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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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Verdi's "Aida", Small and with a Drummer

The dance community here in the twin cities has suffered a blow. Our beloved local theater, the Southern, lost its Artistic Director of 33 years. Two weeks ago the board put Jeff on “indefinite leave”, and mid-last week the news broke publicly. There was an emergency dance community “town hall” meeting that very night. I, along with about 50 others, attended.

Last night was another such meeting but on a bigger scale and with the board of the Southern in attendance. I was not able to go due to a long-standing rehearsal with eight other dancers for my gig with the MN Orch next weekend.

The upshot of all of this, amongst the many unknowns, is that I feel more than ever the great importance to keep on making art. In this economic (and corporate) climate, when choices are being made that are often money-based, those of us who don’t operate by those standards must keep on keeping on.

I am in the midst of two enormous projects. The MN Orch one is a down-and-dirty gig, quickly choreographed, quickly executed and a great joy. The other deeper, bigger project is “small aida”, my second piece in a two years for the MN Fringe. This year my venue is Theatre de la Jeune Lune (another painful story about an arts organization heading south). It is poignant to be in that space, to execute a new piece there, untried but oh-so-true.

“small aida” is comprised of myself and Steph Fellner, my friend and colleague of 19 years. (Yep, count ‘em.) We met at the Ailey School in 1989, and when our paths crossed here in 1994 I just about keeled over when I saw her pregnant and gorgeous in a Starbucks. She’s a rockstar, a muse, and the best damn Aida ever.

The piece will be finished soon. It’s about our relationship and also we tell the story (few are familiar w/ it so that’s….hard). My hope is that it’ll be clear even w/out folks needing to read the program notes. Anyway, it’s a gift every day to work with such a generous human and artist.

And so onward. I seek to make connections with my summer doings. I began with teaching James’ “Aida” choreography in Portland. I now craft my own story, and do the MN Orch gig, all to Verdi, and all to my own drummer.


Blogger B said...

I am planning to see the 5:30 p.m. performance of small aida on Th/08/07.
Can't wait!
with love and all best wishes,
Brian Jones

12:22 PM  

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