Press enter after choosing selection

UMS Concert Program, November 19, 1990: Royal Winnipeg Ballet --

Download PDF
Rights Held By
University Musical Society
OCR Text

Season: 112th
Concert: Twelfth
Power Center For The Performing Arts Ann Arbor, Michigan

Monday Evening, November 19, 1990, at 8:00
Power Center for the Performing Arts
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Betty Farrally and Gweneth Lloyd, Founders Arnold Spohr, Artistic Director Emeritus
lohn Meehan, Artistic Director
William Riske, General Manager
Earl Stafford, Music Director and Conductor
Mark Godden, Resident Choreographer Andre Lewis, Associate Artistic Director David Moroni, School Director
Laura Graham
Stephen Hyde
Caroline Gruber
Evelyn Hart"
John Kaminski
Suzanne Rubio
Mark Godden
Elizabeth Olds
Runsheng Ying
Deborah Washington
Diane Buck
Tamara Hoffmann
Mardyne Uavey Amy Brogan Nina Menon
Gino Di Marco
Tracy Koga Gisele Plourde Gail Stefanek
Jorden Morris
Sara Mau Kerrie Souster
Richard Dagenais David Lucas
Michel Faigaux Andrew Robertson
Eric Hounsell Eric Wolfram
Apprentices: Cindy Winsor, lngrid Lee-Kwen, Dominic de Wolte
"On leave of absence
Arnold Spohr, Artistic Advisor
Nicholas Cernovitch, Resident Lighting Designer
Catherine Taylor, Assistant to the Artistic Director
Alia Savchenko, Senior Ballet Mistress Galina Yordanova, Guest Teacher
Patti Caplette, Ballet Mistress Kerry McShane, Principal Pianist
All lighting supervised by Jon Stettner. All costumes executed in the RWB wardrobe under the supervision of Anne Armit.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet appears by arrangement with Harold Shaw Concerts, New York, with the assistance
of the Government of Canada.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is under the distinguished Patronage of His Excellency, The Right Honorable
Ramon John Hnatyshyn, P.C., C.C., C.M.M., CD., Q.C., Governor General of Canada.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council, the Touring Office of
the Canada Council, the Government of Canada, Arts Promotion Division, Department of External Affairs
and International Trade, the Province of Manitoba, Department of Culture, Heritage and Recreation, the
Manitoba Arts Council, the City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Foundation, private and corporate philanthropy.
Twelfth Concert of the 112th Season Twentieth Annual Choice Series
Choreography: Marius Petipa, arranged by John Meehan
Music: Alexander Glazunov Costumes: Anne Armit Lighting: John Stettner
Elizabeth Olds Runsheng Ying
Deborah Washington, Kerrie Souster, Tamara Hoffman, Suzanne Rubio
Caroline Gruber, Nina Menon, Sara Mau, Amy Brogan Mardyne Davey, Shawn Hounsell, Gino Di Marco, David Lucas Mark Godden, Jorden Morris, Andrew Robertson, Eric Wolfram
Variation I
Amy Brogan
Pas de quatre
Eric Wolfram, Mark Godden, Andrew Robertson, Jorden Morris
Variation II
Nina Menon
Variation III Runsheng Ying
Variation IV
Elizabeth Olds
The Company
Choreography: Jiri Kylian
Music: Claude Debussy (from Nocturnes)
Staged by Arlette van Boven Lighting: Joop Caboort
Elizabeth Olds Mark Godden
Choreography: Mark Godden Costumes: Paul Daigle
Music: Christopher Rouse Lighting: Nicholas Cemovitch
Set Design: Paul DaigleMark Godden
Amy Brogan, Suzanne Rubio, Tamara Hoffman Deborah Washington, Gail Stefanek, Sara Mau
Andrew Robertson, Jorden Morris, John Kaminski
Shawn Hounsell, Gino Di Marco, Richard Dagenais
Mardyne Davey
Special thanks to ASV and AB.
Symphony Na I is a co-production of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the National Arts Centre of Ottawa, Canada.
The production sponsor of Symphony Na 1 is Canadian Airlines International.
The Piano was engineered by Ken Hart-Swain; set properties were built by Karyn MacPhee.
