The last time we toured to St. Louis we were there with our beloved artistic director and co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet, Gerald Arpino, who has since past away. It will be bittersweet to be there again and remember what it was like to be on tour with him in that city, but nevertheless, he is never forgotten even as the years go by.
We tour our Nutcracker every year to many different cities, so I can only remember bits and pieces of what it was like in St. Louis. I remember we stayed in a hotel at the St. Louis Union Station that had its own mall.
Strange, but kind of nice when you're on tour, do not know the city, and everything is right outside your hotel room! I do not remember everything, but I certainly can still see some pictures of it in my mind. Nevertheless, I am excited to return.
The Joffrey has always been a touring company. In the past, we have often performed Nutcracker in multiple cities in one tour, but will only be traveling to St. Louis this year. I can't wait to perform. A few weeks ago I posted a blog asking you to help me decide my Nutcracker solo, and have decided to go with the second version (option 2, Hilaire version). Thanks for your feedback!
Performing in St. Louis will be my way of getting ready for our run in Chicago. I'll get to perform on stage quite a few times and will be just ripe for Chicago by the time we return, lol. Patrons in St. Louis will be upset at that last sentence considering I just blatantly implied that I will basically be using those performances to be ready for Chicago, lol.
No, no, no. The truth is that I actually give 200% every time I step on stage. It's sort of a reality that it takes a few shows to accommodate yourself to the stage, to the performance atmosphere, and to really feel comfortable. As hard as you try in rehearsals, the studio is not the same as the stage. And the truth is, we forget those details sometimes...what it feels like to dance in a new environment, in a new city, on a different stage, with bright lights on you, the costume that changes your movement a bit, the stress of other dancers that rubs off. Those tiny things add up and it takes a certain amount of time to really adapt and be your most comfortable. The stage dress rehearsals help, but sometimes are not enough.
This year I will not open in Chicago (sorry if you have tickets to opening night!!). St. Louis will be my grand opening for Nutcracker, but I will perform plenty during the Chicago run. So far rehearsals are going well, although my splint does affect my dancing a little bit. I am getting used to it (I have no choice!).
We leave for St. Louis on Tuesday and open our run on Thursday. We will return to Chicago on Monday to prepare for our Chicago opening on Friday Dec. 11 at the Auditorium Theater. Get your tickets now!