|Ellie as Jane|
And yes, naming the little girl Jane is a nod to the brilliant Jane Yolen.
|l. to r.: Director: Sandy Boren-Barrett, Jennifer Kirkeby, Stage Manager: Marilee Mahler|
Here are some questions that I asked our Director and Artistic Director of Stages Theatre Company: Sandy Boren-Barrett, our Composer: Aaron Gabriel; and the Dance Director: Ann Marie Omeish:
AMO: Sandy introduced the book to me and I thought it was so beautiful. I immediately pictured the different elements becoming dances.
|Director Sandy Boren-Barrett and the creation of the Silhouette Dance|
|Silhouette Dance onstage Photo: Jeff D. Larson|
JK: What is it about Jane Yolen's book that appeals to you?
|Mady and Jordan Photo: Jeff D. Larson|
|Top: Jordan, Zoe and Hannah|
JK: How has the process of creating this piece worked?
SBB: All along the creation process has been so joyful…all of the artists have brought such joy to this work. It was certainly an unconventional commissioning process, but I imagine all work that starts with the music is driven by that. Aaron did not want to read the text at first at all – he wanted to just see the pictures…his music tells a story all its own, and the dancers bring that story to life. Limiting our text to only the words of the book has added a complexity to the creation, but it has also been so freeing, it really feels like the thoughts of the young girl. All of the designers, in particular our costume designer, Christine Richardson, have been working with me for quite a few months, crafting the “look” of the piece…the show has had to look and feel both theatrical and dance-like, it has been such a wonderful blending of both of these styles.
|Mady and Molly|
AMO: I have loved the process! It has been very different because we started
on the choreography much sooner than a normal show at Stages. All of the
Escalate dancers starting rehearsing on Sundays at Escalate to learn the
choreography. We came to Stages and began working with the actors 3 weeks
before opening in the theater. I had 3 different choreographers work on
separate pieces, and I love the results! There is an animal dance that my
contemporary teacher Stephanie Narlock choreographed. The tree dance is a
ballet that Shannon Raines my ballet teacher choreographed, and Nikki Swoboda
choreographed the rest of the dances. I feel that they all work wonderfully
|l. to r.: Sandy Boren-Barrett, Ann Marie Omeish (Dance Director) and Nikki Swoboda (Choreographer)|
JK: Have there been any surprises or discoveries?
SBB: To be honest, it has been surprising that it has gone so easily. The collaboration with Ann Marie and her company, Escalate, has been seamless. Her choreographers have brought such beauty and artistry - it is exciting. Usually collaborating can usually get a little messy, but this has been very clean and clear and wonderful all along.
AG: The biggest discovery was when I saw the first rehearsal with the dancers. This may sound naive, but I was blown-away by how their bodies responded to the music. With such detail. Even to the small movements of their hands and fingers. For instance, I orchestrated the end of the piece 'Pa and Jane enter the Forest' to have a light, pizzicato in the strings at the end of the song - to emulate snow falling from a pine bough; you'll see as the dancers respond with their fingers, wrists and arms in very small movements. They begin with their arms above their heads, then, starting with one finger joint at a time, allow them to cascade down to their sides in small fits. Just perfect. This is my first ballet, so it was a huge and exciting learning experience.
|Actor Todd Bruse as Pa, Ellie as Jane, and Director Sandy Boren-Barrett|
|Ellie and Todd in the woods Photo: Sandy Boren-Barrett|
|Jordan as the Owl|
|Photo: Sandy Boren-Barrett|
|Actor: Todd Bruse Photo: Jeff D. Larson|
JK: What would you like the audience to take away from the performance?
|Set Design: Joe Stanley, Lighting Design: Mike Kittel, Photo: Jeff D. Larson|