Choreography: Jacques Lemay
Music: Norman Campbell
Orchestration: Robert FarnonEarl Stafford Story Adaption: Janis Dunning
Decor and Costumes: Mary Kerr
Lighting: Michael J. Whitfield
Deborah Washington as Anne Shirley Richard Dagenais as Gilbert BIythe
Marilla Cuthbert........................Elizabeth Olds
Matthew Cuthbert .......................John Kaminski
Rachel Lynde .........................Gisele Plourde
Mrs. BlewettMrs. Barry......................Gail Stefanek
Miss Stacy .........................Caroline Gruber
MatronPrissy Andrews ......................Amy Brogan
Reverend Allen ......................Andrew Robertson
Mr. Phillips...........................Eric Wolfram
Diana Barry...........................Tarcy Koga
josie Pye...........................Cindy Winsor
Ruby Gidis..........................Kerrie Souster
Moody Spurgeon MacPherson...................Gino Di Marco
Charlie Sloane........................Shawn Hounsell
Malcolm Andrews ........................David Lucas
Tommy Sfoane.........................Michel Faigaux
Scene 1: Anne of Imagination
Inside an orphans' asylum, a young and precocious Anne Shirley dreams of growing up to be elegantly dressed and admired by all. Scene 2: Anne the Orphan
The ragamuffin orphans tease Anne for fantasizing, but are abruptly brought into line when the matron enters to deliver adoption papers to Anne. Scene 3: Matthew Meets the Orphan
At the Carmody train station, Matthew Cuthbert is surprised to find that the boy he planned to adopt turns out to be a red-headed imaginative girl. Scene 4: Anne meets Manila Cuthbert and Rachel Lynde
When Matthew presents the predicament to his sister, Marilla, she staunchly refuses to accept a girl. The Cuthbert's neighbor, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, also known as the town gos?sip, arrives and shrieks at the sight of Anne. Scene 5: Anne Gets a Home
The rather witchlike and craggy Mrs. Blewett plans to take Anne for a scullery maid, and Anne retaliates. When Marilla sees the girl's heart nearly broken, she softens and intervenes. Scene 6: The First Day at Avonlea School
When teased for her red hair and orphan's attire she strikes out at Gilbert Blythe and smashes her slate over his head. Scene 7: Dreaming of Puffed Sleeves
Anne dreams of being beautiful to the handsome young Gilbert Blythe. In desperation, she sheers off her red braids. Scene 8: The Tea Party
Anne and her bosom friend, Diana Barry, have a tea party and mistakenly substitute wine for fruit cordial! Scene 9: The Picnic
Everyone gathers for the annual church picnic, and Diana offers Anne her very first taste of ice cream!
Scene 10: New Teacher, New Horizons
Miss Stacy takes over from Mr. Phillips at the school. The students mature with Miss Stacy's sensitive approach to the wonders of learning, and Anne and Gilbert are chal?lenged to try for a scholarship to college. Scene 11: The College Competition
Anne and Gilbert vow to compete with one another, each determined to be the top student. Scene 12: Matthew Makes a Dream Come True
When Matthew surprises Anne with the dress of her dreams, Anne fantasizes a romance with Gilbert.
Scene 13: Anne the Scholar
The proudest moment of her life is when Anne is proclaimed the winner of the scholar?ship to college. But the excitement is too much for Matthew's failing heart. Scene 14: Anne of Green Gables
Back at home, Marilla and Anne despair their loss of Matthew, and Anne resolves to give up college and stay to help on the farm. But when Gilbert enters to offer his condo?lences and resolve his differences with Anne, Marilla foresees a promising future for her wonderful Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables is made possible through the generosity of Digital Equipment of Canada Limited. Anne of Green GaWes -The Ballet was commissioned by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and first performed on October 11, 1989, at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Jacques Lemay, choreographer of Anne of Green Gables, is in constant demand as a director, choreographer, performer, and creator of new works. His vast experience and many talents have been sought after for musicals, variety shows, ballets, op?eras, cultural productions, and for stage and television shows across the country.
