DAE News August 1, 2001




Hi Folks!



We're in production! And what is production without DRAMA?

Herewith, the Soap Opera:

There is a lot of brinksmanship in the production of a concert on a limited budget. Dancers can't commit to working with me until they know their schedule is free of other commitments. I'm used to this. But wouldn't you know that the places where I expect problems have been smooth sailing and where I usually find a surplus there's famine?

I'm tripping over talented men. Not only is Peter Boal returning to us from New York City Ballet, Ryan Kelly (also from NYCB) is joining us for a new duet with Abraham Miha. Right after Ryan and I agreed to work, a teacher in NYC introduced me to another principal dancer I actually had to turn away. It is never like this.

Talented woman are a joy, but they're usually not a rarity, even talented women under 5'4", which is what I need. The dancers already hired and returning (for those of you that know and love her for her red hair, Mary Carpenter will be back as well as Abraham) are shorter and the group is few enough that I want some cohesiveness. Try as I might, visiting studios, phoning, emailing everyone I knew, I just could not find four women. I decided to make an end run around the problem and instead of reviving Word Become Flesh, a quartet from 1996, I would revive Scherzo Fantastique, a trio from 1999. Much as I would like to see Word again, I'm also very fond of Scherzo, and really happy for the opportunity for Mary, who was magnificent in it when it was first performed, to dance it again.

So I had my three dancers and we started work on the trio. Problem solved, right?


Before noon on the second day of rehearsals, one of the women called me and said regretfully that a previous injury she thought was healing fast enough to perform was not. All of a sudden, I was short one short woman. Again.

The problem's not solved yet, but there's time. If any of you happen to know someone who'd fill the bill and would like to work with us, now is the time to recommend them, pronto! Mary and Parise (our newest dancer) have learned their parts quickly (the ballet is fast to teach because it's not very "steppy") We have a planned layoff next week while Abe and Mary teach a summer workshop in North Carolina. Will I find another woman before we start rehearsing? In desperation, will I turn a trio into a duet?



Peter and I have finished half of his solo so far. I chose a traditional Japanese Koto piece, Midare, which will be played live by Masayo Ishigure. It's an exciting challenge for both Peter and I; new and unfamiliar music and for the company, the first time we have used live music. The process is slower than for last year's solo, which almost felt like paint-by-numbers when I made it. This may only be hindsight, but somehow it seems that there were only a limited range of options of what I could do to the Shropshire Lad songs; there road was pretty clearly marked. I'm fascinated by the rhythms and structure of Midare, but also unused to them. It's a theme and variations and it took me several listenings before I could hear them. For my own purposes, though there are eight or nine variations, I think of the music as having two parts, a slow part that is a preparation for the faster conclusion. The first part is like a colloid; the notes just hang there. It makes a wonderful atmosphere and Peter dances beautifully (except when he kicks me accidentally in rehearsal like he did last Saturday.) We've chosen to remain abstract in this dance and let the atmosphere come from the music and steps rather than a plot line, in truth because I was happy with A Shropshire Lad and thought that trying to duplicate that dramatic formula would just produce a diluted result.


Yes, it's that time of year when you get those envelopes from Dance as Ever. It takes $40,000 to make a concert happen, ticket prices top out at $25. We can't make it on ticket sales alone. Please help to keep us dancing. This year, it's also possible to donate to us quickly and conveniently with a credit card by going to our home page and clicking on the yellow "donate now" button. It takes you to helping.org, an Internet clearinghouse for charities. There's no cost at all, either to you or to us; we get 100% of your donation and you save a stamp. If you do this, please email me so I know to watch for your gift and don't forget that you can make your donation go even farther by checking to see if your employer matches contributions.


As another incentive for generosity, if you'd like to get an early peek at the solo and other works (with full casts, I hope!) we're having a special "sneak peek" rehearsal on Monday, 8/20 at 7:30 p.m. for Dance as Ever patrons. Peter will be performing the solo, we'll do excerpts from the other ballets and you'll get to meet the dancers at a small reception, all in an informal studio setting. We'd like attendees to make a donation of $50 (or if you'd like to give more, it is deeply appreciated!) at this fundraiser. If you, or someone you know in NYC would love a behind the scenes peek and a chance to meet Peter and the dancers, email me for more details.


If you've never gotten to see our concerts, and would be curious to see what all the fuss is, we have videotapes available. They are professionally filmed and edited.

If you would like tapes of our concerts (1996, 1999 or 2000), please send a check for $25 ($30 overseas, NTSC video) made out to "Dance as Ever, Inc." (NOT ME) to:

Att: Leigh Witchel

Dance as Ever, Inc.

36 West 44th Street, 707

New York, NY 10036


I can tell it's production time. The apartment has again approached core meltdown. I'm dangerously low on clean underwear and stepping on piles of laundry. Javi thinks it's great, she gets to nest in them. At least there is still food in the refrigerator.

The big surprise is that my knitting slump ended shortly after the last newsletter and I'm happily finishing projects, including a hat and a sweater I had been working on for months. Usually during the concert I am too enervated to knit, but because we're restaging a work right now rather than making a new one, that mental fatigue is not there. We'll see what happens when I get to making new works.

In our next newsletter, I'll talk more about the raffle and auction fundraisers and you'll get to meet our dancers. Or at least, the ones who I've got!

As ever!



If you’d like to be on a mailing list for my knitting writing or one for dance writing, just let me know.


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