoted wife and daughter.
Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancer: Arielle Meads. I wanted to make sure to set up a very intellectual, devout familial setting for Don Juan to disrupt.

Daily Stuff: Had a meeting with a company dancer this morning. Nothing serious, more of a discussion of future opportunities. 
Then went to Balboa Park for a site visit at the Timken Museum for an event we will be appearing at next week.
Afterwards had a meeting at the Old Globe but times got crossed, so I had to kill two hours in the Park. Poor me! Killing time in paradise. Had a picnic and went to the Museum of the Living Artist. Strolled by the big pond. Then had a nice meeting.
Taught my adult class at SDSB tonight. One of the students posted how many calories were lost during class on Facebook. Evidently he was wearing one of those calorie counters during class :)

So sad to have heard that Matt Mattox died yesterday. Such a joy to see on the screen.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev, Joseph Hochschild, Stephanie Maiorano, and Christopher Jovilar. This is a section from the start of the piece. Imagine it under extremely moody lighting with a large sign in the background. As the show starts, Don Juan circles the stage and then is met by a woman and two assistants who pull out a variety of props to be used later. She takes his cloak and they both morph into household servants. The play begins.

Because of the "range-y-ness" of the story, I felt it was necessary to create a construction that would allow us to travel from place to place quickly. Truth be told, I am also more comfortable in this sort of staging.

Also because of the intimacy of the Lyceum stage, it is much better to allow the audience to see the show "as a show" rather than to try to really pretend we are in Old Spain. Since the stage is in a thrust configuration and the audience is always aware of itself, it just doesn't quite work.

Daily Stuff: Came in to the office today and did a bit of work. Also taught at Florence Elementary. Rain Day, so I was in a smaller room. But that was fine. Started giving movement for their dances at the end of the year. So we now have the beginnings of a polka, a jazz dance, and a ballet dance.


Monday, February 18, 2013

February 17 & 18, 2013

Don Juan in Tech Rehearsal February 2013. Photo: Manuel Rotenberg. Dancers: Maxim Tchernychev & Stephanie Maiorano. One of the more impassioned moments for  the Gypsy pas de deux in Act One.

Daily Stuff: Final performance of Don Juan yesterday. Taught company class onstage. Then had to get the backstage ready. Oh, yes, I am stage managing this time around. So had to make sure all the props were in place and the cues were called at the right time. Everyone danced nicely. Thank you dancers. Very nice response form the audience during the show and afterwards.

The company hosted a group of Fullbright scholars, who all had great questions about the creative process. Also had a very nice woman, who was a transplanted New Yorker, comment about how she loved the intimacy of the show and setting. She and her mom enjoyed the show and her mom (who is into astrology) wanted to know what my sign was. For anyone interested, I'm a Cancer.

Thanks to all my friends who came out on the last night. Raul. Doug. Julie & Christine. Sue & Candye. And friends who came before. Holly. Dea. The SDSB parents and students who attended, and anyone I have forgotten.

Also thanks to Greg for coming out from Denver to help backstage.

Manny for the lovely rehearsal pics, which you will start to see on the blog.

Robin and Karen for keeping the company going. And our board members.

Today (the 18th) is a day off, which I will take gladly.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

February 16 2013

My nice Don Juan backdrop. Very art-y.

Daily Stuff: Late day today. Show in the evening. Not much to report. It went smoothly. Well received by the audience. This audience got the jokes a bit more, but both houses have been great!


Friday, February 15, 2013

February 15 2013

Still in Don Juan-land. As You Wish. in the history of kisses...

Daily Stuff: Taught class today. Then we filmed the ballet with students from SDSU.  6 cameras. Very nice. Panning, etc.  I was able to watch the ballet from the front. It looks very nice with the backdrop.

Afterwards went back to the studio and taught a ballet class to a group of young dancers who came to see the show last night. They are a dance team from out of the state. Some had never had a ballet class before. But all were very focused. Much learning occurred. :)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14 2013

V-day is here! Clark/Rhett and Vivian/Scarlett, if you don't know the movie, then I have no words.

