Sunday, March 27, 2011

So Confusing!

Janie, I feel your rant. I could not follow and had to read several times. Well, some time has past and I know you have danced your 13 days. How did it go?

I hear that complaint often - long periods with no break and then an odd day off that does not make sense. It is a common frustration. Being a company member you are at the whim of the other directors and superiors. Like all of us in our work places, we have rules and practices we must adhere to. Ballet makes it more difficult because the body requires a balance of rest and practice. You want to stay on your toes and strong. You would believe that the day would be a good thing, yet did you spend the time worrying about NOT taking class? In hind site did it make a difference? I would be interested to know.

It is easy to forget the 'rant' after the fact. We have it documented here, don't we?

It is difficult to SEE what a choreographer sees or believes to be true or what s/he wants from dancers. There are times when there are no rhythms or reasons, at least not logical ones. You might think back to your younger years, has it changed? Do you recall this happening back then? Is it inherent in the profession?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

P.S. My new area of work in enhancing physical therapy is very useful to performers. Look at my website -

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear Sanna - And Now, for a Healthy Vent

A fellow dancer was crying loudly in the dressing room as we all showered after a very long day. I felt bad, too, but realized it's just annoying and irrational to complain to other dancers, many of whom feel the same way. Lucky for me, I have you guys! So here goes...

I guess it is necessary to begin on Friday when this choreographer came. He had us walk around the room at random, then stopped us and had us make a circle. He told us all to close our eyes and then turn our head to one direction. Open your eyes. Point at the person you see. If the person you are pointing at is pointing back, you are partners (even two girls!) Then he went to one of the remaining guys and asked who he wanted to dance with, He said me (no problem here, but for some reason the director, not currently present, does not like this pairing). Everyone laughed and the choreographer said okay anyone but her. He picked another girl, so the choreographer asked her who she wanted to dance with. She picked a different boy, so the original guy got what he wanted, me.

As soon as the director walked in it was clear this was not ideal, but I assumed it was not casting anyway, since the choreographer didn't even know us yet and it was seemingly random. So we worked this way Friday and Sunday. Unfortunately for the people who got paired with a bad partner, another girl, or worse, no partner. A few people were switched around so they sort of got a chance, but it was unfair for most and very lucky for me to have a good, consistent partner.

Then today, the first day without the choreographer since he had to leave, a woman somehow connected to him took over rehearsals. We were not told what was going on, just started rehearsing after an already long day. We reviewed the pas de duex we had learned and did it a few times in two groups. Then groups of three. 2 groups went and I still wasn't chosen. Then she asked who my partner was. I told her and she asked if I could do it with someone else. This is a very sensitive pas de duex to weight, size, and coordination, so it is extremely difficult to switch partners, especially just for the "audition". I don't know what to think, because my new partner is actually very good and we were placed in the front, however he had already done it once with a different girl and it didn't go all that well since we had never worked together. I don't know if the director said something about not wanting me to work with my last partner, or if the woman just wanted to pair him with a better dancer or what. So frustrating!

Then when we were working on the girl's solo, she decided to try 9 girls, so she took the first 9 girls in front of her, which did not include me. They did it a few times, me and the other girls not included on the sides, and then she never switched groups! I don't understand, since she didn't seem to put any thought to the girls she chose, but she didn't watch us on the sides, so did the girls she was interested in just happen to be in the first group? I actually thought the choreographer liked me, so I at least thought I would be in the top 9 he would consider! It is so frustrating.

On top of all that, Saturday morning there is a very difficult performance for me, and I just found out our day off (in place of Saturday) will be Friday! I hate having Fridays off before a show, because I feel I really need to do class (and rehearsals!) the day before a show. Not only do I want to prepare for my variation, but I want my partners to prepare as well! It's not fair :( WAHHHHHHHHHHH (this is my rant after all) And I am considering going in on Friday to do class myself and work a little, but that means I will work 13 days straight, plus it doesn't fix the partner problem.

Okay whew at least I got it out somewhere! Now I'll go have a pity party.... Happy Mardi Gras everyone!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Dear Sanna - All or Nothing

The last few weeks were kind of a rest period for me. The director started a new ballet, which I was uncharacteristically happy to not be part of. It's very rare that I prefer to not dance, but I have to say each new piece the director tries to choreograph is even worse than the last monstrosity. Not only is the choreography bad, but the process is extremely long and frustrating. Usually. But this time I was pleasantly surprised by the end result, and not completely upset when I found myself cast in the second part, involving four couples. Two of the other girls are well-seasoned principals, while the other is on her way, having premiered as the main dancer in the most recent of the director's pieces. So I am in great company (besides one TERRIBLE partner, but we are always switching, so none of us has to suffer with him for too long) and the process is even kind of nice. Plus I was getting bored going home at 3:00 or earlier every day while the director choreographed first movement!

But of course it's not just this that contributes to my suddenly busy schedule. We also started rehearsing a full-length ballet (complete with guests from the Bolshoi in a beautiful theater!) Naturally, I was very excited for this, but it turns out to be not so great. My arch-enemy, the evil ballet mistress has taken over rehearsals! I cannot stand her or her way of "teaching". I use the term loosely, since she just expects everyone to somehow already know everything and prefers to enjoy herself dancing around (in a slightly different way each time) instead of telling us important details about the choreography and musicality. It is SO frustrating, especially when she yells at us for not knowing what we are doing and changing, for example, the position of the arms on a daily basis. Not to mention my legs are killing me from standing for so long in one position (but that's the corps for you, and I accept that).

And on top of that, we had a choreographer come today to set his contemporary piece on us. This is actually very exciting. I have never done anything like this and I think it is a great opportunity, although it is very far out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately he is only here for the weekend, and then he will leave and a student of his will take over rehearsals. So we need to use all the time we have, which meant grueling rehearsals today and Sunday, when I assume he will cast the piece. Oh yeah and there's two performances tomorrow. After swinging my legs and body around in ways I've never done before, smacking into others, myself, and the floor, I laboriously made it up the stairs to my apartment and iced, soaked, and slathered on the arnica. Please let my legs come back to life before tomorrow! On the bright side, the choreography is amazing, and the choreographer is a genuinely nice guy who is fun to work with. I think it will be a great piece. Wish me luck for tomorrow! The choreographer will be watching...