The girl in the red tutu was getting ready for
her Kitri variation, from "Don Quixote"
as the Technical Crew adjusted the lighting
During our Technical Rehearsal, which is when the technical crew works on lights, backdrops and other staging issues, I managed to sneak my camera in. I could only shoot the younger dancers since I was too busy dancing, snacking, or changing costumes later on. (Too much snacking too as it took 3 dancers to hook me into my corset-tutu!) But I hope this gives you a sense for what it's like behind the curtains. It really is not much different from Degas' days.
|Swan Lake Cygnets|
These young swans kept referring to me
as Mama Swan!
The youngest dancers were mesmerized
watching the older girls from the wings.
We were sad to shoo them away but we were
tripping over them on our quick entrances & exits!
The girl in the blue tutu was
dancing the Bluebird Variation from "Sleeping Beauty"
while a young dancer watched from the wings
I was really proud of the girls, particularly the older teenagers in their solo variations. Not too long ago, I was teaching them how to prepare their first pointe shoes and giving them their first pointe classes! (I only teach occasionally, for example, these special pointe classes.) Now, here they are, earning their tutus and dancing classical repertoire.
I was in several pieces requiring quick costume changes, but my white swan tutu was for Michel Fokine's "Dying Swan," a poignant adagio he choreographed for Anna Pavlova in 1905. I didn't know it was based on Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem of the same name. It is set to Camille Saint-Saëns' soulful cello piece. (The solemnity was slightly ruined by a few of my feathers fluttering off the tutu -- I felt like a goose!) I did not dance Odile, the Black Swan, as some of you were asking. That is about 32 fouetté turns too many for me!
Svetlana Zakharova in "Dying Swan." Cello solo played by Yo-Yo Ma.
In case you are not familiar with "Dying Swan," there are very many versions on YouTube. This is a recent clip I had not seen before, featuring Svetlana Zakharova, who has impossibly long limbs. It is an artistically demanding role rather than a technical, bravura one. For me, it is ballet at it's most sublime. I am always honored to be cast by our Director in this solo, and am touched when, once in a while, an audience member comes up afterwards to tell me they were moved to tears.