Guest writer: Soloist Sharon Teague
(Read Ms. Teague’s bio…)
Recently, Stanton Welch completed choreographing a piece set to music by George Gershwin called The Core. The company will be premiering it on Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 pm alongside George Balanchine’s masterpiece Serenade and Christopher Bruce’s intense Swansong.
Stanton has developed several characters and vignettes that intertwine and overlap to create a comedy set in the 1940s. I play a couple of different parts in alternating casts. Right now, I want to talk about the character of “Jane” and the thought I’ve put into developing the role.
I like to interpret Jane as a caretaking shadow artist. I imagine she’s the oldest child of seven or eight kids that she cares for during the day because both parents work. She also has to work, but she needs a night job. Luckily for her, the theater down the street needed dressers for night shows. That means she can make money and watch the spectacular showgirls every night from the wings. Jane had always wanted to be a dancer. However, she is poor and cannot afford proper dance lessons, nor does she has the time between dirty diapers and dinner for 10! She is constantly day-dreaming about her ‘big break’ and possibly a romantic rendezvous with “Mr. P”–the great choreographer. Jane appears plain on the surface, but she has a secret life full of theatrical fantasies. In the wee hours of the morning she rehearses the routines from the show she saw the night before. She pictures her name on the marquee in flashing lights and practices her curtain calls in the reflection of storefront windows. She has an inner diva waiting to come out. And, alas, the opportunity she has been waiting for arrives when she volunteers to fill in for a chorus showgirl who was injured. This scene Stanton choreographed is filled with high drama–clothes are ripped off for a quick change, Mr. P fusses about steps, and Jane ends up stealing the spotlight from the current diva. It’s a hoot!
This ballet has a huge cast of characters. There’s a hooker, a drunk, some sailors, and a police officer (just to name a few). It’s been interesting to witness the process of the dancers developing their unique roles within Stanton’s guidelines and vision and to see the differences between casts. We are blessed with a company full of actors and actresses who have embraced this piece with open arms. It’s a fun one and definitely one not to miss!