Two weeks ago, BalletCollective boarded the 7:57am Harlem Line train at Grand Central to Wassaic, New York for an unknown adventure: our first Millbrook Residency! Suit cases were packed first with leotards, tights, dance belts, warm-up booties, tennis balls, pointe shoes, ballet slippers, and then sunglasses, bathing suits, sundresses, blazers and polo attire!
Straight from the train station, with a quick pit stop to buy brown bag lunches, the dancers were driven to the Millbrook School where we were greeted by the school staff.(The greeting actually happened daily! They were beyond sweet.) We were then given a tour of the beautiful facilities, a studio with large windows with lush country landscapes in view, art work-lined hallways, a fully functioning kitchen, a comfy lounge, dressing rooms filled with fun costumes, and, most importantly, a quiet sense of calm.
Troy set huge goals for BalletCollective during our two week residency in Millbrook. He and his collaborators, whom I will cover in detail in posts to come, had planned two ballets totaling 33 minutes! Troy figured that he should try to accomplish 3 minutes daily in an effort to complete all 33 by the conclusion of the residency. Yet even he thought this was near impossible.
The dancers quickly dressed for the day’s work and Troy began creating. After a quick ballet class warm-up, Troy began with the ladies section of the group ballet, soon to be titled. A series of steps were developed on us, consisting of 4 counts of music per part: part A, B, C, D; the four ladies, myself included, were excited about learning the rest of the ballet. The music is filled with song, a jiving tempo and a deep sense of introspection.
Troy then moved on to the second ballet, an 8 minute male pas de deux for Taylor and David. Having never started two ballets in one day before, Troy was unsure of how this would unfold. While I served as his assistant, working the ipad and blue tooth for music and documenting the choreography, Troy took off running. The conversation of the steps came skipping out. It soon was 5pm and Troy had met his goal of three minutes of choreography!
We all piled into three cars, a Suburban, Expedition, and truck (generously lent for the residency by three board members who all have homes in Millbrook) and drove to our new home for the next two weeks. Pulling up to the beautiful, yet grand farm house was like something out of a movie. We were so excited to start our adventure of living and being immersed in the Millbrook community while doing what we love! A "Welcome BBQ" started off the BalletCollective festivities hosted by Karin, our host, that included sausages, steak, corn on the cob, summer pasta, a salad filled with greens from her garden and red wine. We toasted to a wonderful two weeks ahead, working hard and playing hard, and to the people who made this possible. We are beyond grateful.
We'd like to thank the Millbrook School and Darren Henault, Claire Mann and Karin Day Kingsley (three of BalletCollective's board members), for their never-ending generosity, organization, love and desire to help BalletCollective and its artists continue to do what we love!