Day 28 - 13 days until the performance
We continue cleaning Horizon, and run the ballet twice, once at the beginning and end of the rehearsal, to build up stamina. It’s a tough ballet, 23 minutes long, with long stretches of uninterrupted dancing for the dancers and lots of petit allegro, both characteristic traits of my work. However, the studio where we work has many advantages (quiet, inexpensive, great location and the proprietor gives me the time I need) and one massive disadvantage, the floor is extremely hard. All of the dancers’ ankles are hurting.
I function today primarily as a traffic cop, to keep the process moving smoothly and steadily. Sometimes one dancer will get excited and race ahead, and a section isn’t cleaned unless everyone understands it. I’m also trying to coach the work, and that has varying effects, depending on the dancer. Mary and I tend to use similar metaphors to describe things, so she usually knows what I want when I start talking metaphorically. It’s less successful with someone like Adriana, possibly because she’s more matter of fact about dance than I am, but also because, as with Matt, my metaphors for things aren’t hers. Saying a word like “hover” to her doesn’t mean the same thing it would to me, and I have to keep searching for common images. For Frances and Abraham, I have to watch out for them taking what I meant metaphorically too literally in their eagerness to get what I’m driving at.
It’s also interesting for me to reset this ballet from 1993, as this is the longest time between original performance and revival of any work I have yet revived. It’s odd to meet yourself six years earlier. So much has happened, personally, artistically. Someone else might not notice it, but I notice the change in my choreographic style. I don’t think it’s a linear change, that my concerns in Horizon will never be my concerns again, I could make another ballet like it again some day. But Horizon is a very leggy work, and the new group works are very interested in the upper body (Aubade is also very leggy, but then, so is Chuck quite literally!) It’s also a very dense work, more so than the present ballets. Less telling, I see things in Horizon I’m glad I finally have the chance to edit out, awkward exits and changes of direction. The ballet had a cast change due to injury three weeks before its premiere in 1993, and there was barely the time to re-teach it, much less clean or edit it.