I'm going through withdrawals. Dance withdrawals.
I’m thankful that my in line of work I am able to decide "I'm taking a mini-vacation, right here, right now," at any given point when I don't have a project going on BUT it's been five days. The bruises are healed. My body has gotten the TLC it's desperately needed from my chiropractor and massage therapist and I've slept EXCESSIVELY.
Don’t get me wrong, snuggling is top notch but it's time to get back on my feet, finding the footing I only began to hone in on three and half weeks ago at the start of Barak Ballet’s Triple Bill 2015 rehearsals.
Rehearsals and performances for Nicolo Fonte’s masterpiece Left Unsaid came and left quicker than I think any of us lucky enough to be casted in it wanted. It’s a dancer and audience member’s dream: dramatic lighting, simple but striking costumes and exchanges of dancers that leave you wondering, “What do these interactions mean?” Even in our own rehearsal process each of us were asking ourselves that same question, finding meaning in what we were given to dance. Oh, and might I add it’s FIERCE exciting dancing.
Learning a ballet in such a short period of time is one thing. But executing the steps, making them your own and becoming comfortable in the movement is another. Thankfully for this ballet the feeling of risk really compliments the movement. How far can you go without falling? How much energy can you put into it without “punching” or forcing? How physical can you make each step while still matching the softer high notes in each of the Bach’s violin solos it’s choreographed to? In the beginning some of these risks were difficult to commit to. For a ballerina such as myself whose always trying so hard to feel “on her leg” or “on balance” the challenge of beautifully leaning off my leg was not something my body wanted to do. You’d think it’d be easy considering I’m constantly struggling to be on my leg right? Wrong. Throughout the process my loving and trusting partner Evan was constantly reminding me to “really lean off your leg, give me weight!” He wanted to feel the push and pull not usually found in classical ballets. In order to make it work we had to use each other’s strength in a string of intertwined partnering and lifts without it looking forced.
The more we were able to play the more we were able to find this yin and yang of balance and off balance. Beauty, strength and trust. And I was starting to find that maybe this type of movement was more in my body than I thought. I never did feel perfect in rehearsal or performance. That in particular left me feeling a little unsatisfied. I so wanted to prove to myself, to my fellow dancers and to Nicolo that I was capable of nailing such new movement. I was left with the feeling that if I had had more time or a chance to revisit it onstage that I could do the ballet justice. In short, I expect the impossible of myself. Thankfully before Nicolo left he reminded us that “the work you put in in the studio and the tech is just as important as the two performances on stage”. It isn’t just about the product or the execution; it’s about the growth, the process. Each of us as dancers has come so far from those first few days of just “trying on” the movement. We all really dove head first into the ballet. And for myself, I started understanding more about the dancer I want to be, the way I want to move and the direction I can head into if I keep pushing.
In the end, with all the work us dancers put in and Nicolo’s genius audiences loved Left Unsaid as we expected they would. I truly think the ballet will stick with everyone who got to encounter it. And as for me and my search for self-satisfaction? Well I don’t know if that’s something I’ll ever feel as an artist but I do feel hungrier than ever to explore new movement.
So starting today, I’m saying “bye bye’ to my very comfortable bed, “bye bye” to my pseudo vacation, closing my laptop and getting my butt back into the studio to work.
To explore some video links of Oregon Ballet Theater performing Nicolo Fonte’s Left Unsaid check out these links:
For photos of Barak Ballet’s Triple Bill 2015 please visit BB’s facebook here.