I had the time of my life.
Our student matinée was well-attended, comprised this time of high-school students. I swapped out my pointe shoes on Thursday for pair that wasn't so dead, and I reveled in how much fun I had dancing the women's piece with shoes that weren't about to collapse (yes, the very same women's piece that I was losing sleep over not two weeks ago. Over the last few days, I've had so much fun dancing it that one had to chisel the grin off my face).
A student asked about Song of Mary during the talk-back, referring to it as the piece "with the father and three daughters." It was an interesting take, so let me tell you a bit more about this [beautiful] ballet: It is primarily accompanied by a series of poems by Lucille Clifton that deal with Mary, the mother of Jesus. The selected poetry covers a variety of points in Her life; such as the recurring "dream," being visited by a winged woman, accepting the child into her body, worrying, and reflecting on the past as an old woman. The cast is one man (representing Joseph, and sometimes and angel as well) and three women (who alternate representing Mary, her mother or the angel).
My favorite thing about the ballet is the ambiguity. It isn't clearly defined as to "who plays who" throughout, thus it becomes less plot-driven or character-driven and more concept-driven; expressing the emotion and the general feel of this woman looking back on her life. It is less of a play and more of just a deeply-felt Idea, and I love that.
Cut to: Evening performance. I arrive early, mend up one of my costumes, and stretch. Our director gives us a class. We prepare to rehearse. One of the dancers is sick. As the preparations continue, it becomes apparent that she is not able to dance. Luckily, she is double-cast in two out of the three ballets she is in. The piece in which she is not doubled is swapped with Song of Mary, (which is early in Act I) so she can leave sooner rather than later. I now have two dances that are back-to-back, so I pre-set for a super-fast quick change.
Cut to: curtain. I am full of nervous energy, but I'm fine once E and I make our entrance in the opening piece. My nervous energy manifests itself into movement. Our sick dancer performs (she dances a solo with three of us girls dancing behind her) and is magnificent, the audience could never tell she was riddled with flu. The women's piece is amazingly fun, we get a screaming ovation for it. Song of Mary opens Act II and is beautiful, a dancer helps me with my quick change so fast that I barely know what's happening.
There is a Time closes us again, and I am having the time of my life. I finally get to watch V perform "A Time to be Born," and he's simply gorgeous. I love watching him, this boyish exuberance the he has about him: he's like a little boy on the playground, and it is positively joyful.
I smile watching "A Time to Reap," remembering our choreologists's words to the dancers: "This is a harvest! You're all off to go drink wine together and be merry." I can't stop smiling during "A Time to Dance." In the finale, as the lights come down on the whole company joining arms and shifting side to side, I think: I am so lucky to dance this piece. So, incredibly lucky.
We kneel in blackout as the audience begins to applaud.
First thought: What's wrong with you people? Why are you not screaming and going crazy for us?
Second thought: Oh, okay, people are standing up. You're a good audience after all.
Third thought: THE WHOLE AUDIENCE IS ON THEIR FEET. I love this audience!
After that, it is a blur. We do a talkback, I dress, JG is there and so is one of my ballet teachers. There is a reception with wine and h'or dourves. I chatter excitedly about everything to everyone. When I eventually feel the effects of the wine I say my goodbyes (knowing I have to be up with the birds in the morning), thank everybody, climb into a huge SUV and drive home. There is one brief phone conversation with RF (where I re-iterate that I've had a fabulous week) before I climb into bed and pass out, happy and exhausted.