DAE News: August 16, 2003
Greetings from newly electrified New York City! Well, as those of you who have been following Dance as Ever know, it isn't Dance as Ever without an uncontrollable crisis. I prefer not to comment any further than that; these sorts of events have happened consistently enough to spook me. We lost two days of rehearsal on the new ballet and we're working to make up lost time.
Help us meet our fund raising goals! We're more than 3/4 of the way to meeting our matching grant! If you are either a new donor to the company or you haven't donated since 2001, there's no better time than now. Grace Judson, a great friend of the company, will match those donations from now until August 31. We've so far raised over $1,500 in matching funds, thank you so much! Won't you help us to break our goal for new-source donations of $2,000? It's easy to donate - all the information you need is at www.danceasever.org/DAEgetin.htm#donate
If you're one of those wonderful people who doesn't qualify for matching because you donated last year, please consider renewing your support. You're the backbone of what we do, and in these times it feels like we're just trying to tread water financially. We've got to raise $50,000 to make this happen. Every donor and donation matters to us. Thank you so much for any contribution you care to make. We really can't do it without you.
Want to do something besides write a check? There's plenty of help we need, backstage, front of house and before the show, from helping out at the auction tables to hosting a dinner before the show or offering a spare room to a clean, friendly technical director or videographer for a few nights. There's a full list of volunteer opportunities at http://www.danceasever.org/DAEgetin.htm#volunteerhelp
The auction is up and accepting bids! A few weeks ago I went to visit Mary LoSardo, who coordinates our auction, and she showed me what people had donated. What a haul, folks.
We've got several amazing shawls this year. Gayle Roehm did one in an ingenious combination of cables and lace. Judy Sumner and Danny Ouellette both did lace shawls in variegated wools; Judy's is like a spring afternoon and Danny's a fall wine harvest. Grace Judson, the Fastest Knitter in America (and the woman who made it possible for us to commission a new score) *wove* a shawl in the softest blue.
Both Melissa Leapman and Joan Schrouder contributed sweaters from publications. Mary and I did hats. And apologies to the makers of the beautiful stuff I didn't even get to mention. You can see it all (and bid on it too!) at www.danceasever.org/DAEauction.htm.
While Mary and I were organizing the auction, Judy Sumner reminded her that she got her first opportunities in knitting design because of a bidding war on a pair of socks she had donated. That's my favorite part of the auction; what it inspires. And it helps raise a goodly chunk of our budget, too.
We're beginning the third week of rehearsals; rehearsing principally the new piece, The New Rome, and Alexandra and I are making the solo. We lost Thursday and Friday on The New Rome, but Alexandra and I had finished our Thursday rehearsal about an hour before the blackout.
"Everything is important" - Alexandra said that in passing, describing her priorities, and I think it sums up her artistic personality. She and Peter take opposing roads to get to the same destination. His reserve gets released on stage. Like in opera where the emotions are too great for mere speech - it must become song, Alexandra lives naturally at a higher pitch; the stage is the only logical place to contain the overflow. They're both utterly fulfilling to work with.
I feel like the rust in my brain from months of choreographic inactivity is beginning to clear and I'm starting to feel less like an artistic director and more like an artist again, although there's nothing to throw you like 20 hours without electricity. The New Rome is interesting for what it isn't; which is topical. The original impetus for the piece was current events. It's completely abstract; everything expressionist or topical was pared out of it ruthlessly by last Monday. I looked at an opening section I had made reminiscent of people walking to work in the early morning, looked at the dancers and said, "That's no good. I'll make something better." The music is beautiful, almost like a hymn, and it felt like they weren't doing anything that lived up to it. I made a pas de deux instead. It's not that I haven't done more theatrical pieces, but it's not what's in the music, the dancers, or me at the moment.
Alexandra's solo reminds me of Shropshire in one sense; as that was meant to present Peter, this is meant to place her before us, to give us an "Alexandra Ansanelli experience." It's pitched a shade duskier than her usual brightness because of the music, a violin passacaglia by a German Baroque composer, Heinrich Biber. The passacaglia is a form with a repeating bass line, which gives it austerity and it's traditionally used for meditations on serious themes. The four falling notes that return and repeat are what structure the piece, and its situation. The idea I've been working with is a vignette like the descent of a female Orpheus. We see her at a pause on the way down. So far it seems relatively clean in construction; but there's some filigree, especially in the footwork, and a few moments of virtuosity - for the Alexandra Ansanelli experience.
More as it happens!
Leigh Witchel [email@example.com]
Alexandra Ansanelli and Peter Boal perform with Dance as Ever 9/18-21, 2003 at the Theatre of the Riverside Church, New York, NY. For more information visit http://www.danceasever.org.
Copyright 2003 Dance As Ever. All rights reserved. Dance as Ever and the Dance as Ever logo are trademarks of Dance as Ever, Inc.
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