Ballet Squid Chronicles: The Philip Glass Project — Possibilities
So I’ve been listening to lots of Glass, and I’m feeling like his short piece “The Poet Acts” (from the soundtrack for the film, The Hours) and his longer piece “The Light” are going to work brilliantly.
I’m envisioning a pas de quatre for “The Poet Acts,” with no hierarchical distinctions, just a lot of fluidly-interchanging parts. I suppose if there were any hierarchical distinctions, it might not properly be a pas de quatre.
For “The Light” I’m envisioning something with a larger corps (recruiting and setting the piece on more than 10 dancers might be pretty much impossible; I’m not that organized and, you know, Burning Man, so it’s not like I can suck up everybody’s entire week, unless they really want to spend a week the desert trying to make ballet happen as much as I do) and maybe a couple of featured dancers who emerge from and are absorbed back into the corps at various points.
“The Light” is much longer than “The Poet Acts,” and there’s a lot of opportunity in there to play with lines, circles, and lifts. What I’m envisioning for the principals regardless of gender is something more like what Bourne does with the Swan and the Prince in his version of Swan Lake: less traditional; almost more catch-and-release than lift-and-support (or, heaven forbid, lift-and-separate, which is what happens when your lifts go badly, from what I’ve heard).
There’s also a lot of opportunity in “The Light” to make use of groups of dancers doing different, even opposing things.
I can’t help but notice how the percussive instruments in “The Light” actually remind me of Tchaikovsky in the context of ballet. There are brilliant little cues built in to the music. That’s one of the thing I really enjoy about watching the Tchaikovsky ballets — Tchaikovsky tucked these beautiful little cues in all over the place that are profoundly useful both for dancers and for the audience.
The funny thing is, this doesn’t seem like it should be much more daunting from a choreographic perspective than Copland, and I’ve seen Copland ballets (including Martha Graham’s “Appalachian Spring”).
So I think it will work, if I can give myself a crash course in creating and setting choreography on dancers.
I’ve got a year. How hard can it be*?
*Yes, that’s supposed to be ironic, there. Don’t worry; I’m not that manic. Yet.