Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
After dancing the fugue about 100,000 times, Austin begins to fade. But once that camera starts rolling, that boy can get his leg up.
Make-Up artist and heart melter, Jordan, puts the finishing touches on an already beautiful Amanda Hankes Stodola.
The gang awaits hair and make-up.
Everyone in this picture is thinking the same thing. 'Check the gate!'
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
One of the greatest things about being part of this film is getting to see Robbins through someone else’s eyes. Neither Henry nor Jodi (the directors) were ever dancers, and they have had no experiences with the Jerome Robbins way of dancing aside from coming to NYCB to watch. So needless to say I was looking forward to see their take on Opus Jazz.
For us it’s easy to describe dancing in a Robbins’ ballets in the same old ways. You “perform” less, you share the “communal feel”, and you use the “less is more” approach. But those ways of describing dancing Jerry’s ballets are selling the man short. Yes, his ballets are some of the best to dance, but the real benefit is how his ballets make you feel as a person, not just as a dancer, as a person. His works force you to examine why you dance, why you interact with certain things in life, why you feel certain things. People talk a lot about how Jerry was a task master and how he’d break you down if you didn’t give your all. But even though I never got the chance to work with him directly, I can say with out a doubt that Jerry was an extremely cool guy.
He wasn’t a kid when he made Opus Jazz, and yet he didn’t set Opus Jazz to be “lived” in his own adolescent days as others probably would have, but he captures the essence of all youth in angst. A spirit that gets past down through the ages, urging the young to rebel, explore themselves, explore others and don’t trust anything but yourself.
I find it amazing to watch Henry and Jodi find all of the hidden elements to this ballet. They don’t know the names of steps or the reason that one step comes after another, but they completely understand the reason of the ballet.
Having someone take a ballet that you know inside and out, having had already come up with your own inner story for it and then they give you theirs, seems like it would be a hindrance, but I actually find it quite liberating. We’ve all been able to take our own created stage characters and place them perfectly into Henry and Jodi’s world that they are creating around us. It feels like home. It feels right. I keep expecting to look up and see Jerry standing next to the camera with an old fashioned megaphone and a smile across his face. I think he would have loved this. To see a ballet filmed in truth. To see it danced with love.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
We are finally on our lunch break. Given how many handfuls of M&Ms I've thrown back this morning, I'm amazed that I had room for pulled pork and baked ziti. The craft service here is unbelievable. We get any kind of breakfast sandwich in the morning, there is a never ending stream of coffee (hot and iced), tons of snacks and drinks, and surprisingly no one looks at us like we're pigs. I admit that I do get a little embarrassed while running to set with a candy bar dangling from my mouth, but hey, if I needs my sugar, I needs my sugar.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sun Rise or Sun Set. I don't remember.
Gina and Andy work through the Pas de Deux with Cobra the Steady-Cam operator before sun down. Cobra would have been a great dancer.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Week 2 is over. Why are there 7 days in a week? My body was crying by day 2.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
A list of phrases heard on set…
- All In (term for when everyone is back to work)
- Going Big (performing with full energy)
- Check the Gate (inspecting the camera shutter for dust and hair)
- Counting to Ten (taking time to think over a big decision)
- 10 1 (taking a break to pee)
- 10 2 (taking a break to poop)
- Talent (any one in front of the camera)
- Vanity Check (calling the make-up department to touch up the talent)
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Yesterday we plowed through almost all of ‘Improvisations’. Who would have thought that a movement called ‘Improvisations’ would take so much planning? This was most of the casts’ first day of filming and I imagine that it may have come as a shock to them how tiring it can be. Trying to manage energy is draining. If I sit down during this break, I will have to get back up off the floor, which expends more energy than having just stayed standing during the break. But if I stay standing, my feet will be killing me by the time we start shooting again. What do you do? I’ll tell you. Drink coffee.
I have drunk more coffee these two weeks than I have during my whole life so far. It has replaced my blood.
To me it is really important to stay focused and positive on set. It is easy to jump on the bitch wagon and drag everyone behind. Yes this process is beyond tedious and we don’t have a clear idea of how things look on camera, but when this is over and we’re all immortalized on film we’ll be grateful for these long shoots making sure we look hot.