During the past two weeks, I was quite busy performing in English National Ballet’s quadruple bill “Voices of America” at Sadler’s Wells. It consisted of four pieces with one thing in common, they were all created by North American choreographers. The ballets were: “Fantastic Beings” by Aszure Barton, “The Cage” by Jerome Robbins, and “Approximate Sonata” and “Playlist (Tracks 1,2)” both by William Forsythe. The latter was a piece commissioned by our artistic director for the boys of the company, so the opening night of the program was its World Premiere, a very exciting moment!
I was lucky to have the opportunity to perform in two of the four ballets: “Fantastic Beings” and “The Cage”. We did a total of thirteen performances, and I was in all of them (like most of the corps de ballet) switching in between the two pieces.
Everything about these ballets is extremely different, their music, costumes, styles, and their subject. Both are neoclassical pieces, but have nothing else in common besides that, which is what made them interesting to rehearse and perform. In “The Cage”, the girls are meant to be insects who prey on the men who intrude their space and way of life (we end up “killing” two men in the duration of the piece). In “Fantastic Beings” the dancers are turned into an indistinguishable species that moves to the rhythm of its own groove, but without any clear storyline. Each piece was nice to dance for specific reasons, “The Cage” for me was all about the opportunity to become a man-eating, insect-like creature and have fun with the character that I was playing while still keeping my femininity, and “Fantastic Beings” was a way for me to find my individuality whilst enjoying the choreography more and more every performance.
The rehearsal process for both ballets was as opposing as the ballets themselves. For “The Cage” we rehearsed everyday and were stage ready like a week before opening night; now for “Fantastic Beings” I was part of the second cast, which meant that we were on in the second show having had just two rehearsals, so THAT was a bonding experience for us, haha! In the end, we performed and everyone did really well so I was very proud of my second cast friends and colleagues!
The last performance was yet another bonding experience, but this time for the entire company, because all of us got to take part in an encore as a thank you to the choreographers and repetiteurs (people with the rights to set the ballet in the place of the choreographer) for giving us this amazing program and letting us make it our own every performance! I leave you with a video of this very fun moment for us on the stage! Hope you like it!
Until next time,
Costume for “Fantastic Beings” designed by: Michelle Jank
Costume for “The Cage” designed by: Ruth Sobotka