Day 1 Nutcracker Stage Rehearsal Continued...

Saint Louis Nutcracker from fabrice calmels on Vimeo.

To continue from last night's blog, Wednesday morning's class was great.  Our Artistic Director, Ashley Wheater, taught class and gave us a long deep warm up.  His classes focus on controlling the body.  For those of you that aren't all that familiar with ballet, this means his classes demand that we control the shape of the movement from its starting point until its end.  This allows us to reshape our bodies and have appropriate placement.  Often times when you are doing repetitive movements or in performance, the body can lose its placement.  It's so important to come back to the basics and "restart the machine".
We took class in a studio ("CoCa") that was a great large space.  The floor was a bit slippery because it was cold (not like we were dancing outside lol).  It's funny how changing the environment can make you lose a bit of your technique.  Day in and day out at the Joffrey you get familiar with your own space, your same corner to spot for turns.  Then suddenly you get to another studio with a different mirror, a different corner and you are off for a few minutes until you become familiar with the space and acclimate to the new environment.
So after an hour and a half class, we got into the theatre, had lunch, and went straight into rehearsing Act 1.  It was our first encounter with the kids that would be in the show with us, and they were certainly all very excited (understandably).  After they saw my splint, they asked me about my injury, and suddenly wanted to impress me with their past injuries lol.  
The kids are so much fun.  They are the heart of the Nutcracker.  They have so much energy that it bleeds on us.  They did a great job for their first day, figuring out where they needed to be on stage, and just fit right in.  They rehearse for months without us and have one day to suddenly take what they did in a studio every day (pretending we were there) and make it seem perfect.  They did such a great job.
I was also able to listen to the orchestra rehearse and they sounded great (check out my video).  I rehearsed the Father, Snow King, and Arabian Pas with Kara Zimmerman.  The run on stage was great but we need to work now with costumes and fog (the hardest).  Fog is brought on stage during the snow pas de deux and hovers about 20 inches off the floor.  It is an incredible effect, as if we are floating in the sky.  The difficulty comes when you can not see your own feet, throwing you off your balance.  As the fog is constantly pushed over the stage, you think the floor is moving.  It's not a great sensation, but it's all for the aesthetic of the scene.  And on top of that they are throwing snow at you lol.
Great stuff.  I hope to see you all at the show.  Thursday is our opening night in St. Louis and I am performing the Nutcracker Prince.  I am ready...


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