Please enjoy founding BalletFleming Company member and our newest Guest Blogger, Jane Koorts as she writes about her first couple of weeks of rehearsal for our September 14 and 15 program “Feelin’ Alright” at the Painted Bride Theatre here in Philadelphia. www.livearts-fringe.org.
My best-The Traveling Ballet Master
So the last time I really listened to Joe Cocker I was standing in London’s Hyde Park for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee with about a million other people (no really, it was about a million). Along with Brian May, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Eric Clapton, Mr. Cocker made for a thoroughly enjoyable, free-of-charge evening of entertainment. It was pretty awesome in fact. But for the rest, I was struggling to conform to the pedantic instruction of English ballet training, my body had not yet adjusted to the severe lack of sunlight that is MudIsland, and the worst breakup of the century (mine) was dragging out to the five-month mark.
Fast forward nine years.
I’m now listening to Mr. Cocker again, on a daily basis, nearing my fifth wedding anniversary and DANCING. I don’t mean dancing to fulfill a degree course or dancing to try to get a job. Somehow, I’ve gotten both of those things, and here I am writing and realizing just how happy I am, just dancing.
I started working with Chris Fleming about a year and a half ago, and let’s just say it was not exactly easy. His intense, fast-paced classes totally and utterly left me in the dust, feeling like I’d never taken ballet before. And then something clicked. When someone tells you to chill out and just dance in a million different ways over the course of several months, it’s bound to make sense eventually. I’m not saying everything I do now is brilliant because it’s not, but at least I’m enjoying it again. I’m reminded of why I’ve already dedicated 25 years of my life to this art form. Oh yeah, and I can conquer that crazy petit allegro so many dancers look at and go ‘huh?’
Last year I was lucky enough to get in on the ground level of forming Philadelphia’s newest dance company, BalletFleming. It was a crazy year, tearing onto the stage with two full-length productions and a sold-out Philadelphia premiere all our own. Starting Year Two, I’m really excited about the blend of founders and newcomers that now make up the company. (Thank you especially to Dillon and Jake for carrying me around the studio and not getting too upset when I crack down on your big toes with my pointe shoe.) Gina is just plain fierce, and Maya, who danced with us in The Myth and the Madness of Edgar Allan Poe as a student, has transformed from college dancer to professional. Guest Artist Alex Ratcliffe-Lee never stops smiling, no matter how drenched in sweat he is, and Adrianna brings a solid technique (and enviable legs!) to the mix. Alex Crozier-Jackson has grown into an incredibly polished professional in the years I’ve danced with him, and Founder and Guest Artist Samantha brings beautiful control to every piece she is given. Holly has an innate understanding of Chris Fleming’s choreography, and I can always count on Tim to catch me, whether our lighting is mulit-colored strobes or a complete power outage. And the incredible partner Tommy, well, you know he’ll keep dancing, regardless of if he’s actually still breathing or not. Even after just a week and a half of rehearsals it feels like friends and family (ok so maybe hard times bring people together quicker…we’re learning a lot of material in a short time here!).
So Mr. Joe Cocker, I may have come full circle, but don’t let that fool you into thinking I’m done. This train’s got a lot of runnin’ left to do…
Until next time,