You could all be forgiven, blog-readers, for thinking we'd dropped off the face of the earth or decided to scrap the blog--- but we haven't done either! We're just completely immersed in rehearsing for the Lambarena program and I think I speak for all my colleagues when I say our brains are as sore as our bodies at the end of each day.
The past three weeks have been primarily devoted to learning Lambarena. We're lucky enough to have coaching this week from the two African dance experts that Val Caniparoli, the choreographer of the ballet, collaborated with when he made the piece. They have not only been immensely helpful in teaching us how to move in the African style, but also greatly inspiring. Naomi taught us a bona fide African dance lesson on Tuesday afternoon which brought many intruiged spectators to peer at us through the window. It also made the wardrobe department wonder what the heck was going on upstairs (we did a lot of rhythmic jumping, and then pounded our hands on the ground at the end in a gesture of thanks to the drummer). None of us is trained in this form of dance, and I'm sure you can imagine how different it is from classical ballet. The movement of the ribcage, the hips, the shoulders, the back, are all polar opposite from what we are trained to do. The first week I was so sore I could hardly move, the second week I thought maybe I was getting the hang of it (sort of, a little tiny bit), and then this week I feel like I'm 100 years old, it hurts to move!
Even so, I think we're getting closer every day to approximating how it's supposed to look. And no matter what, this ballet is going to be glorious to dance-- the music is utterly amazing. It's soaring and earthbound, animalistic and heavenly. You will not, I promise you, be able to sit still when you watch it.
And that's not all that we've been doing! Christopher is working on creating the Rite of Spring, which is taking shape a little more each day. It's always fascinating to see how a world premiere evolves from day one of the process until the dress rehearsal (and beyond). I think the major challenge with Rite of Spring is the music. And even that may be quite an understatement. It's hard. And so far, so is the dancing! But I can already feel that it will be another momentous performance experience, masses of people and driving rhythms creating a tribal feeling amongst us on stage.
AND, the company is putting Peter Martins' Ash back together. Each of these three ballets is a killer both physically and mentally. Stamina and technical challenges combined with stylistic and musical elements to figure out are going to guarantee that OBT will be in the best shape of its life over the next few weeks! You won't want to miss THAT...