Internationally-regarded repetiteur Anna-Marie Holmes is staging TWB's premiere of Don Quixote. Read on to learn about her experience with The Washington Ballet and the "Man of La Mancha."
TWB: What is it like working with the dancers of The Washington Ballet?
AMH: Working with the dancers of The Washington Ballet is great fun. They have a vibrant spirit and seem to really enjoy dancing. Because the company is small, they are used to doing many roles and love to do it all. Don Q has many roles, and so several the dancers are doing different parts.
TWB: What is your favorite scene in Don Quixote and why?
AMH: I do not have a favorite scene in Don Q. It all is exciting and interesting. There is the first act which sets up the plot, followed by the second act with the beautiful dream scene and exciting gypsy dance, and then the third act with the Fandango and grand pas de deux, etc. The music was written for this ballet by Minkus, so it fits perfectly.
TWB: How is your version of Don Q different from others?
AMH: My version is different from others because through the years, I have kept paring down to the pure dance essence of Don Q . When I first did it, I added many Spanish dances and it became too long. Now, I have added only the men’s Flamenco Spanish dancing at the beginning of the taverna scene and put the coda from act two at the end of the ballet to make an exciting ending with everyone. I love this men's Flamenco dance at the beginning of the taverna (third act), as it makes one think they are in Spain in a taverna. I remember being in places like this when I was in Spain. I also spend a lot of time on the acting, as it is a story ballet. So the audience needs to understand what is going on.