What happens when you’re performing three world premieres in the span of one month? You learn fast.

By Cindy Case

On April 17, fresh from a one-month layoff, the SDB dancers entered the studio with a formidable task: putting together world premieres of a hush-hush new story ballet, a Gershwin suite arranged by Charles McPherson, and the ballet Cityscapes, with music newly commissioned from Kamau Kenyatta. Add to that the restaging of McPherson’s Reflections and Hope, and you have one wild month of learning and performing choreography.

Curious about the new story ballet? Word on the street is that it features a black panther, a dangerous python, and significant hullaBalloo. Audiences at A Night of Jazz & Dance at the Lyceum later this month may even be treated to a sneak peek of the production. To learn more, you’ll have to drop in for the show.

The Gershwin suite is a pocket ballet—two dancers sharing the stage with a three-piece band—but Cityscapes is a musical travelogue on a larger scale. This work, performed by the entire company and a full band, is inspired by the cities that have impacted Kenyatta. One moment we are following three young men in their hometown of San Diego, and the next we are thrown headlong into the sprawling, explosive energy of New York City. After the Big Apple, who knows where we’ll go next?

Balancing all of these new works has led to full rehearsal days and constant memorization of new choreography. The challenges for the dancers are numerous: keeping your body in good working condition, taking in new material without forgetting what you’ve already learned, and finding a different artistic quality to bring to each diverse piece. For the dancers of San Diego Ballet, however, these challenges are ultimately rewarding. Perhaps once the performances are over you’ll find us taking some much-appreciated time off, but until then we’ll be putting in the work for a spectacular end of the season. Join us at A Night of Jazz & Dance, May 18-20, and see us leave it all on the dance floor!