DAE News September 5, 2001



Hi Folks! I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend




What's new at the auction? We have new items by Heather Broadhurst, whose golden knit pointe shoe was a hit last year. This year she's made a red beaded one, and even a knit bikini! It's all on the auction page at http://members.aol.com/dnceasever/auction.htm


What's overlooked? Well, I've seen Jean Miles' "Natchaq" (Smoke Ring or Neck Warmer) up close and it's in the softest alpaca of a beautiful color. Ellen Klomps' beaded bags are works of art, and this year's purse is no exception. And I'm a convert to the joys of hand knit wool socks in the winter. You don't know happy feet without them. We've got wonderful ones from Grace Judson (with beads!), bright bulky ones from Janet Lynn, lacy cashmere ones from Judy Sumner (her design for these was published in Interweave Knits!) and a beautiful tweedy pair from Mary LoSardo.


What's new on the bazaar page? Also donated by Mary LoSardo, a cardigan from Scotland, women's size petite. And we've got baby items, shawls, scarves and hats hats hats! Most $50 and under, and no bidding involved. Write us a check and it's yours.


If your budget is smaller and you're friends with Lady Luck, try our raffle, with tons of knitting prizes (and some non-knitting ones too!) Tickets are $5 per chance or $50 for 11. If you haven't gotten tickets in the mail, email me and I'll be happy to send you some.


Last year's fundraising activities (Raffle, bazaar and auction) raised over $5,000 for Dance as Ever. Visit the site, admire the work of fellow artisans and knitters and help us to bring you dance!




Want to help in ways besides writing a check? Here are things you can do to help Dance as Ever! Here's what we still need.






I'm finding it hard to believe that theater week is the week after next.

Things are moving along. Green is just under halfway complete. The most interesting thing was just how much the lithograph of Fanny Elssler in Ondine that David showed to Matt and I influenced the ballet. I mentioned it in the last DAE news; the picture is of Elssler (a ballerina from the 1840's, considered the "pagan" counterpart to the "Christian" Taglioni) in a green asymmetrical romantic tutu with a green overskirt. She's in a scallop shell with lilypads scattered about. The music, by Franz Berwald is also in that era, and so I've had to spend the week fighting off the path of least resistance, which is pastiche. From the first day I was indicating waving arms like seaweed and kelp, and it's quite appropriate, but I'm trying to avoid the limpness in carriage that we dutifully assume when we think we're doing an archaic style. It's not a period piece, though it certainly uses the references!


This is the chance I get to make new choreography on the women, and to feature Abraham prominently (Duet was built more on Ryan). What I know about a dancer deeply influences the choreography. I love Mary's dancing, but she's also front and center at the beginning of the ballet because I know her best. She and I have a new comic imitation; we usually develop at least one per rehearsal period. This year, it's the wizened, chain-smoking ballerina who stubs out her cigarette with her pointe shoe and coughs, "I know four turns, Honey, but I do them great." That's the way we know each other. I know her steps, and what not to give her as well. Her sections are made quickly.

Abraham is teaching me a lot. Many of you know my friend Amy, on whom I made most of my choreography when I first started out. Because I was a quicksilver dancer and she was a lyric one, I had to learn to choreograph adagios to use her properly. Abe is a jumper. A big jumper. And a turner. He's always champing at the bit to bust loose. I'm learning to choreograph for that sort of personality, which is completely unlike mine. He gets a variation early on in Green that is very aerial, more expansive than I might usually make, but of course, he wants to do bigger jumps and more turns. I rein him in because they're not appropriate to the piece (and also I won't put a step in a ballet that a dancer can't nail every time in the studio. Dancers lose a good deal of security in their technique in the transition from the studio to the darkness and blinding lights of the stage. If there's any doubt about a step in the studio, it will be far worse on stage), but I met him halfway. I joke with Mary that his variation is similar to sending a boisterous kid out to play in the yard to tucker him out before bedtime.

Because Christina and Parise are newest to me, I'm just learning what it is they do. (Christina's a jumper, and Parise has a beautiful back.) As rehearsals have gone on, I've made small solos for them to discover more about them. They pair very well, but I am intent on not using them as a pocket-sized corps de ballet with Mary and Abe as the lead couple. That was mostly how the first movement was structured, I've found ways to break that up in the second.

We're on schedule with the ballet, it's moved faster than both Midare and Duet. The humidity on Friday made that day the slowest. Not only was everybody in a soggy, slow mood (including me), but the women's pointe shoes were giving out even as they stepped on to pointe. Most of the support in the shank of the shoe comes from hardened glue, the humidity softens the glue and the shoe almost literally turns to mush. Fortunately, I'm familiar enough with pointe work to know when something is going wrong because of the step or because of the shoe. The amount of preparation that the women will take with their shoes before the show is mind boggling. The first question is what degree of support to the shoe will they need; it seemed like they should be soft at first, that is, until I gave them all those drifting bourrées on pointe. Now they want shoes with a strong shank. Scores of pairs will be tried on at the dealers to find two or three that are right. Those shoes will have ribbons sewn in them, the shanks cut or grooved so that they arch most flatteringly, the satin cut off the tips and darned, calamine lotion mixed with alcohol dabbed on all of them so that each woman's shoes are a consistent pink. It's a great deal of work for something that might or might not last through all the performances.

The bulk of the administrative work for the concert is done, press releases and postcards are out. All that's left is follow-ups and fielding press inquiries (thankfully, we have some! It's taken years to get pre-concert coverage.) If I can control it, at this point, it's under control. Of course, this leaves me free to fret over the things I can't control, like Peter and Ryan performing on raked stages in Athens and Parma. My friend David comforts me by saying that he imagines horrible misfortune precisely to prevent its occurrence. If so, then Peter and Ryan could bungee jump off the Parthenon risk-free.


I did almost nothing this weekend, and it was wonderful. I knit and played computer games and recharged my batteries. I wanted to at least pretend I was on a vacation trip, so on Sunday afternoon I gathered my knitting and sat under a tree in Central Park. By the end of the day I had a sleeve knit on a cardigan and had joined the sleeves and body of a raglan sweater. I did something today that was very like me. Did I continue those projects to their completion? No, but I will. What I did was swatch and plan two new projects to take their place. When I near completion of anything, I never want to linger. I want it done, out, and to move headlong into the next project.

For local people, a friend has introduced me to the best black and white malted shake I have had in New York City (and possibly anywhere.) It's at Island Burgers and Shakes at 9th Avenue and 51st Street. It's a perfect holiday treat.

More next week!
As ever!


If you’d like to be on a mailing list for my knitting writing or one for dance writing, just let me know. If you're not on our postal mailing list and want to get this year's cool card with Peter Boal on it, email me your postal address!


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