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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am a dancer with Minneapolis based James Sewell Ballet, a small, contemporary ballet company. I also choreograph independently.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Function of the Devil

This last week found JSB back to work after a two-week break for the holidays. We returned with a vengeance, reassembling two major ballets and finishing another one, also major.

We were visited for three days by Arturo Fernandez, the choreographer of the virtuosic female solo “Chair Bones”. All of us ladies are working on it; I even get to perform it as soon as next week, on tour in California.

Wow, what a solo. During my run-through in front of Arturo and the company yesterday, I’ve never felt more exhausted during a piece. And yet I got through it. I learned a little about where I can allow breath in, where I can afford to push more, and where I had the absolute time of my life.

This solo is a big deal for me. Mostly because of the limits I put on myself as a ballet dancer specifically. I always make it known that I consider myself to be just outside the line of fire re: classical dance. Yes, I do ballet. Yes, I dance en pointe. But these don’t mean that I am classical. I am neo-classical maybe, contemporary definitely. And so a solo like this is rare for me. It’s not what I usually expect from myself. But I’m so glad it’s here. I switched pointe shoe brands last year, and a whole new psycological world of possibility has opened up for me. I therefore get to do this dance: me and a chair and my own bones.

Unfortunately this week brought on an Achilles aggravation. I knew this to a “devilish function”, a fly in the ointment of my new-found, still fragile belief in my ability to execute a task this monumental. I was forced to tell Arturo that I could not rehearse on one of his few precious days with us. My pride and work ethic were shaken. James treated me to the depth of his wisdom, and I quickly found the strength to sit down and watch. Ouch. But that allowed me to absorb in another way, through my eyes and my faith.

And so I was back at it yesterday, pushing through the pain with the help of anti-inflammatories, tape and adrenaline. I attempt to exorcise the demon in the devilish function and absorb the lessons: that I am capable, that I am deserving, and that, no matter what, my inherent value is not dependent on any of these.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got to watch Penny dance "Chair Bones" on friday night and it was definitely heroic and awesome. The solo is fierce and faast and unrelenting. Yet she made it look natural and custom-made.

10:02 PM  

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