Between episodes of attempting to catch a cheeky groundhog and putting in my first-ever vegetable garden, spring arrived here in Vermont in earnest. The lawn needs mowing and the house needs dusting. My Subi needs its snow tires off and oil changed. I need to wash the windows to welcome in the warm sunshine at long last. There are still more outside chores–lots of them.
There is no time for any of this at the moment. The young students at the ballet school where I teach are learning the last bit of their choreography for the spring performance, to be mounted in five short weeks <chews nails>. I teach most levels there–all of them really–but my primary responsibility lies with the children from age four through about eleven. This year the school director asked me to create something original for all of the younger enrollees, set to French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals.
It will come off beautifully, of course. But we are in that disquieting place just now where we are hoping it comes off beautifully, rethinking timing, and spacing, and the complexity of some of the movement, second guessing ourselves. The Carnival cast is huge. Yesterday after our first full run-through I did a mental body count and arrived at something approaching thirty-five warm bodies who will be on the stage all at once twice during the ballet. That is a lot of little people, plus a few bigger ones who will have beautiful solos set by my colleagues and will help with some artful herding (pun intended, of course).
We had high expectations of our young students yesterday, and almost without exception they delivered. (This did not stop me from requesting just one more full cast rehearsal, please, in addition to what we’ve already got on the call board.) I also asked for these lovely photos; all were made during yesterday’s rehearsal, and provided courtesy of school director Jackie Stanton-Conley.
Another academic year draws to a close, another spring performance waits in the wings.
I think we should add a groundhog to the ballet to make it more Vermontish. What do you think, M. Saint-Saëns?