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Day 30 - 8 days until the performance

The closer we come to the performance the less I am a choreographer and the more I am a producer. There is a certain amount of coaching that I do, but also I try to choose “self-cleaning” dancers, the process of readying a ballet is so ingrained in them that I function primarily as an arbiter. Cleaning can get tricky at times like this, they know to ask me if something is a piqué or a relevé, for instance, but often I don’t care, they should do the one that works best within the combination (and usually one of them has grown comfortable with a piqué and yet another with a relevé. . .) Other times I will be specific, because the step has a specific effect.

We worked on cleaning Armature and Scherzo today, but my attention gets divided more and more between the concerns of the dancers and the concerns of the production. Jeff was there trying to get as much information as he could for lighting and production management, and Peter Lopez, who is doing the sound editing for Armature was also there. The violin partita has “erasures” in it where the music fades out, and I needed to supervise their placement (it couldn’t be where a dancer needed a musical cue.) The dancers still need help with the sequence of Armature, I’ve written out a sequential order of the work to give to all of them, post at the wings, and give to Jeff to assist with the sound cues. Scherzo got its first step-by-step cleaning today, of the first 10 minutes of the work. One reason Horizon takes so long to clean in comparison is the cast is double the size. If six people are all doing a given step, the ballet isn’t clean until all six of them are consistent, and that takes longer than ironing out inconsistencies in three dancers. One of the reasons Aubade takes so little time to clean is that Chuck can really do any step he chooses, within reason. It’s a solo, if he opts for a piqué instead of a relevé, no one is going to know.

Another person watching the ballet was Lilian, who is doing publicity for the show. I insist on doing the initial publicity, and the writing of press releases, because that’s my image and I wish it to be accurate. But it’s been a relief to hand that job off to someone else after the mailings were done, and have her do the follow up. It seems the decision to work with Chuck has paid off practically, when Lilian makes follow up calls to invite VIP’s to the concert, they are aware of it. I know from my own experience as a writer that the brutal truth in New York is that one gets enough PR and other mail demanding one’s limited time and attention that a lot of it gets ignored. If I am sent a press release and see no name on it I recognize, it gets thrown out. At least I know that mine has not been thrown away this year.