I have been so excited for this rep! It’s so versatile with a combination of elegant, contemporary, innovative, and captivating ballets. There is something about being able to experience four completely different ballets that is just so satisfying. It has been a hard but invigorating rehearsal period. The variety of ballets in this rep have taken a toll on my body. We rehearse Petite Mort, which is barefoot, and then we switch to pointe shoes for The Seasons, and then character shoes for West Side Story Suite. It took awhile for my body to adapt to these drastic level changes for my feet. There was a long period where my legs would ache, but I think my body’s gotten the hang of things. Although there has been pain, I could never imagine changing it for anything else. I love the ballets we are doing. This is definitely one my favorite reps we have done and are doing this year.
Six years ago I saw Petite Mort on the Arts channel, and I fell in love with that ballet immediately. It became one of the ballets on my “I am dying to dance list” and now I have the opportunity to perform it. Jiri Kylian’s choreography is very complimentary and beautifully accented with Mozart’s exquisite music. The best part for me is that I am partnering with my husband, Karel Cruz, who loves this piece as well. I can’t tell you how many times over the years we have watched this ballet on YouTube. You could say we are slightly obsessed. It was wonderful working with Roslyn Anderson, who staged Petite Mort. She was so detailed with the choreography, that it felt like Kylian was there himself explaining the steps to us. We will always remember this experience and feel so grateful we are able to do this together.
I am also thrilled to perform West Side Story Suite again. Well to be honest, excited and nervous! In addition to dancing as one of the Shark girls, I am also dancing the role of Anita. This has been a difficult challenge for me because it involves singing! If you ask any of the dancers if I have a good voice, they will most definitely laugh in your face. Luckily, we have had a wonderful singing coach who has helped me tremendously. I love Anita’s character and the dancing so hopefully the audience will focus on that instead of my ‘singing’. When I found out I was cast as Anita, I sang for Karel and asked for his honest opinion. He looked at me with a grimace and said pointblank, “It doesn’t sound good”. I have been practicing in the car every day on my way to work for the past month. Hopefully, I’ve improved. Karel and I will also be dancing one show together which is always exciting for us.
Val Caniparoli is such a wonderful choreographer. I am a big fan of Lambarena and The Bridge. Stanko Milov and I were called into the rehearsal process after Val had choreographed The Seasons. We are learning ‘Autumn’, a section of the ballet that Karel and Ariana dance together. During our layoff, and down time in between rehearsals, Stanko and I learned our roles with the help of Ariana, Carrie, Karel, and Bold. We had one rehearsal with Val, in which he was very supportive and great to work with. We perform one show the second weekend, and are working very hard on it. Stanko and I are very excited to perform this ballet! It has been quite challenging for me because I am not used to dancing with partners. I’m used to dancing by myself. I’ve had to learn with Stanko’s encouragement to let him do everything! It’s still something I struggle with but, I hope it will get better.
I don’t have much to say about Mopey since it’s a male solo. However, in one open rehearsal an audience member said that they would like to see a woman do that piece. As Peter looked around at the company women, I do believe every head was turned in the opposite direction! What a triumphant piece though. To me, it seems like being able to get through an almost fifteen-minute solo is extremely impressive.
I know all the dancers are pumped about this rep! We hope the audience enjoys it and comes more than once!