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Day 17 – 28 days until performance

A much better day. I start to append isolated pieces of choreography to the structure of the dance. This Armature doesn’t have the most supportive armature of all, a musical score to lend its structure. I’m building it myself as I go. That’s why the phrases I made look unsatisfying, they have no context, and as I give them one, they look better.

I begin the rehearsal by giving an impromptu lesson on fugues. Every one of the dancers has danced a fugue before, and they all know what it means to dance “in canon” but not all of them know what a fugue is. We run the material in the order I think it will have and I can see where I need to insert material, and who will do it. This is infinitely reassuring to me, as is the realization that somehow, even though I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels, there’s about 10 minutes of choreography made. We then review the material for the fugue from yesterday, and have our first explicit moment of Employ in rehearsal. In echo of Mary’s solo material from the day before, I had Mary and Adriana exit in pas couru on the diagonal. Doing it today, Adriana explains to me as she grimaces doing the step, “Only little people should do pas couru.” I can’t help but think of the discussions of employ on Ballet Alert! when she says that. Am I using Employ in these dances? Well, kinda sorta. I know that there are times I use Frances and Adriana as “big girls” doing more grand allegro and turns at a slower tempo than Morgan and Mary. I often give Mary soubrette material, because she’s so good at being charming, but she also gets the sparrow-like adagio parts. Morgan gets more ingenue parts from me. I see Frances as a danseuse noble (it’s the long, long limbs and the patrician neck) and Adriana as Diana the Huntress. But one needs many more employees in order to Employ. With only four women, I use whoever is available at that moment.

I pick up where I left off (which is where Abraham finished his double tour to the knee) and make a duet for Frances and Adriana. At first, I start making a phrase isolated from any music, but I realize that I’m getting sick of that, and it’s not producing good work right now. So I take most of the same steps and ideas and make a different phrase, but this time made directly and specifically to a certain piece of music. It’s a satisfying relief, almost like getting to eat ice cream after doing one’s homework. After the break, I start to work on the final section of the ballet, done to Bach’s Cantata No. 29 (Wir danken dir, Gott.) The music is essentially the same as the music for the solo violin partita, Bach often scavenged from himself in the cantatas, which he needed to make on a weekly basis. I had made the opening phrase in June on Mary, and I tell Abraham to do it with her (as well as Morgan when she returns.) I continue on, bringing Frances and Adriana out, and having everyone do a polonaise, which is exactly what the music seems to call for. More ice cream. Happier still, we end up on a phrase of music where the hummingbird solo for Mary (with a few of its opening movements lopped off) looks as if it had been made for the music.