Fall for Dance

The big city. New York.

I flew to NY right after the last show of Don Quixote to be in New York the same night.  I was there in time for the family and friend’s grand opening of City Center on Monday the 24th.  It was a wonderful gala show that I was honored to be a part of…the reopening of a major New York theatre, and for me, a piece of history where the Joffrey used to perform.  I admit there was something nerve wracking about it, and it’s not hard to imagine why.

City Center has so much history.  All the major companies have performed there, with so many important names and legends all having performed on that stage, in addition to our own company, the Joffrey Ballet.  You see the great ones performing and one day you, yourself, are dancing there.  It is something great and beautiful, but also nostalgic.

This was something the Joffrey dancers shared on Thursday night while performing at the Fall for Dance Festival.  We work so hard to make a dent in this art world, to be expressive and supportive of our company.  The chances we are given to be seen in a major venue, with people from all over the country coming to this theater, is a gift for all of us and we take it with such humble and high respect for the opportunity.

Thursday night the company performed Woven Dream, a piece the company performed as a world premiere in Chicago last spring.  There is so much going on in this piece, but it is still very fresh in our bodies, not like other ballets we have not performed in a while.  Woven dreams was set and created in Chicago and was danced at the Auditorium Theater, a wider/larger stage in general.  So when we got to City Center, Edwaard Liang (the choreographer) had to do structural and choreographic changes.  As we had our tech rehearsal, everyone was watching each other closely, dancing each step meticulously, making sure we were cohesive and making it work as a group on a shorter stage.  Things went well with few bumps in the run.  Thumbs up overall.

The day was fairly long, finishing our tech around 2pm with the show not starting until 8pm.  I ate, took a long nap, and then did a slow warm up with repetitive stretches and movements I kept doing for two hours at a slow pace so as not to exhaust my muscles.  The Joffrey was last to perform on the program, but the show seemed to move so quickly once it started and before you knew it, we were on stage.

The opening went well, and very soon enough I am holding Victoria through the woven fabric for our first duet.  It feels like a dream.  The public is so close and I can see their eyes.  It is a full house.  Very quickly I am closing in on Victoria.  She is my only mission…keep her light, balanced, and comfortable.  As the movement is happening I can tell and sense where her weight is shifting.  I can tell where and when she is about to attack the floor with her point shoes.  This is one of the things I love while performing and especially with her. It’s almost like I can predict the future, a unique way I can anticipate and foresee how our partnership will end up.

We finally get to the last pose and as the lights are fading on us, the audience is so responsive and loud…they liked it:).  As the lights go dark in the final pose with Victoria, she is on my back and I am bending forward looking at the floor.  Coming back to reality, I see the color of the marley, the smell of it warmed up by the bright lights, and the glitter stuck to it.

It is not how amazing you can be in one show, but how many times you deliver great shows over and over, consistent and reliable.  Give your best like it is the last time you get to dance.

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