Daily Stuff: Opening of Don Juan tonight. So this morning, I had to make a pouch for Don Juan for the basket scene. I ended up making a no-sew pouch out of tan felt. Very crafty.
Then I had to work on the baskets for the fruit vendors. Hot glue, fake fruit, and gingham. More Craftyness.
Then outlined my shark and dolphin. Yea Sharpie!
And also had to go over the light cues with my lighting designer. I managed to get the number of the cues, but had to write my actual cue sheets during the show.
We also had sight line issues. So at the last moment, we put up some temporary masking.
But it all seemed to go fairly smoothly.

Huzzah! Tomorrow, we film it.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan. Ah, the Merchant Ivory film that brought back romance, Room With A View. Julian Sands and Helena Bonham-Carter's back. I didn't get out in the countryside when I visited Florence this summer, but then again I didn't have a line suit and straw hat either.

Daily Stuff: Dress rehearsal at the theatre. Still painting the backdrop and props. Got all the costumes there. Some parts look very nice already. We are a little behind with the lights, so we won't actually see it until we see it on opening. Just have to fix some baskets and get a pouch made (or bought).


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 12 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan. Cary and Ingrid in a publicity shot for, I think, Notorious.

Daily Stuff: Ran through the ballet for spacing today. All things went smoothly. Added a few props and costumes. Still hunting for more of what I need.


Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan. Don Juan had nothing on Sean Connery as James Bond with Daniella Bianchi in From Russia With Love.

Daily Stuff: Day Off. So I painted a backdrop with Julie Warren. Very symbolic. I like it. Into the theatre tomorrow.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan. Kim Novack and William Holden (or as Lucy would say "Dreamy Bill Holden) in Picnic. Hopefully, Don Juan will achieve the same level of steaminess.

Daily Stuff: Ran through Don Juan. Good thing I used the show cd's. One number was out of order but everything else was fine. Tried the peasant costumes on the dancers. They will work fine. Very light and gauzy.

A LOT to do tomorrow, but it will be fine.


Saturday, February 09, 2013

February 9 2013

Countdown to Valentines' Day and Don Juan. Antonio Canova's Cupid and Psyche. Sculpture can sometimes be useful in creating references in choreography. In this case, Psyche's left arm's relation to Cupid's head is one I use often.

Daily Stuff: Worked on Act Three with the guys who can't come in during the week.  Then went to costume storage and started puling costumes. Grabbed some stuff to launder and then went out for a delightful dinner with friends (who were also delivering some muslin to me for a back drop.


Friday, February 08, 2013

February 8 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan. Rodin's The Kiss. Never noticed until nw, she seems much more active and tense than he does.

Daily Stuff: Finished all of the movement for everyone today except Don Juan himself. Just have to set a short solo for him at the end and give him his entrance at the top and I will be completely finished. Yea me! Just in time for the run thru on Sunday.

It's actually fairly true to what I had intended, even though it is quite different :)


Thursday, February 07, 2013

February 7 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan. La Liz and Monty in A Place in the Sun. Oh, the curse of being too beautiful.

Daily Stuff: Reviewed Act Three. Staged more of the Don's last reverie. Just have about a minute left of group movement. Then we just need to set two minutes at the beginning and two minutes at the end that are mainly acting. Should be able to do that tomorrow.

Met with an artist regarding the Creative Catalyst program. He just wanted some advice/information on the program. Was happy to be of service.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

February 6 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan. Rodin's Eternal Spring.

Daily Stuff: Went in today to teach. There was a mix-up and Max was there as well, so I let him do the class and I worked in the office.

In rehearsal, we worked more on Act Three. Worked Max more into the two wedding dances. Worked the rest of the dancer's into the Celebratory dance as well. I like the way it is going to work with the two layers of interest upstage and downstage.

