What an evening it was at the Auditorium Theater Wednesday night, May 4th...the opening of Joffrey's final program of the 2010-2011 Season. That afternoon we had our final dress rehearsal to make sure all the details were perfected. I decided to stay in the theater after the run because I had already bought food and did not need to leave the theater. I ate, took a nap and a shower, then took the usual warm up led by Graca Sales, our coach and ballet master. I could feel some tension in my body...the stress of the night was building up, lol.
You must understand that it is in this very critical financial time, we as artists have to work that much harder to pull you in, get your support, and keep you coming back. Arts is always the first thing to go, and we in the company know that very well. It is very much on our minds that we have less room for mistakes and everything must be close to perfection if we want to survive. And for us in this program, having not one but two world premieres made it even harder. A world premiere is a double edged sword. It is an opportunity for a company if the work is good, but if the work is delivered poorly, it is more likely that the company will lose some of its audience and be very highly criticized (lol, well that happens no matter what anyway). But if it does go well, it becomes a part of history, the ballet will be redone over and over again by many different dancers and companies, and it is more likely that the audience and future generations of dancers will always think of that first performance, of the original video, as the pioneers of the ballet. It is very exciting to be able to live this and be a part of the creative conception, especially when it all works out.
The pictures below begin to show you a bit about the whole process and each of these two world premieres. Bells, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, is a very powerful ballet. It is the kind of ballet where you can't take is easy, and you must give it everything you have. It is crafted with very powerful, athletic movements that require a lot of strength and accuracy in partnering. It is still very pretty of course, and the palate of color he chose for the design and costumes makes it a winner in my mind.
Woven Dreams, choreographed by Edwaard Liang, is at first a serene ballet that turn into a broken nightmare. I said nightmare in order to give you the visual at the end of the work, with broken movement and intensity that for me, would most certainly not be on my list of pleasant dreams lol. The ballet is simply amazing, and true to Liang, it is very athletic and difficult. After dancing "Age of innocence" choreographed by Liang for us several years ago, I am getting more and more familiar of what I call the "moviang" (movement Liang). I don't know what it is, but there is something amazing and satisfying when someone fuses styles of movements together and makes it one. When it comes to the Moviang I feel there is some taichi ballet and a little popping going on, it is a a great style that I am loving it more and more. For me Edwaard is pretty much the future of choreography. His ability to visualize a movement is incredible, but he also understands the dancer, his limits, and knows how to work to generate the best out of a company. And on top of that, his skills in visualizing designs that fill an entire stage while be conscientious of being able to pack it up and take it on tour is amazing.
What I have learned from this production is that for so long people would find excuses for choreographers or re-stagers to be a little tough on dancers (not all are like that but some)...Yuri Possokov and Edwaard Liand are amazing, nice, creative visionaries that created two amazing pieces at the Joffrey with great communication and in a very short amount time. It was the kind of artistic experience worth having over and over again.