goodbye broom

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Flying coven.

Plunging fall.

Morning birds.

Hopscotch pumpkins.

Broken witch.

Enchanted broom.

Sweep, sweep, sweep.

Chop, chop, stop.

Growing fondness.

Scheming neighbors.

Cultish fervor.

Human fire.

Ghostly woods.

Packed bags.

White paint.

Family dinner.

Soaring tango.

Happily Ever After.

 

photos of Saturday night’s “Widow’s Broom” by Ty Parmenter.

 

opening preparations

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This week has been a very full one.  Productive meetings in cozy coffee shops, much needed catch-ups over cocoa chai, and of course, FBP’s first theatre week of the season.  The company has been working hard each night, putting the final touches on our opening production, Ballets Russes Reinvented, and I’m very excited to finally feel the audience beyond the curtain tonight.  Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes photos later this weekend.  Here comes Season 38- Merde FBP!

strange comfort

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Sprawled downstage center, eyes closed and hoodie zipped, I waited with my fellow coma patients to repeat the same 8 counts for what would be the…sixth time?  By now my energy had expired and I was losing track of the process.  The staging for Coma requires more planning, practice, and precise execution than most ballets, and packing one’s patience is essential.

I craned my neck over to the left and raised my eyelids to half-mast, noticing that Alex’s motionless body had adopted a similar sense of relaxation.  Despite a conventionally unpleasant setting, rumpled on a cold, hard floor with harsh lights jabbing at our tired limbs, the simple comfort in our presence was obvious.  Testing the limits of this strange comfort, I made the conscious decision to direct my sight up into the cool blue lights glowing above me.  Staring into their gleam, I realized how relatively unaffected my retinas were, if not slightly soothed by the familiarity of this specific brilliance. I made a note to myself, to channel this bizarre relaxation in the final movement of Coma, when our unconscious hearts replace the reality of their suspension with the bliss of a restful place.

look at me, way up high

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan10245314_694116947317300_7691376629189028144_n

Yesterday was a very special day.  For the first time in my life, I flew.  I soared 30 feet above the stage, swinging from one edge to the other, pointing my toes harder than ever and clutching my beloved Peter Pan.  Upon initial takeoff I released one single squeal (and several pathetic whimpers at the height of our flight), but wore nothing less than an ear-to-ear smile for the duration of our flying practice.  Because guess what…I loved it!

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I have a complicated relationship with heights.  Well, after the invasive harnessing process (think Forrest Gump meets chastity belt) the butterflies in my stomach started doing actual backflips.  Not only was the leather contraption extremely difficult to move in, being all buckled in meant there was no backing out of this flying business.  It was go time.  The straps seemed to close in tighter and tighter on my chest with each restrained breath.  I could feel my legs loosening up like warm jello as I watched Brenna fly, then Melissa, then Ian, then…it was my turn.  They hooked me in, placed me next to Ian, and asked if we were ready.  Grabbing Ian’s hand with my own notoriously clammy one, I made one final attempt to flee, pleading with the stage hands, something along the lines of “I really don’t like this, I don’t like it at all, can we wait a little while or just raise me up one foot before we go for the full monty or maybe I’ll just watch from down here?”, but they shook their heads crassly, eager for their coffee break, and I realized none of those options were available to me.  So instead I remembered how my Grandma (Gma, as we call her) told me that I would do it, because I had to, and I’d be damned if I let the fear hold me back.  Ian looked at me with his impish little grin, gave his arm signal to the wings and with the tug of a rope we lifted off.

Weightlessly rising from the stage, up into the air, I squeezed Ian’s hand even tighter.  Our first flight was a bit bumpy, and I imagined the blinking on of a seatbelt sign overhead and a stewardess’s pursed voice informing us of the slight turbulence up ahead.  I swung out to grab Ian’s other hand, so we were suspended face to face and I refused to take my eyes off of him, afraid of where they might end up if I did.  Before I knew it, we touched back down to the marley, then flew up again, and again, about 4 times until the stage crew could stave off their thirst for coffee and a comfortable chair no longer.  We de-harnessed, bundled up in warm knits, and I realized that I was actually excited for our next flight.

