California Dance Institute is pleased to welcome you to the inaugural post of Carole’s blog. As you all know, Carole spent the summer in Greece, but was invited to a pretty exciting event just before she headed back to the US. Here’s Carole:
Heading back to L.A. for the start of our fall classes, I was waylaid by the “Rite of Spring” and asked to speak at the launch party for Millicent Hodson’s book, The Lost Rite. This wonderful book documented Millicent’s 25 years of working to bring Nijinsky’s original 1913 choreography back to Le Sacre du printemps after it was (supposedly) lost to the world.
As one of the two dancers with whom Millicent worked out the choreography for the “Chosen One” solo, I was privileged to dance in the much heralded premier of the work in 1987. As you can imagine, it was also a privilege to speak at this book launch, which took place at the Polish Cultural Institute in London. Nijinsky himself was Polish-Russian and thus that community, as well as the dance community in London, was present for the evening.
I have known Millicent since working together in 1987 on Sacre. Then as now, everything she does is detailed, thorough, impeccable and gracious. She has now set the ballet on 12 different companies, one of the most recent being the Polish National Ballet. But she always cites the Joffrey Company and Robert Joffrey, and singles out Beatriz Rodriguez and me as the original “Chosen Ones,” with whom she started her first rehearsals.
The book launch was a lovely evening in extraordinary surroundings. The Polish Embassy in London is a grand building with large, gracious rooms. The assembled guests were an interesting and interested group. I was delighted to be given a pair of designer shoes painted by a Polish artist just as the “Sacre” shoes had been. I was introduced as a principal dancer with the Joffrey and one of the original “Chosen Ones,” but also as the Founder and Director of a wonderful dance program for children in Los Angeles schools, which interested this audience very much. I thank all our wonderful CDI supporters, because subsequent conversations took place about CDI and the work that we do with children. You make CDI possible, and it was terrific to be able to share how much CDI children had loved doing the “Rite of Spring.”
Notable connections were made, including with Royal Ballet dancers and staff, due to the fact that the Joffrey had a wonderful relationship with the company through the works of Sir Frederick Ashton. It was heartening to be among people who not only recognized and appreciated the high-level artistic work, research and performance, but also the value of dance and the arts for children in their education, whether they want to become professional dancers or not.