Saturday, April 19, 2008

"One More Time!"

Why'd it have to end? I know, I know, but Slaughter was so fun to watch! Plus, there are so many details going on in that ballet that you'd have to see it several times over in order to appreciate them all. Each one of the couples in the bar has their own thing going on while the Striptease Girl and the Hoofer are tearing it up in the middle of it all. And then there are the bartenders... I think a piece like Slaughter on 10th Avenue is so much fun for the dancers that they go that much further make their characters larger than life, so they really do read to us. I was enjoying watching Jon Drake do his mad tap number so much that I really didn't want him to have to end! (And it drove me nuts to have to sit still.... )

But Slaughter is hardly the only ballet worth watching over and over again on this program. All three pieces are so full of detail and almost-hidden choreographic and stylistic elements. Through Eden's Gates is very familiar to me, of course, since Kent created it on us only a little over a year ago, but when I was dancing in it I was always so preoccupied with my own role in the ballet that I regretted missing out on a lot of the other segments in it. That's the downside of being IN the piece-- you never get to see it as a whole, as the audience does and as it was designed to be seen. This is the first time I've seen the ballet from the front, so I'd never realized how crafty the opening and finale group sections are. You can literally see the layers of movement phrases folding in and out of each other, accentuated by the starkly different costumes everyone has.

The last time OBT did Just, back in 2006, I remember gawking in awe at my friends turning themselves into human dynamos doing this incredibly strenuous, and stretchy, movement right in front of us. It is so clear that they are figuratively putting themselves on the very edge of what they previously thought possible. But I never did see that ballet from the front, either, and so never fully got the beauty of the women's duet. I thought it was really touching last night, so sensitive and seeming to illustrate the wonderful friendship that I know Alison and Anne have.

The whole evening was inspiring to see. I hope the audience's enthusiasm was felt by my pals up there on stage. It was a sold out house, which is always fun to witness from either side of the footlights. I was struck by this weird thought right before the curtain went up, as Jon and Christopher were making their little pre-curtain thanks-and-come-again speech: the "theatricality of the theater" is something that, when you really think about it, must be another of the defining traits of us humans. How did this all start? Re-enacting the glories of the buffalo hunt? And now I'm making a living as a ballet dancer? This is so bizarre. But who cares? Lucky me! Lucky us!

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