Friday, September 24, 2010

Commencements and Recurrences

Wait what? It's September 23rd? No... It can't be. Seriously?! Where did the time go?

It's hard to believe that tomorrow marks the opening of PNB's 2010-2011 (O-ten, O-eleven as I like to call it) season. I don't know about you but it feels like summer didn't happen... Like I somehow missed it.
Summer, where did you go? Oh that's right... you went to Vail, CO for the Vail International Dance Festival. You were chalk-full of learning new ballets and revisiting old ones. Some of these we won't be performing till March, and some you will see tomorrow if you're fortunate enough to catch our opening night. Maybe you even caught a glimpse of it tonight at dress rehearsal. If you did, you were lucky indeed!

Director's Choice is definitely a choice Rep. Think Grade A grass-fed fillet mignon. Yes, folks it's that good. (Not sure what the vegetarian equivalent would be... someone want to help me out here?)
And it too is full of chalk, wigs, foils, black dresses and bright unitards - just to name a few. Believe me the list could go on... You'll see some things old, and some things new; some borrowed costumes and a little bit of blue. And the "things new" I think you'll love. I sure do.
Much like Petite Mort, Sechs Tänze, the newest Jiri Kylian ballet added to PNB's repetoire, is set to the beautiful music of Mozart, and boy is it ever musical! The choreography matches the score perfectly, with its very precise, and intricate motions punctuating this piece. There are commas, question marks, ellipsis', and exclamation points in the form of backward soutenus, shoulder shrugs, awkward glances and pelvic thrusts. Watch it and you'll see what I mean. I don't want to ruin it for you, but just be prepared to LOL - yes, it's okay to do this at the ballet... no one will sneer and give you the stink eye. At least I hope not!
As I sat in the audience tonight watching my co-workers dance their hearts out in both Sechs Tänze and Petite Mort there were times when I had to remind myself to breathe. I was utterly enthralled and the little bunhead inside of me was screaming, "Ooooh! Someday I want to dance that!" And I hope someday I will. I wonder if your reaction will be the same.
But dance I did. Dance I do - in what I can only describe as a ballet that epitomizes the dancer's dance. It's 80's ballet and I love it. It's Jerome Robbins' Glass Pieces.
Set to the minimalist music of composer Philip Glass, you can't help but tap your foot, nod your head or "insert twitch of choice" to the pulsing beat of this music that propels this ballet forward - or should I say back to a time when sweatbands, spandex and step-aerobics were all the rage. And spandex you will see... well, I guess technically it's lycra, but you get the picture. Let's just say these costumes are utterly unforgiving. Designed to resemble a dancer's practice clothes, I don't know anyone these days who'd actually wear what we wear in the studio... But I suppose it could be worse. The first movement of this ballet is supposed to resemble Grand Central Station at rush hour. With a mob of dancers walking from wing to wing, unitard-clad soloists fearlessly leap and bound through the crowd, almost like those sidewalk prophets screaming amid the clamor of the busy NYC streets proclaiming the message of dance, the beauty of ballet.
The third movement belongs to the corps. It's energetic. It's exhilarating. It's heart pounding so hard you think you might throw-up. But let me tell you it's oh-so rewarding. So much so that you forget about the lycra. You forget about everything else and you let your body eat up that grey Marley floor. You feed off the energy of those around you and you dance. It's amazing.
But the second movement... All I can say is "Wowza!" This is the principal's movement. I wish I could tell you a little more about it, but to be honest I've only caught glimpses of it. You see I'm in the unending train of corps women that hypnotically chug along the back of the stage in silhouette. A mixture of walking, side-stepping, rocking and pliéing this part oddly requires quite a bit of concentration, and a flexible left calf. Mine has not been so amenable.
So with the commencement of a new season I find not only recurrences in ballet's we've previously performed (Petite Mort and Jardí Tancat), but also ice-baths. Yes. They've returned. And we still love to hate each other. But deep down, I think ice-baths and I are coming to have a mutual regard for each other. There exists an understanding between us: I commit to the relationship, and ice-baths let me dance. Not a bad trade off, considering the dancing we get to do in this Rep is pretty awesome.

Some water with my ice? Yes please!

Benik toe caps are an absolutely essential part of any ice-bath... that is unless you're icing your toes. Then, well, sucks for you.

This is the face of "Ouch!"
So I know you must be asking yourself, "Where can I buy tickets to see these amazing ballets?" Well right here! And if you're on the fence I hope this blog post has pushed you over. I mean all this pain I put myself through is for you. Okay, well not exactly but you get my drift... :)
Just come... I promise you won't regret it!

3 comments:

Sara said...

Totally want to take mama to the ballet this season. What do your recommend? Of course, we want to come to see you! Love you dear!

Lindsay Baumgartner said...

You are so darn cute!! I just love you to pieces!! How did I ever get so lucky to have you for my niece?!! What a beautiful, strong, articulate, and faithful human being you have grown into. Love you my dear!!

Jessika Anspach said...

Lindsay you're making me cry! How did I ever get such a wonderful aunty? You are such an inspiration to me and such a blessing in my life. Words cannot describe... I love you too!!!!!
And Sara we have a lot of great stuff this season... Honestly I would bring her to Cinderella... it was and still is one of my favorite story ballets (second to Swan Lake). But really it's all great!