Our trip to Chicago for the Chicago Dancing Festival was short, but
very sweet. I was a little sad to fly separately from the other
dancers but tried to make up for having an easier travel schedule by
packing a picnic dinner for my roommate (Alison) and me to eat once we
got to the hotel (salami, bread, olive tapenade, and ceasar salad).
She brought her baby Charlie along, so I figured the last thing the
three of us should do at 10:00 pm on a Monday night was to go and hunt
We did our best to turn in early, but struggled a bit with the time
difference. We woke early the next morning to head to the Harris
Theater for our lighting rehearsal. Alison and I met a very sweet
young woman from River North Dance Company upon arrival who helped us
arrange the dressing room situation so baby Charlie and the sitter
would have space to settle in.
The theater was lovely and we were excited to see the marley was the
same as the OBT marley. After spacing rehearsal, we all went for a
bit of breakfast since we had a little time before class.
Class is always fun in a festival because you are dancing with dancers
from other companies and taking from a teacher you aren't accustomed
to. Class was very thorough. Of the whole group, only three of us
were in pointe shoes (myself, Alison, and a woman from Richmond
Ballet), which felt very different.
We had to fiddle with our shoe choices for the day because we
discoverd in class that our shoes sounded loud and felt slippery.
This is a tricky thing about touring: you have to have a variety of
shoe choices prepared because a pair that's great at home may be a
disaster on a different stage.
We went through the piece (we danced Trey McIntyre's "Just") doing
some things full out and others not to save energy for the show. I
performed with a new partner, so we wanted to make sure we felt very
"in sync". Lucas is my third partner in this ballet since it was
created in 2005/6). It's a real stamina killer, but so satisfying to
After a bit of rest and a sandwich, it was time to get ready for the
show. Here again, in a festival you have to be much more flexible in
your warm up and preparations because you are sharing the space with
other companies. Christopher came backstage to wish us merde and told
us he was excited to see us dance. We thought that was an incredibly
sweet thing to say (he's seen us dance the piece in around 20 shows)
and it reminded us how fortunate we are to work for such a good boss.
We hit the stage third, right after a real crowd pleaser danced by
River North. I didn't get to watch anything before us because of the
high warm up factor of the piece we were dancing. We had about 90
seconds to feel the space before the piece began. Lucas and I arrive
in the 2nd movement; I start out running on in a blackout to charge
forward and dance as fast as I can for about 32 phrases of music. He
does the same and then we have a duet of the same length and pace.
It's a pretty shocking way to begin a piece and I always feel so free
to enjoy the rest of the piece once I've navigated my way through that
The piece went very well and I think we all enjoyed ourselves quite a
bit. I think our hometown crowd would have been proud of how we
represented Portland and OBT.
After icing down and packing up, I watched the Joffrey close the
show. I have two friends dancing with them, so I was excited to
connect with them and see them dance. The dancers looked great and I
wished I had been able to see the piece (Age of Innocence) from the
I attended a reception and had a lovely time eating mini burgers and
paninis while talking with, among others, some board members from
Richmond Ballet. I did my best to turn in early since my shuttle was
picking me up at 7:15 am. I was sad to leave so soon but had a great