As a performer, Lemay has appeared in over 125 television shows and made guest appear?ances with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Mon?treal, and the Winnipeg and Edmonton Sym?phony Orchestras. He was also a member of the renowned dance troupe Les Feux Follets for over four years.
As a director and choreographer, Jacques Lemav has worked in most of the major theatres
across Canada. His choreography has been by audiences around the world -throughout Canada and the United States to Europe and the Soviet Union. He has served as artistic director for events across Canada, including six Royal Visits, the Canadian Heritage Festival at Expo '86, and the Opening Ceremonies of the XV Winter Olympics in Calgary, 1988.
The highly successful The Big Top -A Circus Ballet was created by Lemay for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and was televised by CBC on Christmas Day, 1988. Lemay has been affiliated with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as the company's director of jazz for the RWB School, General Division, for the past twelve years. October 1989 marked the premiere of Lemay's recent work Anne of Green Gables, the delightful, one-act story ballet created especially for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's 50th Anniversary Season.
Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Throughout its history, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet has been an innovative force in the world of dance. Founded 51 years ago, in 1939 by dance pioneers Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was Canada's first professional ballet company. It developed the concept of re?gional ballet festivals in the 1940s and was the first Canadian company to tour the United States. In 1953, the Company re?ceived its Royal Title, the first granted under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1958, Arnold Spohr, an RWB principal dancer and choreographer, was appointed artistic direc?tor. Under his leadership, the Royal Winni?peg Ballet took its place among the world's internationally renowned companies. In June of 1988, Mr. Spohr retired and appointed Henny Jurriens as his successor. With excep?tional vision, the Dutch-born Jurriens planned an exciting future for the RWB. Undaunted by the tragic and untimely death of Jurriens in April 1989, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet continued in the spirit of that vision and carried out Jurriens' carefully designed plans for the 1989-9O5Oth anniversary season of the Company. Earlier this year, in February 1990, John Meehan was appointed to the position of artistic director.
The repertoire of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is an eclectic sampling of dance styles and choreography. The Company performs the full-length classics Giselle, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, and Romeo and Juliet and an intriguing collection of ensemble ballets. Their roster of international choreographers includes Sir Frederick Ashton, Oscar Araiz, George Balanchine, Nils Christe, John Cranko, Jiri Kylian, Agnes de Mille, Vicente Nebrada, John Neumeier, Hans van Manen, Rudi van Dantzig, and Peter Wright. Cana?dian choreographers include Brian Macdon-ald, Norbert Vesak, Paddy Stone, Jacques Lemay, and Judith Marcuse. Always on the leading edge, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was the first dance company to commission a full-length ballet by a Canadian choreogra?pher, the first to create a full-length ballet filmed in color for the CBC, and the first to add a rock ballet to its repertoire.
As a touring company, the Royal Win?nipeg Ballet is a compact ensemble of 26
dancers, three artistic staff, a touring orches?tra of 14 musicians and a conductor, a pro?duction and administrative crew of ten, and a semi-trailer with 50,000 pounds of equip?ment. Full-length productions require an ex?panded complement of dancers and musicians and an additional semi-trailer of sets and costumes. Abroad, the Royal Winnipeg Bal?let has toured in the Soviet Union, Czecho?slovakia, Jamaica, the Caribbean, Australia, Latin America, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, and Cuba, and, in 1988, one of its most ambitious tours -to the Asia-Pacific region. Over the years, the Company has performed in nearly 500 cities and towns in 37 countries, spending 20 to 30 weeks on the road each season.
The 1989-90 season was a major mile?stone in the history of the RWB. Celebrations began with a special Gala night featuring the dancers of the Company, together with some of the most electrifying stars of the dance world, including Peter Schaufuss, Katherine Healy, Kimberley Glasco, and Fernando Bujones. The celebrations continued with the first-ever joint performance by the RWB and the National Ballet of Canada, performing together Balanchine's expansive Symphony in C. The Company also presented the world premiere of Anne of Green Gables, a one-act story choreographed by Jacques Lemay, and a new work by RWB soloistchoreographer Mark Godden on the same program. Throughout its 50th season, the Royal Win?nipeg Ballet undertook six tours, culminating in a tour to the Soviet Union, Hungary, Germany, and Holland in May and June of 1990.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, one of the foremost training institutions in Canada for students of dance, operates the General and Professional Divisions in Win?nipeg and in Brandon, Manitoba's second largest city. The General Division provides programs for children and teens, the curricu?lum including Creative Movement, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Musical Theatre, as well as a dance and fitness program for adults at all ages and levels. The Professional Division pro?vides comprehensive training for students who aspire to become professional dancers or teachers, offering a well-balanced curriculum that integrates many dance disciplines. Its
classical instruction is based on the Volkova development of the Vaganova method, as currently taught by Galina Yordanova. In?struction and examination in the Cecchetti method is also an integral part of the program. Over ninety percent of current Company members are graduates of the School's Profes?sional Division.
