Berkeley Ballet Theater Choreography Mentorship Proposal
My siblings tell me I was always moving as the youngest of five growing up in rural California. I desperately wanted dance lessons but no dance teachers taught in our town. I saw dances on TV and made up ballets wearing plastic tumblers for toe shoes and convinced my older sister to sew me a kilt for a Scottish dance I performed on top of the family picnic table.
In high school I took PE modern dance classes for three years. My friends and I made up dances while the gym teacher took donut breaks. Our audience-pleasing specialty became “Green Slime” dances. You can imagine dancer-protoplasm rising out of the green slime to seek the sun, seeing each other, konking each other over the head, and one-by-one sinking back into the green slime.
At twenty I took my first modern technique class at UC Santa Cruz and fell hard in belated love. I studied composition and improvisation with Tandy Beal, Ruth Solomon and Marcia Esposito. My end of term choreography was frequently voted to be included in the quarterly open showings.
Clutching my BA degree in Aesthetic Studies, Performance, I moved to Berkeley with my composer husband and started a contemporary dance/music company called “Dancing Ear, Inc.” We did six seasons and received three grants from the Zellerbach Foundation. A highlight was structuring an entirely improvised concert with pianist Art Lande, oboist, Paul McCandless, and four dancers.
More recently I was awarded a grant from ODC/SF and won a Take Five competition for my choreography. I’ve studied with Leonard Pitt (mime), Dana Lawton (modern dance), and David Ford (solo performance). Since April 2018, I’ve finally taken the ballet classes at BBT I longed for when, as a child, I stared endlessly at my ballerina wallpaper.
To this mentorship project I bring my creative ideas and humor. I hope to gain help counting my steps, convey the steps and counts to the dancers, and bring the piece up to performance quality.
Dance Genre: Classical and Contemporary
Dance Title: “Almost Late”
Music Choice: An original jazz piece, “Almost There” by Victor Spiegel. Hear it on SoundCloud:
Dance Concept: A dancer hops and spins into class unsuccessfully tries and then gives up putting on her ballet slipper. The “class” is a speeded up version of an intro ballet class with treading, cat/cow, battements tendus, pliés, ronds de jambes, fondus, frappés, petits battements, developpés, ronds de jambes en l’air, grands battements and finally, stretching arranged for a unison A section. During the B and C sections, pony steps, i.e. “comping” supports solos, duets and trios. At the musical turnaround, dancers peel off leaving “class” and the late dancer alone as the music finishes. In silence a male dancer, “Prince” (ala Cinderella) presents her with her ballet slipper. Lights fade.