Then I started working on the last sequence in the Act. The wedding itself was set fairly quickly. Nice and dramatic. That is followed by a simple round dance that Max can observe and feel left out of. Then the women from his Dream come back to haunt him, followed by his visualizing of the young couple. All very interior and romantic. Began the final pas de deux for the young couple. Put in a very nice sustained lift. I usually shy away from them but in this case it works beautifully.

Taught my adult class in the evening. Very nice turnout.


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

February 5 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day and Don Juan Opening. You Must Remember This...

Daily Stuff: Staged the Opening of Act Three today. Also worked Max (and some additional girls) into the Peasant dance. Got the cast involved as the "audience" to the little Celebratory Dance and did one of my favorite upstage/downstage opposing action things in the scene. While the Celebratory Dancers circle the stage, Max and Stephanie have a sort of Cat and Mouse thing going on downstage. Should be able to start on the final sequence of Act Three tomorrow, which encapsulates the actual wedding and Don Juan's interior monologue.

Then went to teach at Florence Elementary School. Was a pretty good class, but I did have to do a little bit of reality checking with one of the students. She just wasn't focusing or applying herself, so I had her sit out of class. Afterwards, I told her that she needed to think about whether or not she really wanted to be in the class. I don't like being the bad guy, but I also can't have students in the class who are keeping the others from succeeding by distracting them.


Monday, February 04, 2013

February 4 2013

Da Vinci's Leda and the Swan. The greek God of the Heavens, Zeus, came to Leda in the guise of a swan. For some reason, rather than romance mortals as their tall, blonde, perfect selves, they had their amorous encounters as in disguise as bulls, swans, rainclouds, etc. Anyhow, romance doesn't always make sense.

Daily stuff: Day off. Went to the San Diego Foundation and spoke to artists who are applying for the Creative Catalyst Fellowship next year. As I was a recipient last year and the Ballet is a sponsoring organization, they asked me to come in to give some insight.


Sunday, February 03, 2013

February 3 2012

Another famous kiss, as we countdown toward Valentine's Day. We had a big brouhaha in San Diego over a giant sized version of this that sat next to the Midway Carrier Museum. In the end, it is being replaced by a bronze version. Although the statue was kitschy, I rather liked the way it dwarfed the Midway. Rather than having a giant warship as the center of your focus, you had a giant human expression. Whether it was in high aesthetic taste or not.

Daily Stuff: Sunday is here. Taught company class. And Ran through everything we know. Had a few absences in the cast today, but it was important to run through for Max's sake. I am pretty sure that I should be able to finish everything, except for the very, very beginning and the very, very end on Tuesday.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

February 2 2013

As we count down to the premiere of Don Juan on Valentine's Day, I thought it would be nice to post some memorable couples (and kisses). First up, Burt and Deborah in from Here to Eternity. He is having an affair with the wife of his commanding officer. Note how it adds to intent. That and the fact that these two have just been engulfed by a particularly cinematic wave. I rather like the fact that Ms. Kerr is in the dominant position. It reminds me of our Don Juan, where (more often than not) our hero is not the instigator. Anyway, since Burt used to be a gymnast, it was nice that he always pointed his toes when the camera was on.

Daily Stuff: My leading man was out sick today, but we still soldiered on. There is akways something to clean and set. Worked on the Ocean Voyage, the Family Scene and the Peasant Wedding. Progress was made on all.


Friday, February 01, 2013

February 1 2013

Byron as Don Juan.

Daily Stuff: Cleaned Don Juan and worked more on the Peasant Wedding.Then worked on the Celebratory dancers. I am pretty sure I have figured out the cut in that piece, so if all goes well this weekend, I should have both of those pieces done by Tuesday. Which should give me Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to finish the Act.

Tonight, we had a little Sneak Preview of the show at First Friday at Liberty Station. Nice audience. Stephanie and Max performed the Gypsy pas de deux from the end of Act One. Good response. The students of SDSB did a great job during the first part of the presentation.