Over the years, the artists of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet have received many awards and accolades, including gold medals at the International Ballet Festival in Paris and the International Ballet Competitions in Varna, Bulgaria. Several artists have been made Officers of the Order of Canada for their accomplishments and have received honorary doctorates from many Canadian universities. The Company has been recognized time and time again for its outstanding contributions to the world of dance and cultural life in Canada.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet now re?turns for its eighth concert in Ann Arbor.
The Artists
John Meehan assumed his position as artistic director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in February 1990. Born in Brisbane, Aus?tralia, Meehan joined the Australian Ballet in 1970 and was promoted to principal dancer four years later. He joined the American Ballet Theatre in 1977, and, in 1980, left ABT in order to broaden his career as an
actor, singer, and choreographer. He re?mained active in the ballet world and has since appeared as guest artist with companies including ABT, New York City Ballet, Na?tional Ballet of Canada, Australian Ballet, and major symphony orchestras.
One of John Meehan's greatest artistic triumphs was his interpretation of the role of Count Danilo in Ronald Hynd's production of The Merry Widow, performed by the Aus?tralian Ballet in 1975. He made his Canadian debut in that role with'the National Ballet of Canada in 1986. In the summer of 1985, Mr. Meehan first danced with New York City Ballet star Merrill Ashley, beginning an ex?citing professional association that has con?tinued to the present. Recently, they performed as guest artists with two of America's finest orchestras, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orches?tra. This year, he made a dance film with Marianna Tcherkassky, choreographed by Lynn Taylor-Corbett for Expo '90 in Osaka.
Mark Godden, who has been dancing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet since 1984, has just been appointed resident choreogra?pher of the RWB. A native of Dallas, Texas, he moved to Winnipeg in 1981 to continue ballet training in the Professional Division of the RWB Ballet School, graduated in 1984 and immediately joined the Company. He performs a variety of feature roles and is seen by tonight's audience as partner to Elizabeth Olds in Nuages.
Godden began to distinguish himself as a choreographer in 1988 with his ballet Forms of Distinction, which won the Clifford E. Lee Choreographic Award. In 1989, his work Sequoia received its world premiere at the Banff Festival of the Arts and was performed at home and on tour throughout the RWB's 50th Anniversary Season.
This evening brings his most recent creation -Symphony No. I, just premiered in Winnipeg last month. A Winnipeg dance critic writes: "What makes Symphony No. 1 such a marvelous ballet is its striking use of body imagery, its rich musicality, its willing?ness to take risks, and its intoxicating blend of drama, suspense, and mystery. On one hand, the ballet is a stark exercise in modern design; on the other, a romantic landscape full of nervous hills and valleys." The ballet is set on Christopher Rouse's original score, the Symphony No. 1.
Elizabeth Olds, born in Minneapolis, began her dance training in Ann Arbor, studying with Nancy Abbey and Marjorie Randazzo. She completed her ballet training at the RWB School and joined the Company in 1982. Promoted to soloist in 1985 and then principal dancer in 1989, she has appeared in many leading roles in the company repertoire, both at home and on tour. Ms. Olds has made guest appearances in Delaware, performing the Nutcracker pas de deux with Stephen Hyde and was featured in Adagio Hammerklav-ier with the RWB and the Dutch National Ballet at a special Gala for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in Ottawa. She was one of three RWB dancers to perform the world premiere of Patti Caplette's Triad.