It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it?  How experiences can fly so completely off from the track that exists in your mind, like that first time you tried chicken salad or mint toothpaste.  Something you expected to taste so bitter turns out to be quite refreshing and the surprisingly good reception of it all is really liberating.

opening night: boundless plotnikov

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This has been the shortest theater week of my life, with tech rehearsals on stage beginning just yesterday.  That being said, it was a nearly 12-hour day spent clarifying spacing, lighting, costumes, and cues.  We moved into the Vets, staged an entire ballet, and ran a full dress rehearsal of the show, all before 10 o’clock.  I did not set foot outside the theater for over 9 hours.  9 hours, people.  We’re talking looooong day.  And today begins early once more, with another dress rehearsal on stage before tonight’s opening.

This is one of the most emotionally polarized shows I’ve ever been a part of.  Surrender expresses the turmoil of  lust, betrayal, deceit, and the ultimate triumph of love.  As choreographer, Viktor Plotnikov, says, it’s all about “surrendering to love” and “just letting things be”.  But as is the case in real relationships, the path to peace is not a smooth one.  The youngest of Plotnikov’s constantly conceiving brainchildren is Sharps and Flats, a comedy whose satirical tone could not be more opposite that of Surrender, making it the perfect foil to such a stark opening.  S&F also explores human relationships, but this time within the (slightly clumsy) structure of an orchestra of “broken musicians” navigating their way through their maniacal conductor’s ascent into musical madness.  The show closes with audience favorite, Orchis, returning from its premiere last season by popular demand.  This gravity-defying ballet leaves its audience speechless, with its dancers creating haunting, curved lines and “round shapes”, inspired by the understated beauty of drying, decaying orchids.  This is probably my favorite ballet to dance of the three, and not only for it’s breathtaking choreography but for my love of it’s inventive, commissioned score by Sonya Belousova, a young compositional genius.

If you are in the area, buy your tickets now.

If you are not in the area, buy some plane/train/bus tickets, then buy your Boundless Plotnikov tickets here.

classical ballet’s crown jewel

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With one week left in the season, the final curtain call is quickly closing in.  The dancers are working very hard to put the finishing touches on Sleeping Beauty; a colossal ballet for such a small company, but a welcomed challenge for the talented artists of FBP.  I watched rehearsal for 3 hours last night, and I will tell you right now- I’m beyond excited to see this on stage.  If you are in the area, don’t miss this classic story ballet.  Shows like this one are what peaked my interest in ballet as a child…you never know if you have the ballet bug in you until you experience it first hand.  And it’s never too late to find out!  Unless of course you don’t buy your tickets and you miss out on the show next weekend.  Then you’re too late.  And I hate you.  Just kidding, I love you.  But seriously, 401-421-ARTS.  Keep the arts alive in your community, Rhode Islanders!

So what if you’ve already discovered your own lack of the ballet bug?  Well GUESS WHAT?  It’s Mother’s Day next weekend, and chances are your mom has ignored her hunger for a night at the ballet to tend to your sporting events, playdates and illnesses.  So why not give her the evening of her dreams?  You know you want to.

And shameless plug officially fini.

one more day.

We became moving sculptures in the genius hands of Viktor Plotnikov.72694_490503401011990_2141643510_nWe practiced and perfected the infamous “big lift”.11508_490911080971222_308885423_nWe memorized the incredibly complicated counts that define the “Agon” between Balanchine and Stravinsky.549274_491364484259215_520626236_nWe studied the lines of not only our own bodies, but those of our partners.553286_491740090888321_184200034_nWe worked tirelessly with dedicated Balanchine repetiteur, Sandy Jennings to ensure that each head, hand, and foot movement was exactly right.blogWe were published in a Turkish magazine.
486083_492703234125340_240110261_nWe pushed our bodies to their limits.576313_493423667386630_334851691_nAnd surpassed them.535381_493983373997326_1757694818_nNow we bring you Agon & Orchis.
549390_494358950626435_399566635_nPlease do not miss it.