Last night was one of the most surreal night’s of my life.
First of all, performing Balanchine’s Agon onstage is just as intimidating as it seems, but oh so rewarding when that curtain closes.
Being a part of Plotnikov’s Orchis was absolutely incredible. There are no words. During the final pas de deux, I swear you could have heard a pin drop, the audience was so silent. Amazing.
After the performance, a reception was held in the mezzanine of the theater. Wine, champagne, tiny desserts, all par for the course. One thing was different on this night, however. An announcement was made by the artistic director, Misha. Someone was promoted- mid season- into the company. And guess what? That someone was ME!
I am still so overwhelmed with excitement. And joy! And disbelief. But most of all, pride and optimism. In a world where we receive corrections (pretty much a run down of everything we did wrong) the moment we leave the stage, having all of my hard work recognized is truly extraordinary. I can’t wait to perform again tonight and tomorrow, now with a renewed sense of energy and vivacity. These moments right here, this is why I love ballet.
We became moving sculptures in the genius hands of Viktor Plotnikov.We practiced and perfected the infamous “big lift”.We memorized the incredibly complicated counts that define the “Agon” between Balanchine and Stravinsky.We studied the lines of not only our own bodies, but those of our partners.We worked tirelessly with dedicated Balanchine repetiteur, Sandy Jennings to ensure that each head, hand, and foot movement was exactly right.We were published in a Turkish magazine.
We pushed our bodies to their limits.And surpassed them.Now we bring you Agon & Orchis.
Please do not miss it.
What better way to celebrate George Balanchine’s 109th birthday than completing, running, and filming Agon on our final day with Sandy Jennings. It’s been such a wonderful experience getting to truly dive into this brilliant man’s unique choreography for the first time. It’s the most confusing, stylized, specific and freeing kind of dancing I have ever done. It will certainly be a bit nerve-racking, but I can’t wait to perform it on stage in March. I hope we’ve been making you proud for the past week, Mr. B. Happy Birthday!
At the beginning of the week, this review of Balanchine’s Agon from its original premiere with New York City Ballet in 1957 was posted on our bulletin board at FBP, and I found it extremely interesting. In fact, it may be the most engaging dance review I’ve ever read. It’s a detailed, thought-provoking assessment of the ballet, one that I believe gives the reader a rare peek at the intricacies of the choreography and its relationship with Stravinsky’s calculated score. I’ve learned through attempting to blog about our work on Agon that it is an extremely difficult ballet to put into words. Equally difficult to describe is the revolutionary connection between movement and music that has been imitated but never replicated since. This article points out just how hard this ballet is to choreograph, compose, play and dance, and for that I must bow down in appreciation.
By the end of yesterday’s 6 1/2 hour rehearsal run, I was left feeling a bit like this ^
Now I’ve got two days off before heading into an 8 day work week. Yes, you read that right- 8 days, Tuesday-Tuesday. Sandra Jennings (of the Balanchine Trust) returns next weekend to finish setting Agon (eeeep!) and I’m feeling excited/nervous/happy/stressed/anxious/inspired…I could go on and on. But, instead of succumbing to negativity, I’m taking on the super week with one piece of advice in mind: Have fun.
The only way to triumph over a situation that intimidates you is to treat it as a fun challenge. Approach it as a chance to surprise yourself. Dare yourself to do more, work harder and like it. These are the words of wisdom I’ll be keeping in mind next week.
Hello all! Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend. It’s definitely been an interesting one at FBP…
Sandra Jennings, New York City Ballet alumna and active member of the Balanchine Trust, has been in town all week setting George Balanchine’s Agon, and let me just say this now- it is hard. But not just regular, run of the mill challenging. It’s more like count until your brain hurts, memorize each minut detail, perfect the fancy footwork, extend each developpé higher than your ears, and oh yeah, don’t forget to stylize everything you do difficult. On top of that, due to Sandra’s extremely busy schedule, she was only available to us for a week, and this ballet takes more than our requisite 5 working days to set, which meaaaaans…..SUNDAY REHEARSAL! It wasn’t all that bad, though. The lovely Ms. Jennings surprised us all with a few boxes of delicious Seven Stars pastries and an entire CVS-shelf’s worth of Emergen-C packets. A fantastic surprise indeed! Especially for a company that is all too easily won over by a few good croissants.
Although it has been really fun learning Agon and working with Sandy, I am beyond thrilled to finally have a day off tomorrow, which will hopefully be spent relaxing around the house in my sweats. Happy Sunday! xx