Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What a couple of days it's been!

I apologize for how long it's taken me to write another blog, but when we start performing I sort of unintentionally go into hiding from anything but ballet and the people I dance with. I guess it just helps me stay focused. So, let me catch you all up to speed.

Last Thursday and Friday Portland hosted 4 major West Coast ballet companies, Oregon Ballet Theatre (go team!), Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Eugene Ballet, for it's "4x4: The Ballet Project" show. It was so much fun! It's always wonderful and exciting to meet new people from different companies, and see some familiar faces as well.

For those of you who don't know, the ballet world is infinitely small. It turns out someone who I went to a summer program with in 2002, now dances with Eugene Ballet. I'm pretty sure almost every person in every company attending has a similar story. Every time people from different companies get together, we discover that we're connected in more ways than we realized. It's really a lot of fun.

Anyway, back to the shows. Eugene Ballet presented a piece called "Still Falls the Rain" choreographed by their Artistic Director Toni Pimble. It was a piece I had seen a year before and every time I see it, I like it more. There's a lot going on and some subtle stuff that without repeat viewings is easy to miss. We, OBT, performed Christopher Wheeldon's "RUSH", the piece we'll be dancing at the Kennedy Center in June. I think we made a very strong showing, and I enjoyed performing the ballet more than I was expecting to, so that was a pleasant surprise. San Francisco Ballet brought "Concerto Grosso" by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson (we have performed his Twilight and Blue Rose here). I'm still trying to wrap my head around the amazing male dancing I saw in that ballet. I saw it a total of 3 times, and every time I had to grab the person next to me about every 10 seconds, because what I was so was incredible. To finish off the evening, Pacific Northwest Ballet performed "Shindig" by one of their Principal Dancers, Olivier Wevers. It was a cute little ballet with some pretty exciting dancing (especially in the final solo danced by Carrie Imler, one of my all time favorite dancers).

So, after 2 days off, Monday was back to work as usual. Yuri Possokhov is now in town to start Raymonda. We had a rehearsal for the dance for 4 men yesterday (which was the first variation I ever learned the first time I went away to a summer program... I still remembered it!). Following that was a short Rubies rehearsal for the men (a lot of the 3rd movement has to be taught to the men and women separately because we do such different choreography). Since I was done early, Adrian and I decided to watch a movie. He had "Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer" from netflix, so that we watched that, then I cleaned my apartment.

While cleaning I checked the rehearsal schedule online (it hadn't been up yet when I left after rehearsal) and I got a huge shock. I'm called to the rehearsal for the Rubies Principals! I'm not sure who I'll be partnering yet (either Yuka, Kathi, or Ansa), but as I've talked about before, this ballet is one of my favorites and just learning the corps has made me think a lot about how far I've come, how I've grown, and how much more growing there still is to do. So, learning Principal is kind of like, the cherry, on top of the icing, on top of the cake for me.

Well, I must be off to work, but I thought I'd leave you with a bit about an interesting ballet tradition. Some of you may know that before a show, for good luck, actors will tell each other to "break a leg", but for ballet dancers, we say "merde". That's right, our good luck saying is a French swear word. If you don't know which one it is, I'm not telling you... I'll just say it's not the worst word, but not the best word either. Along with the tradition of "merde" comes the giving of a "merde gift" to whoever you're dancing with (or as I like to call it, "Steven's opening-night, last-minute-shopping gift"). How nice the gift is usually depends on how frequently you dance with the person, and how big the role you're dancing is. I've gotten things like cards, chocolate, alcohol (champaign or vodka usually), a make-up case, sweat bands, a little ceramic bowl, and most recently, little wooden animal puzzles. Anne Mueller, or ballet mistress for RUSH corps, gave all the corps little wooden animal puzzles. I sat next to Adrian, and Lucas hung out in our area a lot, so I ended up taking home all 3, and they now reside on my dining room table (until the cat decides they are enemies and attacks them). Here is my rooster, Adrian's elephant, and Lucas's shark:
Anyway, off to work! Have a great Tuesday!


No comments:

Post a Comment