Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day Three: The Big Show!

So, I thought I would start this post with some pictures from my walk to the Kennedy Center from the hotel.This is right outside our front entrance. I love all the old brick buildings in the area we are staying. It's been so sunny since we've been here (except today, it just started raining) and it's been such a nice change from the dreary Oregon weather we've been having.
Walking down Virginia Ave. You can just see the Watergate complex in the background.
A closer view of the Watergate complex. I had no idea how much stuff there was in the Watergate. There's a Safeway and a CVS plus a multitude of restaurants, offices, and a hotel. Very cool.
The Kennedy Center on the left and Watergate on the right.
A close-up of the Kennedy Center. I had only been here once before on a school trip and I had completely forgotten how enormous it is. It's such a spectacular facility for both the performers and the audience. There is everything you could ever imagine needing here and everyone has been so kind and efficient.

We had class at 10am followed by a quick walk-through of the ballet to refresh our memories of all the notes we were given the day before. After that we had a break for some food and to get into our costumes and do our hair and make-up. We then walked through the ballet on stage with the orchestra (I love live music!!) and then we did a full run.Ilir, Lucas, Matthew, and Brian all sitting in our dressing room. We each have out own individual mirrors with lights that turn on and off independently of the lights around other peoples mirrors. At the Keller you either have all the lights on a bank of mirrors on or off and it can make the room very hot very quickly.
My mirror spot. You can see all my make-up and everything organized below and various gifts I've received up on the mirrors. The stuff on the mirror I pack in my make-up case and take with me everywhere I perform. There is a picture of Suzanne Farrell I got from my friend Patrick, the merde gift I received for Vertiginous Thrill from Noah Gelber (the person who set the Vertiginous on us), that's the fake facial hair in the bottom right corner of the mirrro, and the wrapper from a Dove chocolate I had backstage up at PNB during the Celebrate Seattle Festival last season that says "Be Fearless." I always try to keep my mirror spot as organized as possible because I don't want to worry about not finding something right before a show. I always find the more orderly and methodical my preparation for a performance is, the more relaxed and ready for the show I feel.

After our dress rehearsal Adrian and I had to go back to the hotel to get our outfits together for the post-performance reception. We then ended up having lunch/dinner with Jon Ulsh in the hotel's restaurant. It's always so interesting to hear about the non-dance aspects of making this company work and really makes me feel like I'm better able to understand how and where I fit into the organization aside from just "soloist." So, after we ate we walked back to the Kennedy Center to get ready for the show.
Two great quotes from Kennedy that Adrian and I noticed carved on the side of the building: "This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor." And "To further the appreciation of culture among all the people. To increase respect for the creative individual. To widen participation in all the processes and fulfillments of arts - this is one of the fascinating challenges of these days."
This was the first quote we spotted and I got goosebumps when I read it. "I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well." It's so inspirational to hear that someone who lead our country had such a strong dedication to nurturing the arts.
A view of the Opera House where we're performing. It looks big in this picture, but in reality it's a very comfortable size.
The incredible chandelier. I spent about five minutes staring at it when I first saw it. This picture doesn't really do it justice, but I don't know that any picture could.
Adrian, Ronnie, Brian, Ansa, and Holly warming up for the show. There is only a three minute pause to run on stage and jump around before we start our ballet, so we have to do a lot of warming up and reviewing during the ballet before ours. Having a pause instead of an intermission can be very disorienting because you don't really have a chance to be in the space and get grounded like you do when you have a full twenty minute intermission.
A group shot right after the curtain came down on an extremely successful debut performance (Christopher Wheeldon is standing on the far left). It wasn't perfect, but I don't know that any performance every will be. What I do know is we all had a wonderful time performing, and the applause at the end was copious. What more do you really need? I feel so lucky to have shared this adventure with such great people; It truly was the experience of a lifetime.
After the show it was time to unwind and enjoy our success. We were invited to a reception hosted by the Dance Critics Association (DCA) and we all had a blast. There was food and drinks and, to my surprise, a large number of our supporters from Oregon. It was so comforting to see some familiar faces and to know that some of our hometown crowd flew all the way across the country to see us made me feel so honored. A big thanks to all of you who came, we all appreciated it so much!
Matthew, Lucas, and Linda talking at the reception.
After the reception we were taken to dinner and drinks in George Town by Christopher Stowell and Jon Ulsh. It's so nice to be taken care of after a performance. Sometimes it's very difficult to find food late at night, and even when you know where to find it actually getting there can be somewhat of an ordeal since we're all so exhausted, so it was great to not have to worry about it.
Anne, Kent Stowell, and Francia Russell. It was so nice to see Christopher's parents at the show. They are so wonderfully supportive of us and of Christopher that I can't even imagine such an important event going by without them.
Candace and Adrian enjoying dinner.
Later that night we realized that the fabric on the vanities in all the rooms looked identical to the fabric on our Mother Ginger costume, so we had to get a shot of one of our Mama Gs with it.

So, that was my day in a nutshell. All of the rehearsal was extremely tiring, and it felt like the show would never come, but I think we all really came together and gave a wonderful performance that I, my friends/co-workers, and hopefully the audience, will never forget.



  1. In case you are wondering, here is what is being said about OBT on

    This one:

    Pure delight from Wheeldon and the Oregon Ballet -- an explosion of beautiful, tasteful dancing in the ensemble sections of which Wheeldon is surely the world's #1 choreographer!!! WHOAH - Where did this ballet troupe come from? They are the undisputed revelation of the season, simply because I've been following ballet since 1978 and had never heard about them until this Ballet Across America festival. These are absolutely first-class dancers, not the least impressive being Alison Roper and Artur Sultanov in the achingly tender pas de deux that comprises the 2nd movement of the piece. Huge, huge ovation from the crowd.

    and this one:
    RUSH©" (2003) -- In the 1st part with its eye-popping costumes and bouncy, cheerful, beach boys and girls on happy pills, I thought well, this is going to be a feel-good piece. And that would have been enough, all by itself; but then it got even better. In the middle part, Wheeldon deepened and intensified everything with a keen and yearning pdd (kudos to Alison Roper and Artur Sultanov) that perfectly matched the shift to profundity in Martinu's score. Good Times returned in the 3d and last part, leavened by some themes from Part 2, and jazzed up by some patented Wheeldon tricks (like where the lady, supported horizontally by a couple of men, skips lightly across the chest of her upright partner!) I had barely heard of Oregon Ballet Theatre before this performance, but they have to be on everybody's radar now!


  2. Thanks so much for posting those! I think once all the reviews are in I may post some links and whatnot. :-).