The tour to Chicago couldn’t have gone better. Bringing such a huge amount of dancers, staff, ballets and sets can usually be a bit stressful, but everything ran very smoothly. The only bumps in the road were things we had no control over; the rain and the theater deciding to turn all stage lights off for ten seconds in the middle of a show for no reason. Oddly enough, the lights went out while four of our guys were dancing a mini variation pass. When the lights turned back on, the audience commended us with applause since the dancers kept dancing in the dark.
The three shows of Sleeping Beauty were praised with standing ovations. I even got comments from people who said things like, “I’m not really a classical ballet kind of person, but that was really entertaining.” What makes our Sleeping Beauty more entertaining than the typical five thousand minute Sleeping Beauty is the fact that Adam (Sklute) really worked on taking out the slow parts, leaving in all the good stuff, all while telling the whole story. Adam also had the skilled Pam Robinson Harris and Mark Goldweber by his side, re-choreographing a lot of the ballet.
Not to sound like I’m beating a dead horse (gross), however, the gala performance on Sunday went really well. The evening of ballets were very diverse and were all gems in our repertoire. Nicolo Fonte’s world premiere, Presto, was one of the crowd favorites, and everyone in the audience was stunned by the closing ballet, The Lottery (Caniparoli). The Lottery is an amazing ballet to take on tour because there isn’t another ballet like it out there. Val never left a dull moment in The Lottery and before you know it, you’re taken into this eerie village with nothing to do but watch in suspense.
After the gala performance, an evening of dinner and dance was enjoyed at the Hilton, a couple blocks south of the Auditorium Theater. Dancers from Chicago companies, including dancers from The Joffrey Ballet, attended the event. The people of Chicago really came together not only to make the tour possible, but also to support Ballet West; I was extremely grateful and honored.
Sadly, I hardly had any time to photograph our days in Chicago, but I clicked when I could (often in costume about to go on stage). Below are pictures from stage rehearsals, dress rehearsals and performances.