According to PNB’s website, there are still tix available for their $5 Friday this week.
I highly recommend throwing on your lightest outfit, gathering up some friends, and making your way to the sweaty studio for this one-hour preview. PNB puts on a similar event for donors; I went to it last night in a somewhat gloomy mood and left with an exhilaration that lasted the rest of the evening.
At $5, these studio rehearsals are a great way to start your weekend…a great way to introduce ballet to a friend…a great way to get a peek behind the scenes. For example, while waiting in the lobby last night, through the windows we could see Jonathan Porretta choreographing a piece in one studio, Stanko Milov choreographing in another studio, and a coaching going on in the main studio.
At $5 Fridays, you sit just a few feet from the dancers. (Try sitting on the side rather than in the front.) Jumps look higher this close, lifts look scary, and you get a chance to see how much work goes into this art form whose goal is so often to make things look effortless. (Dancers do breathe, hard, and while you usually can’t tell that when they’re onstage, you can definitely see it this close up. It gives you a greater appreciation for the sheer amount of energy they put into what they do.)
I’m really excited for this rep, which opens a week from today. After the Rain and Dances at a Gathering will showcase PNB dancers’ ability to bring honesty and individualism to their roles. Symphony in C, which rounds out the rep, is a technical challenge that allows us to see almost everybody in the company working together. I find the music for Symphony in C a little boring, so the dancers’ technical brilliance takes on a greater importance for me with this piece. Francia Russell stages it, and the company recently focused on the classical with Swan Lake, so it should be good.
If you’re prepping before you go:
PNB has posted some light notes here.
I found a long entry on Dances at a Gathering in Balanchine’s Complete Stories of the Great Ballets. If you have a copy, it would be worth pulling the book off the shelf and reading this entry, which includes an interview with the choreographer. The entry for Symphony in C is a little less exciting, but it does give you a sense of what to expect…and I think with Symphony in C, that increases appreciation. There are no entries on After the Rain, which premiered in 2005.
I found a few clips on YouTube besides the PNB After the Rain video I posted here yesterday. Here they are.
NYCB’s Meghan Fairchild in Dances at a Gathering –
NYCB – Rehearsal of Symphony in C
Miami City Ballet – Symphony C
Houston Ballet – Symphony C – Revving up for the finale…all hands on deck…