Stephen Hyde was born in Grand Rap?ids, Michigan, and began performing in Flor?ida at the Barn Theatre in productions of West Side Story, Cabaret, and The King and I. In 1982, he continued dance studies at the RWB Ballet School and joined the Company in 1983. As a principal dancer since 1987, he has performed many leading roles with the RWB, his recent achievements including Adagio Hammerklavier with the Dutch Na?tional Ballet and RWB at the Gala in honor of Queen Beatrix. A frequent partner of RWB principal dancer Evelyn Hart, he made his debut at the World Ballet Festival in Japan in August 1988, partnering Ms. Hart in Moments Shared and Belong Pas de Deux.
John Kaminski, principal dancer, is known for his exhilarating style and powerful leaps. He began his dance training in Edmon?ton at the age of five and later became a National Champion Ballroom Dancer. After studying at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Alberta School of Ballet, he was a mem?ber of the Alberta Ballet Company prior to joining the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1985. He has appeared as a guest artist on numerous occasions, including performances at the Shaw Festival and at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow with Evelyn Hart. After a serious knee injury in 1987 sidelined him for 18 months, he returned to the RWB in 1989 and has since performed regularly at home and on tour.
Runsheng Ying, principal dancer, was born in China and is a former principal dancer with the Beijing Central Ballet of China and the New York City Ballet. He trained at the Dance Academy of Beijing, the Paris Opera Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet (official school of the New York City Ballet) before joining that com?pany in 1984. With the New York City Ballet, he performed numerous roles in ballets choreographed by Balanchine, Robbins, and Martins, as well as roles created for him by Peter Martins. He was a member of the original cast in Jerome Robbins' ves, Songs. Runsheng Ying joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a principal dancer in August 1990.
Laura Graham, soloist, is a native of Pennsylvania and studied at the Mount Lau?rel Regional Ballet School and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. After performing with the Joffrey Concert Group for three years, she completed her training at the RWB Ballet School and made her debut with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1985. Promoted to soloist in 1989, she performs an ever-growing variety of repertoire and last season danced the lead role in Anne of Green Gables during the Company's North American tour. She recently trained and performed with the Bal?let Nacional de Cuba, dancing the Od-etteOdile role in Swan Lake on tour in Cuba.
Caroline Gruber joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1988 and was promoted to soloist in 1989. Bom in New York City and raised in England, she was accepted at the Royal Ballet School in London, where she pursued both academic and ballet train-
ing. Her professional debut came in Septem?ber 1980 with the Dutch National Ballet, which enabled her to dance the classics, many works by Balanchine, as well as works by the Dutch choreographers Rudi van Dantzig and Toer van Schayk. Her RWB repertoire in?cludes feature roles in Concerto Barocco, Les Sylphides, Four Last Songs, Gaite Parisienne, Adagio Hammerklavier and Five Tangos.
Deborah Washington, from Barrie, Ontario, joins the Royal Winnipeg Ballet this season as a soloist, and tonight's audience will see her dance the lead role in Anne of Green Gables. She graduated from the National Ballet of Canada School, with subsequent studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts, at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and intermit?tent dance studies in New York and England. While in Banff, she performed leading roles in Massine's Gaite Parisienne, Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, several works by Brian Macdonald, and in Mark Godden's world premiere of Sequoia. Prior to joining the RWB, Ms. Washington spent three years with the Ballet British Columbia.
Suzanne Rubio, a Montreal native, trained at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens School and the National Ballet School before joining the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 1983. She first
entered the RWB roster as an apprentice in 1985, a year later became a corps member, and this year was promoted to the rank of soloist. She has already danced various soloist and principal roles for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, including Jacques Lemay's Anne of Green Gables throughout the 50th Anniver?sary Season. This season, she performs soloist and principal roles in Bcdlo Delia Regina, Symphony bio. I, Fall River Legend, and oth?ers.
