I’m back in my office from our first rehearsal day of the 2009-10 season. We started staging Don Quixote today, and the studios are crackling with energy.
Anna-Marie Holmes is staging the work and David Palmer and I are assisting her. We really ripped through the material quickly today and because of Anna-Marie’s wit I can see the artists are going to have a lot of fun with this project. Eight dancers are learning the lead roles of Kitri, the ballet’s feisty heroine and the dashing young barber Basilio, her prank-loving suitor. Jonathan Jordan, Jared Nelson, new-comer Brooklyn Mack, and Norton Fantinel are all learning Basilio, and the role calls for some major pyrotechnics. It was fun to see the friendly competition to see who could do the wildest reveletade and pull in from turn in second with the greatest number of pirouettes. Rui Huang, Maki Onuki, Jade Payette and Laura Urgelles are all working on Kitri, and we’ll be joined by internationally recognized Cuban ballerina Viengsay Valdes, who will arrive in mid-September (the Visa was just approved—whew!). Not all of the dancers learning the part will do it in October, but I think Don Q will remain in the repertoire and we’ll see them all grow in the role over time. Once Anna-Marie has set the ballet, David Palmer and I will be in charge of rehearsing different sections, and I’m taking on Espada and the Toreodors—roles for TWB’s extraordinary men. We worked on that section for a couple of hours today and there’s a great sense of play among the artists. It’s great to be back in the studio again.