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{Balanchine Celebration}

I am sorry that I have had such a large gap between this post and the last in September, but I have had quite a bit on my plate. Since September, the Carolina Ballet has performed 11-shows of “A Balanchine Celebration,” 21-shows of “The Nutcracker” and now we are a few days away from an 11-shows of our “Rhapsody in Blue/Lynne Taylor-Corbett” program. Yes, busy busy!

Back in October, when we were performing the Balanchine program, I was fortunate enough to have performed two of my favorite ballets I learned as a student at School of American Ballet, SAB – Apollo and Who Cares? They were more enjoyable than I could have imagined. It was amazing how much material I still retained from over five years ago in school. I thought it would be interesting for you, as the audience members, to know a bit of history behind the pieces and the amount of hours I spent in the studio before performing it on stage.

Let me start with Apollo. It is George Balanchine’s oldest surviving ballet (choreographed in 1928) set to Igor Stravinsky music; this marks the beginning of his relationship with Stravinsky. It was originally danced by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russe. *Fun Fact: New costumes were designed by Coco Chanel in 1929, but were later changed.  The ballet includes Apollo (Greek god of music) and his three muses: Terpsichore (dance), Polyhymnia (mime), and Calliope (poetry). Originally, Balanchine included a prologue that depicted the birth of Apollo, but many versions nowadays exclude this scene.

Apollo itself is 28 minutes.  From my first studio rehearsal on September 18th 2012 till my first stage rehearsal on October 10th 2012, I had a total of 10.5 hours of rehearsal.  These rehearsals were divided through the weeks by separate variations and particular casts, mine being the “Tall Cast,” of course. Here is the break down of my rehearsals.

My “Calliope” variation = Total of 2 hrs,

All three complete casts = Total of 5 hrs, and

“Tall Cast” complete runs = Total of 3.5 hrs.

And with a final 45 minutes on stage before the shows, we were ready to go!

Now Who Cares? was a blast. It was choreographed in 1970 and set to the fabulous songs of George Gershwin, orchestration by Hershy Kay. Thirty-three years after Gershwin’s death in 1937, Balanchine chose seventeen of his Broadway musical songs for this ballet. How could you not dance to this music!?

The complete Who Cares? is 40 minutes, but our version (without the opening and the 12 girls dance) is 30 minutes. I was one of the five soloist girls, who have a girls dance and a pas de deux section. Here is the rehearsal break down.

Girls Dance: Total of 7 hrs, and

Complete Soloist Casts: Total of 13 hrs.

And with one hour for each cast on stage, it was show time!

With a total of over 30 rehearsal hours both productions were ready to be on stage. You also need to keep in mind I am only counting the rehearsals I was called to. Carolina Ballet, and most other dance companies, have at last two casts of each role in cast of injury.

Below are some beautiful photographs by Tim Lytvinenko from both pieces performed last October. Enjoy.

Lilyan Vigo Ellis and Timour Bourtasenkov in George Balanchine’s “Apollo.” Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Lilyan Vigo Ellis and Timour Bourtasenkov in George Balanchine’s “Apollo.” Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Timour Bourtasenkov with moving muses in George Balanchine's "Apollo." Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Timour Bourtasenkov with moving muses in George Balanchine’s “Apollo.” Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Lindsay Purrington as the "Calliope" muse with Timour Bourtasenkov in George Balanchine's "Apollo." Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Lindsay Purrington as the “Calliope” muse with Timour Bourtasenkov in George Balanchine’s “Apollo.” Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Timour Bourtasenkov and his muses in the final pose in George Balanchine's "Apollo." Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Timour Bourtasenkov and his muses in the final pose in George Balanchine’s “Apollo.” Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Lindsay Purrington and Yevgeny Shlapko in George Balanchine's "Who Cares?" Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

Lindsay Purrington and Yevgeny Shlapko in George Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

The cast of George Balanchine's "Who Cares?" Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

The cast of George Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” Photo by © Tim Lytvinenko.

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