Photo Credit: Phil Wayes

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Challenging ballets and Minkus Music

I’ve had the privilege of dancing in some really truly fanfreakingtastic ballets in the last year; ballets that were all challenging in one way or another. But the ones that were the best, the ones that were the biggest honor to be cast in, the ones that were the most fun to perform….were the ones that challenged me the most during the rehearsal process.

Here’s how it goes down: I find out I’m cast in a challenging pas de deux—cool, I’m honored and super-psyched. I see the ballet that I’m going to be learning/dancing—cool, it’s really awesome. I enter into the rehearsal process—I leave many a rehearsal dragging my proverbial tail between my legs and feeling like the world’s biggest moron. Sooner or later I get my act together, the dance gets cleaned, we perform it, and again—cool, I had a wonderful time performing and I’m grinning from ear to bloody ear.

That was kind of how today went. By the way, you know your partner is awesome when you smash his groin into smithereens and he’s still cool with you afterwards. Sorry, buddy.

The first part of rehearsal was fun—enormously fun, actually—and I had a nice long mid-day break that I spent curled up in a corner of the studio reading Twilight (yes, Twilight. I finally drank the Kool-Aid). The last hour was the most challenging for me. And for my partner, for that matter; since I crushed his gehundywhatsits and all (And he said “Don’t worry about it, it’s part of the process,” but I still felt bad. I should let him give me a good falcon punch or something so that we’ll be even). I have partnered this guy in many ballets in the last season, and we do well together, so I know that in the end it’ll be fabulous. Even if I clumsily become Butterfly Bobbit in the process.


I’ve been choreographing to the music of L. Minkus a lot lately; to the point where it’s a bit of a running joke at the studio where I teach. Mainly, I favored his stuff because I love his music…..

….. but this week I realized another reason for the L.M.-Love: It’s easy to count. I mean, a deaf person can count Minkus…while in a coma. The late-great Mister M makes it easy for us to hear the beats and find the cues, which is why it's so much fun to choreograph to (in my not-humble opinion): It takes all the guesswork out of choreographic scoring. When the music is nebulous, I have a difficult time figuring out the timing, regardless of whether I’m choreographing to it or learning someone else’s choreography. Ambient music sounds cool, but I’m a stuffy old-timer: when it comes to dance, I want the beat to be pounded into my skull with the back end of a hammer. I may be unoriginal in that regard, sure; but I’ll plead guilty on all counts of “I’m boring.”

Speaking of boring....I'm going to pour myself a drink and get back to Twilight. Yup, it's a regular party over here in Butterfly-land....

1 comment:

Selly said...

"...that I spent curled up in a corner of the studio reading Twilight (yes, Twilight. I finally drank the Kool-Aid)."

Don't make me disown you.