I’m sure many of you in the areas from North Carolina thru New England have had large and small difficulties and problems with the recent passing of Hurricane Irene.
I hope this finds you all safe and sound. Here in Philadelphia we were spared any sort of direct hit. But as fate would have on Sunday afternoon while having a staff meeting at The Philadelphia Ballet School a tree was hit by high winds and due to it’s already saturation by heavy rains wacked our power lines. Now this is no disaster compared to people who have lost their homes. But for us it represented a problem for the next week of rehearsals.
We are being presented by Live Arts and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, which is a big deal for a new Ballet Company and with a short time to present our Premiere Performance (less than three weeks). Our ability to present this program at the highest level could effect whether the company survives in the future or not. Think about opening a new restaurant (nobody cares if there was a hurricane two weeks ago) they want to see the product.
But in the true spirit of our Art Form, which is still part of Show Business, “The Show must go on” and the process must continue. So today with all the chaos and confusion of different parts of our electricity working and not working, dancing by sunlight, cursing our reliance on sound systems and having electric company workers moving thru our rehearsals, I turned to dancer, Alex Crozier Jackson and said, “You know this day would be a great blog report”. Alex looked at me laughing and said, “I was thinking the same thing”. So today while I went off an purchased a new sound system that would work for tomorrow. My guest Blogger, Alex Crozier Jackson wrote his impressions of today. Art will always endure.
My Best- The Traveling Ballet Master
Guest Blogger- Alex Crozier Jackson
“Hello?” I said in a wary tone as I opened the door and began walking down a vacant corridor illuminated only by the light of two small lamps. As I made my way toward the creaking staircase I could see the shadows of the lamplight dimly lighting portraits on the wall giving the faces in them an eerie macabre appearance. There was stillness in the air and I felt for a moment that I was not alone in the darkness…Sounds like something out of a thriller novel right? But no, it was just the Philadelphia Ballet School with a power outage. Over the weekend, a power line had fallen into a tree outside our building and had caused an electrical malfunction throughout our side of the building. We relied on sunlight, candles, and flashlights to help us see although this proved difficult when using the bathroom, as there were only two lower flickering candles so if you didn’t have very good eyesight when the door shut you were as good as blind. Since we had no way of using our speaker system we borrowed extension cords and an old boom box from the building next door and used their power by running the extension cords out of their back door and up through our balcony door. I know that we’re all very appreciative of their help. Everything was set until we started class and the old old boom box started to cause the CD being used to skip. So this meant that instead of a complete eight count phrase you would have eight count phrases that would be missing count two or half of count six. This made songs slightly difficult to keep time to but we’re professionals so we all just kept counting in our heads. One time the music went off completely at which point I opted to sing the rest of barre but that option was quickly shot down by Chris. I suppose I just don’t have the voice for ballet music. When class finished we retired the old old old boom box and replaced it with Tommy’s computer. It took about an hour to get the computer and hook it up with a DVD player to play CDs so during that time Holly and I went through a bin of costumes to find new outfits for our “Mantodea” pas de deux. I think people will like what we’ve picked out as they embody the theme of the piece even more. Once the computer and DVD player were in place we got underway with rehearsal. It was business as usual today and much of the rehearsal was spent going over works from last week as well as starting the finale of “Long Train Running.” The ballets are coming along steadily and there are some great moments in each of them. There’s the calm and mature pas de deux, “Four Studies”, danced by Alex Ratcliffe-Lee and Sam Barczak. It’s to the music of Stravinsky and the pair does really well at articulating the arrhythmic melodies and dark cords. There’s a solo danced by our newest member Jake Nowicki for the ballet “Long Train Running.” Jake brings youthfulness to the piece that was not there when it was originally choreographed. He makes the piece his own adding lightness in his steps and nicely controlled pirouettes. Then there is the blackbird pas de trois also from “Long Train Running” that I can’t say enough good things about. The piece is danced beautifully by Maya Felten, Jane Koorts, and Holly Curran. It starts out simply with the trio standing in a line doing fairly minimal movement and then crescendos into a sweeping expansive dance where the girls are leaping back and forth across the stage. I get drawn into the dance because each girl dances the piece a little differently from the other making you wonder if there is a story behind the piece. I’m really enjoying the rehearsal process for this show and working with all the new faces that have joined the company. I think if we keep working the way we do we will have a very successful show in our hands. Hopefully the power will be restored to the studio and I won’t have to write another entry by candlelight.
Until next time, Alex Crozier-Jackson