Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fire Island Continued...

First Performance
Fire Island Rep Picture
BalletCollective is "on deck"! I disrobe, taking off my Uniqlo warmups and my American Apparel legwarmers, and Troy gives Harrison and me one last "Merde". The hosts of the event begin announcing Dear and Blackbirds, talking about BalletCollective and its mission, as Harrison and I give each other a tight hug! We head to the stage stairs, I dab one last bit of rosin on my point shoes, and we both make our way up on to the amazing stage. The view is breath taking, the sun is smiling, and the audience is attentive. As we take our places, I look at Harrison and say "This is so freaking cool!"

The music begins! We walk.

Dear and Blackbirds is a ten minute pas de deux, yet only seven of those minutes was premiered. It is an intense duet that portrays a journey in the relationship of these two people, Harrison a young lad, and I an older, more experienced woman. He, at times, is a bit rambunctious, filled with young energy, not quite sure what he is doing or what he yet wants in life. As for my role, I know exactly what I want and need and go after those desires. We begin by walking, yet even at the start we each want to be going in different directions. The push and pull of our dynamic is evident. I get feisty; he accidentally throws me to the ground. After some time we meet in the middle - both in regard to each others' energy and personality as well as their journey to togetherness.  I won't give it all away... but it is one of the most special pieces I have ever danced. It feels right in every way.

The first performance was interesting, though a bit nerve-racking at the start. As Harrison and I held hands to begin, the energy was flowing with slight shaky waves coursing through our bodies. Soon after five counts of eight we were off and in it. No more signs of nerves! The middle transition musical cue went well and before I knew it we were in the last movement. The emotions were there, Harrison and I were connected.

Troy was super pleased with the ballet and I could tell he was happy (It was the first time he had seen it performed, ever!) though he mentioned to me that "the last movement was too sad." I was shocked at his comment. The last movement felt so real for me and I was really moved at our connection. I felt as though Harrison and I could read each other's thoughts, feelings and hearts. Yet, somehow it came across as too sad to him. I was utterly confused. I took a moment to unwind by myself, grabbed some water and then returned to await the final group bow.

The first show was done! It was 6:45pm and we were all headed back to the green room to freshen up as the second show was about to begin in fifteen minutes.

Since the turn around time was so short, the second show to start at 7pm, there was no need to re-warm up. I covered myself in my warm-ups and stretched to keep the blood flowing.

"Five minutes to the top of the show!" called the tech crew. After the opening number, the Romeo and Juliet balcony pas de deux, a speech was given. During the speech I was stretching backstage. Soon into the speech, the talking stopped, and the EMT's arrived. Someone in the audience needed medical assistance. Fortunately the gentleman was able to walk out of the venue with the EMT's to receive treatment. The audience and performers sat patiently while this played out.

Before long the show resumed and we were on deck again...

Due to the medical emergency, the show was delayed about 20 minutes, unfortunately for the gentleman who got sick, but fortunately for BalletCollective because Dear and Blackbirds was now to be performed in the prime sunset lighting!
Sunset Show
Photo by Troy Schumacher

Harrison and I stripped off our warm-ups, got our "Merde" hugs from Troy, and began to get pumped! I ran forwards and backwards to make sure my feet were awake (normally when you perform you have a chance to be on the stage a few moments before the piece starts to get the blood flowing or to try out a few steps). Seconds before we got the go ahead from the stage manager, I said to Harrison "It might be a long time before we do this pas de deux with sunset lighting again, so let's enjoy!"

We held hands and began...

The second show felt even better than the first. I hit my swivels (a swivel is a tricky step that seems like luck every time you try it - it's when someone basically just spins on one leg multiple times), the lighting was absolutely perfect and Harrison and I took the last movement to a different, less sad place emotionally. We had one minor glitch - in the third movement, but the audience didn't seem to react so we can't wait to see the video to analyze exactly what happened. (I would try to explain what happened but honestly I have no clue - one minute we were doing the steps, and the next we were both rolling on the ground.) We recovered quickly, maintaining our "in it faces" and finished out the pas de deux.

After the final bow, we all headed back to our hosts' houses, freshened up, and had a celebratory drink before the scheduled "performers dinner". After a delicious dinner, on our way back to the 50's beach house, we made a pit stop at the local bar Sip N Twirl, checked out the scene, and then called it a night!

It was a long day, and I was exhausted. More on our last day in the Pines tomorrow...

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