The second rehearsal period of THE GREAT GATSBY ballet has commenced


The second staging period of THE GREAT GATSBY ballet has begun. Today, all the corps de ballet dancers are back to rehearsal halls. 

 On the threshold of the final period of staging process we’d like to share some interesting details about the project with you. In this article Anna Stavichenko recollects some special aspects of the first staging period.

For a major part of corps de ballet the staging process of THE GREAT GATSBY ballet has become a real challenge. It may even be considered as the most important in their life, especially in terms of their professional activity. It’s a kind of test for endurance, readiness for something new, enormous working capacity and self-reliance.  Just a month has passed since the audition. The dancers showed all their capabilities to pass a strict casting led by Alyona Matvienko, Denis Matvienko and Dwight Rhoden. Starting from that moment a big adventure called “The Great Gatsby” has just begun…

At the first rehearsal it became crystal clear that young dancers would have to forget everything what they had previously known about the ballet. It will be different, absolutely different. They will have to learn how to combine moves from classical ballet and graceful acrobatic feats; how to dance and to throw a somersault with Borsalino hat on their heads. To dance not merely to music, but to sound imitations of machines without any landmarks in form of four- or eight-beat music constructions. To make difficult pirouettes and hand balance, as well as to perform masterly some elements taken from breakdance. However, the main difficulty is to dance everything in one breath as if there were no frames between classical choreography, contemporary dance, hip-hop and different varieties of ballet being a universal language of beauty and strength shown by a human body in motion. Rhoden’s choreography revealed some unexpected advantages as well as shortcomings in lads dancing base.  It seemed, that dancers with classical base would have felt themselves easier. They are experienced in long-lasting rehearsals being quick to study and having natural-born ballet posture. However, modern choreography does not contain anything conventional – that is why it’s so difficult and exciting at the same time. So there was no surprise, when self-educated dancers were more acquisitive to Rhoden’s choreography: they didn’t have to change their approach to ballet from “I was taught otherwise” to “audience doesn’t need a perfect combination, audience needs an emotion” and “relax your hands”. Moreover, hands of the dancers were an indicator of such transition. Flexible, not hardened hands are sign of a real freedom in dance.   

But, what took the biggest number of efforts from all the dancers regardless of their education is working in an intense pace of THE GREAT GATSBY staging process. What required colossal effort from the classically trained dancers as well as their self-taught colleagues was working in very fast-paced manner to learn THE GREAT GATSBY production. Here, you have to possess not only a perfect body but to also have exceptional memory. For six hours daily something absolutely new was being created.  What one or another fragment would look like in the end, even the Director/Choreographer could not tell at times himself. Ideas were born and changed in the moment – here and now. Dwight Rhoden showed and explained something to his assistants and they would then with exceptional accuracy «translate» these thoughts-moves to the dancers – that's how a new ballet pattern was created, that needed to be immediately memorised and reproduced. At times this pattern turned out to be too complex and certain moves were immediately abandoned, and sometimes dancers showed readiness to move forward. That is when new fragments were intertwined, daring technical complexity of which was  jaw-dropping. To be continued…