By Miami City Ballet's Sara Esty
The mood is a little tense as Alexei Ratmansky peeks in the window during our warm-up barre. The dancers exchange smiles, as if to agree silently to our excitement. After class, we are all introduced to Mr. Ratmansky, and settle in for a talk. He greets us warmly, and at once all our nerves seem to disappear.
Mr. Ratmansky tells us about his thoughts and ideas for his piece, and it becomes clear almost immediately that this man is a genius. "There is no direct story," he says. "But it is my hope that the characters will provide a plot through this music." The music--Sergei Rachmaninoff’s "Symphonic Dances"--is, in fact, incredible. It's deliciously dramatic.
As rehearsal starts, he divides us up, and begins working with the men. Watching him work is interesting because he moves exactly the way he wants his dancers to move, and knows precisely what he wants, down to the count in the music. He works diligently, and plays around with steps that he thinks might look better on the dancers. That being said, he is not afraid to challenge us. There is no doubt in my mind that we will all be sore tomorrow!
Next he begins to work with the women, often repeating the mens' steps with feminine differences here and there. We flash priceless glances at each other--it's clear that this is going to be awesome. I'm already loving the experience, and it has only just begun!
Miami City Ballet's Sara and Leigh-Ann Esty are guest-blogging about their rehearsal experience with Alexei Ratmansky, who's setting a new ballet, Symphonic Dances, on the company. Stay tuned for more entries and photos!