Day 23 - 20 days until the performance.
Chuck and I have decided to meet for a half an hour today and three times next week to run the ballet. Since it’s a brief rehearsal he goes over sequence once and the runs the ballet. Today, we work almost entirely on questions of endurance. A marathon can’t be run like a sprint. In the same way, a six minute solo dance can’t be danced at the same energy level as a classical variation of under a minute. Chuck takes an easy and efficient pace, pushing himself harder for the technical sections (which are concentrated in two areas, almost as if this were a competitive skating or gymnastics floor exercise program.) He gets through it, which makes us both very pleased, especially since he isn’t back in shape yet after the ten days off. I tell him to make sure that his interior focus is to that imaginary balcony for the entire dance, and also encourage him to have someone else look at the solo. I’m pleased with the work and can see my mind isn’t yet moving towards details. He might want the feedback on technique, and at this point I don’t see myself doing it.
Horizon rehearsal is less frenzied today but we still move slowly. I’m not a choreographer here, often I’m not even a ballet master, sometimes I’m just a traffic cop. Everyone is trying to learn their part at once and the process becomes much more unfocussed than choreography because instead of one head, there are seven. I’ve started saying things like, “OK. One person only is talking, and that person is Adriana.” It tends to be Adriana, because she learns fastest off the tape. Also, I’m really happy because this ballet looks really good on her, because it is a forceful work, and all about legs. Adriana has gorgeous legs. I felt as if, much as I liked Adriana, she had been unintentionally shortchanged a little in the two new works, she gets her due here. Also, the dancer who had originated Adriana’s part had similar training to hers, so there are some similarities, primarily in their attack. There are three couples in the work, and in the first movement, each dancer has a solo and a pas de deux. I’ve only rechoreographed one variation entirely, Ted’s, and it was amusing that without consulting the video, except to look at the original variation once and decide I didn’t like it, I found that I had made a variation with basically the same structure as the one I made six years ago, but the details were more flattering to Ted. A few solos have been left exactly as they were, others have been changed, but only slightly, to suit the new dancers. When I choreographed Horizon in 1993, I never regarded it as being sufficiently “cleaned” in rehearsal, because I had to replace the lead couple. So I’m also fixing details as I go. I can usually instinctively tell why I would have done something a certain way, even six years ago, or when something just was done a certain way because it was never specified. I try to wait before I change something that looks odd because it often gets explained a few steps later, or is a foreshadowing of something that recurs, but I’m glad I’m the choreographer. As far as I’m concerned, it’s my ballet, and no step is sacrosanct. If it doesn’t look good on these dancers, I put in another step.