Jerome Robbins' Real People
The following is guest blog by New York City Ballet soloist (and
February/March 2010 cover girl) Kathryn Morgan. Stay tuned for more posts from Kathryn!
Tonight I will be debuting in Jerome Robbins’ 2 & 3 Part Inventions. He first choreographed it on School of American Ballet students for the annual workshop performance in 1994. (Benjamin Millepied was one of the original boys!) It is a ballet for four couples, and I believe it is about pure classical dance. The women wear white leotards and skirts, and the men are in classic white shirts and blue tights, very much like school uniforms.
While it appears to be basic, effortless ballet, it far from easy! Everything is deceivingly difficult–there is tricky partnering, jumps, turns, and the piece is just downright tiring. In spite of all this, it is such a joy to dance. While there is no story line, we all interact as if we are friends having fun being together. And that’s actually true! I am in a great cast of all really close friends–Erica Pereira, Ashley Laracey, Stephanie Zungre, Chase Finlay, Allen Peiffer, Daniel Applebaum, and Joshua Thew–so that part is easy.
The other interesting thing about the ballet is that the music, by J.S. Bach, is for solo piano. So the whole piece feels very intimate. There isn’t a huge bellowing orchestra, and there isn’t a stage full of people. It is one of those ballets where you seem to forget about the audience and just concentrate on the people with you onstage and the beautiful steps you are dancing.
That is something the ballet masters are always stressing to us in Robbins’ ballets: Interact with the people around you and be a real person. One example they are always using is to pretend that it is a beautiful day outside, and you are just out enjoying the sunshine with friends. “Be natural!” and “Easy!” are phrases heard often in rehearsal for a Robbins piece. But I think this is one of the things that make Jerry’s ballets so pleasurable. You are urged to just be yourself. It has been a few years since the company has performed 2 & 3 Part Inventions, so I am very happy to be a part of its revival.