“All around her, all glances were riveted, all mouths open; and, in fact, when she danced thus, to the humming of the Basque tambourine, which her two pure, rounded arms raised above her head, slender, frail and vivacious as a wasp, with her corsage of gold without a fold, her variegated gown puffing out, her bare shoulders, her delicate limbs, which her petticoat revealed at times, her black hair, her eyes of flame, she was a supernatural creature.” -Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
My mom sent me this quote a few weeks ago when Alex and I started working on the pas de deux from Esmeralda. I just love it. Hugo paints such a vivid image of his gypsy girl, from her unveiled arms up to her flirtatious shoulders, while leaving the more suggestive bits to the implications in his transitions; Her limbs are bare, but only when occasionally exposed by a wildly dancing petticoat. You can almost see Esmeralda’s designing mind in the way Hugo describes those piercing eyes it lives behind. Perhaps even more significant in the illustration of her enchantment are the reactions of those around her: Glances riveted, mouths open, is there any better way to leave your audience?
As it turns out, learning and preparing a classical pas de deux in less than 3 weeks is just as close to impossible as it seems. Nonetheless, with very little time to rehearse, Alex and I have been working overtime to ground our tricks, balance our lifts, and settle our pirouettes before tomorrow night’s opening. Of course it wouldn’t be the day before the show without a little drama and a whole lot of stress, right?
Here’s to hoping my inner-gypsy emerges onstage tomorrow, with a few shakes of the tambourine and a spirited smirk! Here we go!