Royal Winnipeg Ballet Touring Orchestra
Shirlee Mays, Concertmaster
Aarne Tammisaar, First Violin
David McFadden, Second Violin
Anna Barycz-Wojciechowska, Viola
Alex Pack, Cello
Robert Mills, Bass
Virginia Spicer, FlutePiccolo
Jennifer Short, OboeEnglish Horn
Patti Goodwin, Clarinet
Guy Edrington, French Horn
David Dando, Trumpet
Ian Cowie, Trombone
Lome Grossman, PercussionTimpani
Kerry McShane, Pianist
Robert Mills, Personnel Manager
Creating a New Ballet
An Interview With Mark Godden and Paul Daigle by Jordan Burgess
"T "J ou can talk about music or you
can move to it," quips award-
T winning choreographer Mark
Godden. "Choreography is
.L. simply another way of hearing
the music." But Godden's air of nonchalance
is a smoke screen, an attempt to conceal the
rising excitement and anticipation that is
evident in the grin that flashes across his face
from time to time as he speaks about his new
ballet, Symphony No. I.
"Music comes first. My ideas originate with the music. I hear the music and have an emotional and intellectual response that sparks certain visual ideas." Two years ago, Godden listened to Christopher Rouse's Sym?phony No. 1 and knew that this was a piece of music to be considered "at a later date" for translation to dance. Yet, the limitations of
time and financial resources make it nearly impossible for a professional dancer to cho?reograph for the sheer love of it. When artistic director John Meehan commissioned him to create a new work for the RWB's 1990-91 season, Godden was given the op?portunity he needed to retrieve those original ideas from his creative back-burner.
The first step in Godden's creative process, however, occurs before he brings his ideas into the rehearsal studio. "Because time is precious, 1 try to spend as much time as I can at home. When you come into the studio, you have to know what you want to do. Therefore, I listen to the music over and over again to figure out its structure and to develop a story or plot-line. This story is my interpre?tation of the music based on my emotional response to it."
Godden admits that there may be a number of reasons why he arrives at the artistic statement that is expressed in his plot-line. His reasons may be personal or psychological ones, or he may be influenced by a desire to experiment with movement. He also believes that just as the music is open to his personal choreographic interpretation, the artistic statement in his ballets is also open to the interpretation of the audience. "I don't try to translate my ideas literally on stage. People are, therefore, free to take what I do, whether it is abstract or surreal, and relate it back to themselves to interpret what it means. I want people to be curious about the music and to make their own discoveries about it."
Godden feels that there are certain elements in music that people may not notice without movement to set them in relief. "Movement sometimes can enhance or fulfill another dimension of the music."
The second step, after Godden has a clear definition of the music's structure as it relates to his plot-line, is in isolating certain sec?tions of the music. He chooses three or four different sections that he con?siders to be the essential roots of the piece. They may correspond to the separate motifs found in the music or may relate more to action that occurs in his imagined plot-line. Once he has found these essential roots, he focuses his attention on them one at a time. "I inject myself right into those essential musical elements and start to realize my ideas for movement in relation to them. I then let the movements grow from the root, or the choreographic motif, pulling back from it from time to time to see how the section relates to the rest. I might see one dancer in relation to three; I might see some other configuration of dancers. Here is where you act intuitively, doing what feels right."
Godden realizes that this part of the process sounds somewhat esoteric. In fact, the mystical quality characteristic of all artistic creativity can never be precisely articulated. Yet, he also realizes that once his ideas venture from his imagination to the living stage, sometimes he must adjust his imagina?tive vision in the light of what will actually work on stage. "I'll bring an idea in to see it live, and it will either work or it won't. Sometimes the way the dancers are doing it
Mark Godden
shows me that it's not going to work. Some?times the movement simply needs to be modified. You can always change different aspects of it." Godden shares the frustration that all choreographers have during this third stage in the process. Hours can be devoted to a particular section, ending with an unsatis?factory result that has to be scrapped.
At some point, when he has defined the plot-line of the ballet, Godden begins to relate the music and movement to ideas on costumes, lighting, and set design. He tries to communicate to the designer his personal reasons for choreo?graphing the piece, as well as the plot and the overall effect he wishes to convey. He tries not to overload his costume and set designer, Paul Daigle, with too many of his own ideas for design, believing that Daigle, an artist in his own right, must create his own elements within the context of the ballet -just as Godden creates within the context of Rouse's music. "It's important to have a good rapport with your designer. I feel comfortable with Paul, knowing that he enables me to stay true to my ideas. I rely on Paul's expertise to help me realize those ideas."
