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Day 6 - Rehearsal

It seems keeping a cool head paid off. We manage to get a good deal accomplished, even without Morgan. The first section to be worked on is for Mary, a more theatrical section incorporating two ideas from the first day of rehearsal, the “entrapped” phrase I thought I would discard (although much changed) and a sort of badminton game where Mary is passed between Adriana and Frances. Mary quickly figures out the mood I’m looking for (it’s heading more and more towards Tennessee Williams, huge dusty folds of velvet draperies and creaking shutters) and produces it. I make a legato section for Frances, because she has good lines, and because she needs it. She seems intent on showing me correct steps, I make her an entire section where all I want her to do is “yearn” – penchées to renversés, all with arms imploring and importuning. She looks both lovely in it, but thrown, something’s preventing her from dancing with abandon. It will give her something to work on. Finally, we make the fourth iteration of the main waltz phrase. Again, I’m trying to bridge the dance effects of the first repeats of the waltz with the entirely theatrical ones of the final repeat. So we build on the “imaginary partnering” in the third phrase, and in the fourth they appear, then vanish. The trick, of course, is making that clear to the audience. What excites me is that the dancers catch on to the theatrical effects almost as quickly as the dance ones. They intrigue them, and me as well. Going from doing a very pure classical ballet at Ballet Pacifica less than a week before I began rehearsals for our concert, I am enjoying making a dance work that relies equally on dance design and theatrical atmosphere. It’s not something I do frequently, but then again, in almost anything I do, (choreography, writing, knitting, making dinner. . .) the next project is almost always something in strong contrast to the previous. Scherzo Fantastique is no exception. I leave rehearsal after having a long, enjoyable and illuminating chat with Mary and Frances. I suggest to Frances she try doing this ballet almost as if she were “marking” and learn a bit more about her. She also becomes more comfortable with me, which should only help the process. Then to work, where I attempt to arrange for a photographer, deal with the preliminaries for upcoming mailings, catch up with my designer on production issues and track down leads on a male dancer. And do some work.