Two weeks down, two to go.
Rehearsals for 3 by Dove have devoured my existence for the last two weeks. The Dove ballets are some of the most physically and mentally challenging, yet rewarding works I have ever learned. For this rep I am learning roles in Dove’s Red Angels, and Serious Pleasures, and Victor Quijada’s Suspension of Disbelief.
It was actually back in July that I first began to learn, and work through the Dove ballets. I was fortunate enough to travel with PNB to Jacob’s Pillow in August to perform an all Dove program including Red Angels, Vespers, and Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven. During that summer rehearsal period, Parrish Maynard also visited to begin setting Serious Pleasures. It was quite a lot of work. SO much choreography. I had to take in years worth of information in a few short weeks (also, years worth of ice baths). I was dancing with/alongside the principles and soloists of the company, dancers with vastly greater experience than me. Intimidating? Absolutely. But thankfully everyone was extremely helpful and kind, and made me feel like part of the team.
The thing that I find so special about Dove’s work is that he choreographed his life. Everything he created was an expression of his personal experience. Each ballet is deeply meaningful, poignant even. Vespers he made in memory of his grandmother. “Front Porch” lamented his experience with love and loss. “Pleasures” explores his view and encounters with human sexual nature. Each piece contains real-life experiences, and ones that each of us can relate to, whether as the audience or the dancer.
As a performer it is a great challenge to take on a work where the choreographer has set the bar so high by pouring their soul in to it. In one of my Red Angels rehearsals last week Peter mentioned about Ulysses, “If you had good extension, he wanted better. If you had a high arabesque, he wanted it higher.” We want to honor what Ulysses originally intended the piece to be and so we push ourselves to work harder, and perform beyond what we think is possible.
My goal in this profession is to always be growing, changing, learning, experiencing, and giving everything I have. The Dove work has really helped me push myself and better understand the importance of continually maturing in this art, but also just in life too.
I remember the first time I saw Red Angels. I was 15 and a student in the school, but was performing in the corps of Diamonds. I stuck around after an onstage Jewels rehearsal because the company was having a dress rehearsal for the "8 Encores" performance. The excerpts from the other ballets were nice and I enjoyed them, but something about Red Angels electrified me. The energy of the piece was unlike anything I had seen. I left the theater in awe, inspired, and positive that I had to perform that ballet someday. That day came much sooner than I thought.