Pennsylvania Ballet presents Trey McIntyre’s Peter Pan for the first time this May. PAB soloist Lauren Fadeley, who’ll dance the part of Wendy, is guest-blogging the rehearsal process for Pointe.
When we started this season at Pennsylvania Ballet, Trey McIntyre’s Peter Pan was definitely one of the most anticipated ballets in the lineup. Everyone knows the story of the boy who doesn’t want to grow up and his adventures in Neverland, but none of us knew what to expect from a ballet version of the beloved classic. Would there still be mermaids and the ticking crocodile? Would Captain Hook and Peter still be arch nemeses fighting alongside their crews of pirates and Lost Boys? Would the Darling children still “think happy thoughts” and fly to Neverland?
After starting rehearsals last week, the answer to all these questions is: Yes! And then some. This production is so innovative in the way it tells the story through dance, props and special effects. McIntyre bases his ballet more on James M. Barrie’s novel of Peter Pan than the Disney cartoon we grew up with, and the book has many underlying stories that add to the character development.
I have the amazing opportunity to portray Wendy in this full-length production. And that means I get to fly! We began the “flying to Neverland” scene in the studio by watching the video and learning the choreography with music. It was difficult to mark on the ground and be on the right counts when going up in the air takes so much more time. So the company rented out a venue where we can practice flying. We’re going to get used to the harnesses we have to wear and work on our spacing and choreography in the air. The guys playing Peter went today and said it was a lot of fun. The Wendys will go tomorrow–I’ll be sure to write all about it next time!
In a week and a half of rehearsals we have pretty much learned the whole three-act ballet, so there has been a ton of information floating through my head. I go to sleep reviewing choreography and wake up humming the music. Right now it’s all about trying to remember the counts and what comes next, as well as starting to develop the character of a girl slowly becoming a young woman. As a 26-year-old, it’s definitely a challenge to pretend to be 10, but it’s also quite fun to remember what it was like to be that age. I’m looking forward to the point where it all starts to become second nature, and I can just let go and enjoy!