Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why Are You Doing This?

My father asked:  "Why are you doing this?"

THIS being the collection of the dancers who had the courage to take on Nijinsky's "Chosen One" from the recovered masterpiece " Le Sacre du Printemps" (Hodson & Archer).  I showed him the photos of the women - head shots.  They look like any woman in one way but you can see  a natural grace to their photos because they are/were ballerinas.

He asked:

Are you trying to make a name for yourself with this?  What is behind it?  What do you plan on doing once you have finished?

I hope it doesn't finish.  I want the ballet to go on and on and add each new Chosen One to the archive wherever archives go because I don't pretend to know about such things.  I do know that it can not be more than a collection of pictures on GOOGLE.  Good God.

I don't know how legitimate archiving works.  I am not an academic.  I do not know how to do anything beyond what I am doing now - collecting pictures of what I consider the strongest ballerinas in history.  Big statement huh?  I like a broad brush.

Beatriz Rodriguez had to get in the costume and into that circle and jump for her life with no template to "The Rite of Spring".  NOw it may be normal with new choreographies to do such things, but it certainly can NOT be with an historical event as was the 1987 debut of the lost choreography "Le Sacre du Printemps".  She had to trust Hodson and Archer and she did.  As did Carole Valleskey.  Then Patrizia, then Sini, then Silvia and then and then......


With each dancer jumping from "Still Chosen" to "Formerly Chosen" I feel a sadness but for all I know it may be a relief for them.  So far I have only two direct statements:
 from "Balaidos" dancer Elizabeth Lopez, Chosen One 1999:
"Thank you so much Millicent Hodson.
It Was an honor to Work for you.
It Was the most important role of my life"

and Heather Aagard, Joffrey 2002

"The Chosen One was one of my most challenging and fulfilling roles...danced my heart and body out one Saturday afternoon to a Chicago audience who had no idea that those five minutes of straight jump, jump, lunge, one-two-three-four, were an expression and expulsion of so much internal angst and fear built up over the years. The Chosen One finally gave me a chance to get it out."

How can these statements not make someone want to further this project?

My hope is that for every woman who goes from "Still Chosen" to "Formerly Chosen" there is  another one added to "Still".  Or maybe one added for every five returned, I don't delude myself.  Not much anyway.

And so, my father, I say this to you:

I feel a certain joy for each girl who gets a little happiness from being recognized. I started this because I was irritated that Beatriz Rodriguez was almost an obscurity. And when I found that photo, I knew I had to keep going.  Dig harder.  Learn more.  Let no Chosen One be left to that same obscurity.

Deshalb tue ich es Vater

photos from top:
Ines Pereira de Almeida, Companhia Nacional de Bailado, Chosen One 2005;
Silvia Curti, Rome Opera Ballet, Chosen One 2001
Deborah Bull, Royal Ballet Chosen One 2000
Yen Han, Zurich Ballet.  Chosen One in 1996
Elizabth Lopez,  Companhia Nacional de Balaidos,  Chosen One 1999
Heather Aagard, Joffrey Ballet, Chosen One 2002