Photo Credit: Phil Wayes

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Let's talk about 'Alice:' Wonderland or bust!

We've got twenty-three days to go! Final costume fittings are next week, and dances are well on their way to being ready. Here's a general a run-down on the last leg of our process:
Last night I rehearsed the initial scene between the Chesire Cat and Alice. The Chesire solo is a style of modern dance that's different from most of the modern dance choreography I've done in the past-- lots of little and quick footwork. The young lady who dances the role also danced the villain in the story ballet I worked on last year and is a great little actress. I explained to her how I wanted to set up her character and the Chesire's relationship to Alice, and she understood right away. I think it's going to be a great little scene.
This was a thirty-minute rehearsal that took place at the very end of the night. I was in the mindframe of "we've got a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it," she this was very much a "speed rehearsal:" trying to crank it out, give corrections, and run it as many times as possible. I shouted out choreography and corrections at about a mile a second, which is not unusal for me-- whenever it comes close to opening for a show that I'm working on, I go into this frantic- choreographer mode. Warm-ups are quick, we run the dance as many times as we can, and whenever I need to stop andgive notes or "clean" a section I talk like somebody who's had six too many cups of coffee. It's crunch time, folks.
I was in that mode pretty much all of last night, but we got quite a lot done and it was a productive evening. I was surprised, though, to find myself far more tired than I normally am on a Wednesday evening. I went to a friend's house afterward; I rolled in at 10pm, still in dance clothes, hair askew, reeking of sweat and marley burn (we had a nice evening after I got myself cleaned up, though; we unwound by watching a ball game and hanging out with a friend of his).
Let's discuss some of the scenes I had the opportunity to choreograph; I've been meaning to write about them for a while but I haven't had the chance (By the way, in case you were curious, my scenes are: The opening, the White Rabbit's solo variations, Alice's variation, the white rabbit's "clocks," several ensembles in the flower garden scene, The Caterpillar, the first Cheshire cat scene, the Red Queen's royal guards, the Cards, and the Roses).
A couple of weeks ago I got to choreograph the solo variations for the White Rabbit. The inital variation-- where she first appears-- was redonkulously fun to choreograph. The character's repeated catchphrase-- "I'm late! I'm late!"-- lends itself to a fast-paced and very frantic scene (and lots of really fun, really fast petite allegro). The variation is comical in tone; mixed in with a classical petite allegro are moments of rushing across the stage with arms flailing every-which-way. The dancer really delivers, too-- she's absolutely hysterical! When I initally set out to choreograph this scene, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted, but I'm very happy with the way it turned out.
That's all for now, folks!

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