Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 24

n DISCOURSE this next generation of female choreogra- phers coming up is going to have a lot more opportunity than I did, and that is great. We [also] talk about the lack of diversity on our stages — if the only people doing these jobs are the ones who don’t have to make a living doing it, everyone is going to look a certain way. So if we want to talk about diversity we have to talk about a liv- ing wage for artists. What do today’s ballet audiences want, and how does your approach fit? I think all performing arts are dealing with this right now. We currently as a society have access to so much media, so cheaply, if you’re going to convince people to leave their house and their Netflix and their glass of wine and they’re in their pajamas [to] come out to see a show, you have to be able to offer an entire experience. For “Beer and Ballet” we had Ruhstaller pouring beer, and you get to come in and have your beer and watch these dancers from literally like 7 feet away [in the front row]. We’re also look- ing to expand the arch of engagement, so when you come to see the ballet, you’re not just here for two hours and not thinking of us before and after. We want to be able to send you videos and different interviews with the choreographers, sneak peeks [of] rehearsal. We’re also starting to do a lot of Second Saturday stuff, where we invite people to come in and watch a little bit of our process. … I think people are looking for different access points, different ways to understand ballet, different ways to experience ballet. I think for some people ballet feels like you need a secret handshake to understand it. Or they saw a ballet once and didn’t get it. So if you can offer the access points, some- times you see the lightbulb go off. How do you balance being inventive and embracing change with pleasing longtime patrons? I did a new “Nutcracker” this year, which was so much fun. Me being a middle-aged woman in America, there were things that were very important for me to say in “Nutcracker” that were potentially “non- traditional.” For example, there’s a point in the party scene when the music is very sweet, it’s like a lullaby, and very often you see all the girls rocking the dolls that they just received, and a cacophony happens, and all the boys come through and make a ruckus and disrupt everything. It was very important to me that both girls and boys make a ruckus, because sometimes girls are loud [laughs]. Especially if you’re going to do this ballet that is the most per- formed ballet in the United States and that a lot of children are seeing, that they’re not seeing stereotypical gender roles of kids, and not all the girls are sweet and all the “boys will be boys.” I’m going to say 95 percent of the audience didn’t even notice. … There is [also] a moment when Marie has been attacked by the mice, and the Sacramento Bank of Commerce is partnering with Merchants Bank to become Merchants Bank of Commerce. That means we can offer even more experience and resources to help your business thrive. You’ll still enjoy the excellence in banking you expect — from the people you’ve come to trust. 916.772.0131 | MBOC.COM “” Bank of Commerce is more than a bank they are a partner in our success. Still your bank of choice. — PATTI HENLEY | CEO, LIVINGSTON’S CONCRETE Member FDIC FI N A N CI A L LY S T RON G | DEDI C AT ED TO T H E COM M U N I T Y | FOCUSED ON YOU R SUCCE SS 24 comstocksmag.com | May 2019