DAE News: August 23, 2002


Greetings from New York! We're coming along at Dance as Ever; Peter Boal and I finished work on the new solo and the main company has almost completed work on a new piece to Debussy. See more about it in this installment of "As the Shoe Points."

More auction previews!

I had a meeting with Mary LoSardo recently; she coordinates both our web site and the auction, so the auction donations have been going to her for photography. She's lucky, she gets to fondle and admire the incredible stuff long before I have a chance to see it. At our meeting she brought a few contributions.

Mary's photographs are wonderful, but pictures don't do these justice. Avital Pinnick's miniature Orenberg shawl is simply amazing, and knit on needles about the thickness of a hypodermic. Danny Ouellette from Toronto sent us two great designs, a scarf in a luscious hand-dyed silk and wool blend and his own design for a "Head Hugger Hat" - both would look great on anybody. Judy Sumner, a woman who has designed more socks than Imelda Marcos had shoes, has contributed two pairs, one from the pages of INKnitters Magazine, the other from Cast On. Our most singular addition to the site? A Chicken Hat. Not a hat for a chicken. Not a hat made out of chicken. A Chicken Hat from Mary Lee Herrick.

Stay tuned. Visit our site at www.danceasever.org and take a sneak peek at our newest items: Gayle Roehm's Shetland Triangles Shawl and Margaret Radcliffe's adorable Witch's Cap -- I can't wait to see them for real. And don't forget we have items you can buy right now in the bazaar, and most of them are on sale!

Bids will open in September and continue through the final date of the concert, October 20, so go and admire them. And if you're hunting for a cool weather bargain, check out the hats and other items we have at half-off in the bazaar.

2001 Concert tapes are finally here!

Would you like to see what all the fuss was about? We mastered the tape of the 2001 concert last weekend. If you'd like a copy, information on how to order one is at our website . It's a high-quality production, professionally shot and edited by Amy Reusch, who has been documenting our work since 1996.

NYC Friends of DAE: Save a homeless lighting designer!

Once again, if anyone can offer a room to our lighting designer, Jeff Salzberg, from October 10-22, or any portion of that time, would be greatly appreciated. He's pleasant, won't be around very much and has all his shots. If you can offer this, please email - I'd be endlessly appreciative.

Leigh in print

As if these newsletters aren't long enough, those of you masochistic enough to want to read more of my dance writing should have an opportunity in the near future. I have two upcoming essays on Balanchine; the first, an essay on A Midsummer Night's Dream should be in a future issue of Ballet Review and the second on Davidsbündlertänze will be in a compendium of photographs of his works. I'll let people know when these appear in print.

As the Shoe Points! -- Getting ready for the concert

Peter and I finished the new solo at the end of last month. It's called Equilibrium and what it has in common with the previous two works is that it has nothing in common with them! In truth, that is one of our goals: to make something completely different than the time before. It was a new experience in many ways. It was the first time I had worked to a commissioned score; it was the first time I had choreographed as the music was being composed instead of to a finished piece; it was the first time I've choreographed to a version that would be different than what was performed. Eddie Guttman composed the work for cello, but gave me rehearsal tapes played on his piano. I only heard the complete work on cello a week before we were done. It was a wonderful experience in itself to finally hear what it was supposed to sound like and how rich and lovely that was!

Not knowing how the piece would end was the most disorienting part for me. The arc of the music is how I plot my ballets; it's my road map. By about three or four minutes in, though, I made a request; I asked Eddie if he would consider a slow diminuendo ending rather than a flourish. I sensed it would work both musically and choreographically, and that's what he did. By that point I thought I knew what the piece was becoming and asked Peter if he had ever read Kafka's Metamorphosis. There seems to be a situation Peter is thrown into (he can't find his balance, which can be shown simply enough in dance), and he spends the ballet trying to come to terms with that.

The company began the new Debussy work immediately after, we've got about three minutes of choreography to go. Debussy exists in a sort of time frame I'm not used to; an idea that would last about ten seconds to music by another composer takes 30 seconds to tell to Debussy. Choreography becomes a way to find the layers in this wonderful, urbane Sonata. It may be the late date of the writing (1915) that makes it so interesting for choreography, his impressionism slides into neoclassicism, and gives the gossamer fabric of the harmonies a rhythmic "boning". If you've come to any of our concerts, chances are you may know all the dancers in the piece, Mary Carpenter, Morgan (Goddard) Friedman, Abraham Miha, and Christina Paolucci. I'm so happy with a group I know this well; for me, the dancer's personality is one of the most important aspects of the choreography. I don't have a title for this one yet - it seems to demand a French one. If you'd like to suggest something, write!

Stay cool, stay in touch!

As ever!


Leigh Witchel [dae@panix.com]

Peter Boal performs with Dance as Ever 10/17-20 For more information, visit http://www.danceasever.org

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