Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day Two: Rehrearsal with Christopher Wheeldon

Our second day on tour in DC involved more dancing and less sitting on planes, which we all prefer. After a looong day of traveling from coast to coast, it was nice to arrive in the heat and humidity! Portland has been exceptionally dreary lately, and it's nice for bodies to dance in a warm climate. My warm up for the day consisted of walking from our hotel to the theater. It was great.

The Kennedy Center is truly monumental. It's a fantastic structure and venue, and I'm amazed that we are performing here. Here is my first shot of the theater, and my first taste of the magnitude of the building.

At ten o'clock we donned our RUSH costumes and spaced the ballet on the stage of the opera house. We hadn't yet had our class, so it felt a little foreign to be putting on a costume before we'd even done a plie for the day. We were grateful for this time though, because it gave us a feel for the new space. In Portland, we performed RUSH at the Schnitzer Concert Hall, and the Kennedy Center is maybe twice as deep as the Schnitz is.

In this photo: Maestro Niel DePonte, Christopher Stowell, Christopher Wheeldon and Anne Mueller lead the rehearsal in Studio #4.

After we spaced the ballet we had a lunch break and then returned to Studio #4 in the Kennedy Center to have class and rehearse with Christopher Wheeldon. Lining all of the walls leading up to the Studio were posters from companies that had previous engagements at the Kennedy Center: American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Fonteyn & Nureyev, Kirov Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Feld Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet. I wanted to post an OBT poster up there with them. It's fantastic to be around all of this history, but better yet to be a part of the history.

Here Wheeldon works with Yuka Iino as Christopher Stowell looks on.

At the end of the evening Steven and I headed back to the Center to see Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and The Washington Ballet perform their series of Ballet Across America. We were surprised and proud to see OBT's own Alison Roper and Artur Sultanov gracing the cover of the Playbill for the entire run of Ballet Across America at the Kennedy Center. Again, another part of being history.

Pacific Northwest Ballet performed Nacho Duato's Jardi Tancat magnificently. It's a work I've seen before, and watched it often in my year at PNB. I am less familiar with Kansas City Ballet. I saw their Nutcracker years ago, but some of the names are still familiar. They performed Todd Bolender's The Still Point, a work that was created on Melissa Hayden, one of Matthew Pippin's former teachers. It is a deep work with some beautiful moments. And finally, Washington Ballet performed Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs, a work that I also became familiar with in my year at PNB. The costumes were designed by Oscar de la Renta and they look fantastic in the work. I loved some of the partnering maneuvers. The company is a hometown favorite, and I believe they perform at the Center often. Standouts were Sona Kharatian, Morgann Rose, and the couple in black (my program has disappeared currently).

Tomorrow we have our dress rehearsal with Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet, and tomorrow evening we open. It's been a fantastic two days and I can't wait what else there is in store.

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