In my last couple of post, I mentioned that I'm staging a mini-production of Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake with my students this spring.
Even abridged, that's a huge undertaking. We haven't even started rehearsing yet, but I'm already freaking out a little bit. What was I thinking?
I chose this ballet for a number of reasons. First, it's fairly easy to abridge. I'd love to do a full-length production of a classical work in the future, but for now, my resources are too limited to be able to do that well. I think we'll still be able to tell a cohesive story with our shorter length version with a little creativity. I also wanted the first ballet HMAC tackled to be something familiar to most audiences.
Casting such a major, iconic ballet with a small number of students is proving a challenge. Swan Lake traditionally has a very large corps de ballet. I'm working with a total cast of about twenty dancers (about half of whom are under the age of ten). I have some blocking ideas for how to make the stage seem fuller and plan to use my little ones and jazz students as supers (extras) when needed. While I don't have many dancers advanced enough to tackle the Petipa and Ivanov's iconic choreography, I'm trying to model mine after the original as much as possible. I'm excited for the challenge this will give my more advanced students, particularly those playing the principal roles. I hope Swan Lake will push them to hone their acting and performance skills along with their technical prowess.
Thanks to the freezing cold weather in our neck of the woods, I have an extra two days out of the studio to edit music and work on choreography. In spite of my stress and nerves, I'm ecstatic to bring this gorgeous music to life on stage for local audiences!