Inside the Studios...
Inside the SFB studios our "off season" days continue. It is always an interesting time of year due to the fact that we don't have many opportunities to perform, yet we are in the studio all day everyday working away. This time of the year is when the company learns the entire rep for what we call the "performing season," which runs from January through May. We also will work on whatever ballets will be taken on tour that year. Every company is different in the way that it's year is scheduled, and for us we split the War Memorial Opera House with the SF Opera in a way that gives them a consecutive half of the year and gives us the other consecutive half. So, what this means is that right now we are all working on and rehearsing the ballets for our London tour, DC tour, as well as the entire 2013 season.
Lately we have been focusing mostly on "Suite en Blanc" and Christopher Wheeldon's new "Cinderella." From the first time I saw San Francisco Ballet the first thing that stood out to me was the diversity that it offers in it's repertoire -- I think what we are working on right now is a perfect example of this. With choreography by Serge Lifar, "Suite en Blanc" was first performed in 1943 by the Paris Opera Ballet and is still a staple in their repertoire. It is a very technically difficult ballet, and has many stylistic challenges that come along with it. Maina Gielgud has been here to set and coach the ballet and it has been wonderful to work with her. I have been craving more classical ballet where every little detail is looked at, and that is exactly what we are getting with "Suite en Blanc." Along with a diversity in the repertoire San Francisco Ballet also has a diverse group of dancers. While this can be a great thing, when performing a ballet such as "Suite en Blanc" it can also pose quite a challenge. I feel that this ballet, as well as working with Marina Gielgud is going to push the company and allow us to all to grow as dancers.
Our other adventure has been the new full-length creation of Christopher Wheeldon's "Cinderella," which is a co-production with Het National Ballet in every sense of the word. Not only is the technical stuff being split such as costumes and sets, but the choreographing process as well! Christopher Wheeldon is here working with us right now, and then will go to Het National Ballet to finish choreographing the rest. I think this is such a wonderful and interesting way to put a brand new production together. We all know that budgeting for the arts it tight no matter where you go in the world today, and this idea of co-production is something that benefits everyone involved. For me personally, "Cinderella" is also giving me an opportunity to feel what it is really like to be choreographed on. We are very lucky with how many new works we get to do in this company, but for the most part in past creations I have either been second cast or in a very large group of dancers. This time around though I've had the opportunity to be one in a group of four or five dancers, and it has been exhilarating to feel that certain steps and ideas of Wheeldon's are being molded on me and my partner. It truly does make you crave more, and I am remembering how much I love that creating process.
I hope this gives you a better idea about what the company has been up to lately. While the SF audience may not be able to see the final results for another 5 months or more, we are working diligently now to make those moments onstage and perfect and free as possible. The ballets switch out every few weeks so I'll most likely be writing again soon about the next set of repertoire and rehearsals - until then!