Daigle explains his role in the creative process, stating that "when a choreographer is creating a ballet, anything can pull him off track or interrupt the creative process. My role is to be his sounding board or tool . . . to help him stay on track with the use of my drawings that provide a reference point."
For Daigle, the first step in the process begins with intense discussion with Godden centered on the music and the choreo?grapher's ideas for movement, mood, light,
color, effect, and the artistic statement -all that Godden wishes to express in the ballet. Daigle then returns to the source -the music -and like Godden, allows his imagination to flow. Immersed in the music and the mood that the music inspires, he begins to draw. To clarify certain ideas, Daigle will ask basic questions, such as: "What are the dancers wearing on their feet Are the women "on pointe" Do they wear skirts or dresses Then he returns to his drawings and lets inspiration guide him to create the designs.
"Mood is very important to me. 1 tend to be a very dramatic person, and I want what is on stage to be dramatic, theatrical, and exciting." Daigle explains that music suggests color, and that color will suggest a mood or atmosphere. Often Godden will make sugges?tions about color. Together they collaborate to establish the "look" of the costumes and set, and the final visual impression that the ballet will make. "He wanted the ballet to look chic," confides Daigle. "There's also a dramatic intensity in this ballet, and I wanted to add an icy edge . . . that's why there's so much sparkle in the costumes and coolness in their overall design." Daigle's design also combines classical with contemporary con?cepts, evidenced in the classically jeweled bodices of the women's costumes, combined with contemporary earrings and black tights.
Godden's ballet, does not focus on in?dividuals, but rather expresses its ideas through the collective movements of individ?uals within the group. Daigle's costume de?signs reflect this style of choreography. "All of the costumes are designed to go together like a puzzle so that as individuals the dancers are anonymous, but together they create a living whole. Mark's choreography is like a sculpture of movement where all of the danc?ers move together to form one piece."
The next step is to select the appropriate fabrics and place them in the cutter's expert hands. "Margaret Lamb cut these costumes. She's amazing!" Dai?gle goes on to explain: "The cutter must read my drawings and translate them into real life. It's magic . . . phenomenal! The most excit?ing time for a designer is when you go to that first fitting and you see that the cutter has taken your drawing and has brought it to life." At this stage, modifications are made with regard to proportion, practicality on
stage, and comfort for the dancers. For in?stance, the jewels on the women's costumes had to be modified, since glass beading can irritate the skin and also snag the fabric of the men's costumes, causing the dancers to get "stuck together." For this reason, much of the beading had to be changed to sequins. Durability of the costumes was another im?portant consideration for Daigle. Since the ballet will be taken on the road during the RWB's extensive touring season, it is imper?ative that the costumes survive the rigors to which the portable dance company is accus?tomed.
The set design for Symphony No. 1, Daigle explains, is Godden's concept and represents a true collaborative effort between choreographer and designer. "The piano is for mood rather than function," says Daigle. "Although the piano creates an incident in the ballet, it remains essential to the mood of the piece. Of course, the piano challenges the curiosity of the audience and is open to interpretation." Since the concept of the piano posed some technical problems that were beyond Daigle's scope of expertise, Ken Hart-Swain, RWB's assistant carpenter, was enlisted as design engineer to assist in realiz?ing this unique set property.
The lighting design is another compo?nent of the ballet that required outside assis?tance. Nicholas Cernovitch, the RWB's resident lighting designer, worked with Godden during rehearsals to set the lighting cues for the ballet. "We first spoke over the phone about my ideas for lighting, and then he sat in the studio to watch a few run-throughs. Nick designs lighting for ballet companies all over the world ... so he was able to understand what I was looking for almost immediately."
In the last stage of creating a ballet, the elements of music, movement, and design must be pulled together during rehearsal on the stage. Once accomplished, the choreog?rapher and designers step aside, making way for the final players in the process -the dancers. It is the dancers, who with every step by marvelous step, will give life to Godden's creative vision and will interpret with their own special artistry what the ballet says to them. With the help of these dancers, Mark Godden can then share with his audience another way of hearing the music.
Reprinted from "Bally-Hoo," a Royal Winnipeg Ballet publication.

Download PDF