The return to late working.
We are preparing for performances at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre. I noticed an article in The Times on September 7th; ‘Grey Power: endurance can improve with age’ was the headline, for a story about Diana Nyad now aged 64. Thirty-six years after her first (unsuccessful) attempt to swim 110 miles from Cuba to US, she had completed the course. Attitude is key factor and the stories of people sustaining their quality of life and even claiming to reverse the physical ageing process – made for encouraging reading.
Our practice has an athletic dimension and the physical goals (staying fit, resisting the fall into gravity!) are important drivers. But – as our veteran teacher Roger Tully would stress – ballet is a Performing Art and the primary focus is on what and how we communicate, with the audience, with each other in dancing.
This will be the third venue for Late Work. Each occasion throws up different challenges. The stage is tiny, so we are re-calibrating the ‘steps’ for a confined space and our performance for up close connection with the public. It feels as if even more precision and detail is required to shape my sometimes unruly inner impulses: kinaesthetic, imaginative, emotional.
Having just spent the day at the Ashton Symposium, I am pondering the discipline imposed on early dance makers by the dimensions the Mercury theatre … how in going back, we go forward. This was the thrust of Alastair Macaulay’s talk at the beginning of the day. He referenced Lupokhov’s comment to Balanchine in the early 1900s that choreography ‘should go forward to Petipa. How do we go forward to Ashton now? I think it’s a question that Late Work also asks.