I suppose it’s time for a ballet update. Well, I received my first paycheck of the season on Friday, (first post-raise check, woo!), and I must admit it felt well deserved. It was a strenuous week, both physically and mentally, as my body eased into that familiar soreness routine, wherein I’m unable to comfortably walk in the morning, then warm and explosive around noon, then sweaty, tired, and hobbling out of the studio at the end of the day. But you know what they say – Nothing a few painkillers and a footsoak can’t fix!
So that’s what I do. And this cycle continues with surprising regularity, despite the week’s rehearsals being as unpredictable as a New England winter. Right now, the company is hard at work preparing for the second annual Together We Dance gala as well as an all new program of our fan favorite, the “so close you can touch it” Up Close On Hope series. Simply proclaiming “so close you can touch it” does not quite do this unique performance justice; We (the dancers), are literally jumping, kicking, running, lifting, pointing, posing, prancing, turning, twirling, sliding and gliding into the laps of the front row ticket holders. As you can imagine, it quickly becomes a task to contain the
panting heavy breathing and dripping s weat light perspiration that are taking place in and around our bodies as a result of said jumping, kicking, running…you get the point.
Why must all of this melodic hyperventilating and endearing skin glistening be “contained”, you ask? Well, the answer here is actually a bit more polarized than you may think. One half of the response cries, “Because we must maintain the magic!”…you know, ballet must look effortless, dancing is supposed to be enjoyable – not the close cousin of an unflattering clip of marathon runners doing a victory shimmy after the race (I’m telling you, sometimes my face gets Louboutin red and Swarovski shiny during an intense performance, it’s not as pretty as I try to make it sound). But the other half of this response deeply sighs and coos the most freeing and genuine, “Thank you.” The intimate experience that is Up Close On Hope allows the audience a chance to view these incredible works of art as well as the artists interpreting them from a vantage point otherwise unattainable by anyone other than those very faces painted in the playbill. An astonishingly human, yet perhaps (we hope) a touch reality-defying, display of athleticism, artistry, grace and power becomes unmistakably apparent before the eyes of the unsuspecting audience, which at this point has evolved into something more of a group of all-access-pass-holding, in-on-the-secrets observers. This connection between dancer and observer bridges that legendary gap otherwise occupied by an elevated stage, an orchestra pit and a veil of illusion-creating distance. Without these, the observers are exposed to dance at its most raw and real form. They experience what we see and feel every day, in our very own studio space. It’s a kind of authenticity that cannot be faked.
While this authenticity is, in my opinion, priceless, it also makes dancing a classical pas de deux – “effortlessly” – about 3000 x more difficult. So perfecting this shall be my enterprise for the next 2 1/2 weeks, wish me bon chance! Until next time…xx