Last Saturday we had our fist revival of the season: The little black dress/ The riot of spring.
The first act, The little black dress , a neo classical ballet choreographed by Terence Kohler, tells the story of Coco Chanel, and how she has impacted feminism by liberating women from the constraints of the “corseted silhouette” and popularizing casual chic as the feminine standard of style.
The second act, The riot of spring, is about Stravinsky and the process of creation of The rite of Spring (Le sacre du printemps). Although Le sacre was composed to be performed as a ballet choreographed by Nijinski, when first performed, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and a near-riot in the audience.
The whole ballet is set to Stravinsky music that is played live by our Orchestra.
Bringing a ballet back from past seasons is a easier and faster process than creating a new ballet. We usually have one week of rehearsals to replace a few people and to remember the steps, and usually one stage rehearsal that involves everything, costumes, sets, lights, and in this case the orchestra.
Last week has been extra busy for me though, because apart from dancing my original place in the group, i had the chance to jum into a role i was understudying: Misia. Misia is Coco Chanel’s best friend and a very well known and influential socialite in the 1920s, and a lot of fun to play. This role was created for my friend Harriet Mills, and she dances it beautifully, so it meant i had big shoes to fill and i had to give it my best.
Usually for a revival we only rehearse with our teachers and coaches, but this time we also had the chance to rehearse with the choreographer Terence Kohler, since he was coming to change the music in one of the scenes. This was great, because sometimes when the show has been running for a while some of the details get a little bit lost, so it was great to be reminded of all those little things that can make or break a ballet. It also made the week a little more stressful though, we changed the scene on Thursday night and we went on stage on Friday night for the general rehearsal. its a funny feeling being unsure on stage since usually you have so much studio time before a show that muscle memory kicks in and you are left to enjoy the role, but when your brain is still thinking about the steps, its a little harder to get 100% behind the role you are playing.
But there was no time to think about it too much, thankfully on Saturday morning we got to run the scene again, and did some last minute corrections, and on Saturday night Coco Chanel was back in full glory. I had a lot of fun playing Misia, and i think everyone else had fun on stage as well… And of course, as usual our orchestra was great! Having live music is always an honor, and we are definitely spoiled to have a great level orchestra in the house. (more posts coming on that).
Well, its been a very busy week and i am very grateful to have two free days to rest now.