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New York Times A Dancer's Dream

“It’s kind of true that you have this massive dream to be this ballerina, to be out there onstage performing, and you pour everything into it. Then there is a point where you feel like you are trapped in it and cannot get out. And that is the curse.” — Sara Mearns

Dance writer Gia Kourlas presents a peek behind the curtain of A Dancer's Dream in this past Sunday's New York Times. Sara Mearns, Doug Fitch, and Karole Armitage spoke with Gia about all-things Dream, including the narrative that will tie together Stravinsky's The Fairy's Kiss and Petrushka.

(Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

VIDEOS: The Unspoken Side of Show Business

A casting agent walks into a production studio. Hired on the spot, he's tasked with casting a critical role in A Dancer's Dream. Follow his adventures as he contends with Siri, networks with Sara Mearns, and pumps up the virality in Giants Are Small's five-part "documentary" series.

Deciphering the Dream

Deciphering the Dream

"Tonight, our story unfolds as a kind of über Fairy Tale, connecting two great ballets by Stravinsky,” explains  Doug Fitch,  director/designer of A Dancer's Dream, in a note for Playbill: “The thread that weaves them all together takes the form of a young woman who slips into the world of her own imagination and is swept away by muses to become a ballerina.

"The Fairy’s Kiss is based on a haunting story by Hans Christian Andersen (The Ice Maiden) and was composed by Stravinsky as an homage to Tchaikovsky. Stravinsky saw the ‘kiss’ as a metaphor for the artistic gift — that mysterious, intangible phenomenon that can bestow immortality, but not without extracting its human price. We have merged these into a kind of daydream — a reverie induced by the seductive and transformative power of great music…. She then enters into the world of the Shrovetide Fair-setting of Petrushka and becomes the puppet ballerina character Columbine. Things in this daydream seem to have real consequences and it is hard to distinguish the artifice from the reality it is designed to imitate.

"After its premiere, Stravinsky said that dance is not applied arts — it is a union of arts; they strengthen and complement each other. It is in this spirit of developing a union between artistic media — some old, some new — that we have pursued this project…. We invite you to enter this world with us — to put together the pieces in your own mind and to weave your own stories as you watch and listen. You are very much a part of this collaboration."

(Photo of A Dancer’s Dream rehearsal courtesy of Giants Are Small)

SLIDESHOW: A Dancer's Rehearsal

Exactly two weeks before A Dancer’s Dream, we found New York City Ballet principal dancers Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar hard at work rehearsing and preparing with choreographer Karole Armitage and director/designer Doug Fitch with his Giants Are Small crew.

Photos by Chris Lee.

VIDEO: Choreographing A Dancer's Dream

Choreographer Karole Armitage says that she and Giants Are Small detailed a “second-by-second action plan” for A Dancer’s Dream, which uses Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss and Petrushka as the foundation for a new narrative about a young woman (played by New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns) and her dream of becoming a dancer. Check out this video of moments from a recent dance rehearsal. Read More...

Coming to a Theater Near You

Petrushka Popping Up

Tickets are going quickly for A Dancer's Dream. In case you miss it or want to watch it again with popcorn and soda in hand, just head to the movies beginning in September, when SpectiCast will screen the production, complete with behind-the-scenes footage and an intermission feature about Stravinsky's history with the Philharmonic.

A Dancer's Dream will appear in movie theaters, performing arts centers, senior living communities, libraries, and schools throughout the U.S. and beyond (including New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, the U.K., Canada, Russia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and more).

Information on local screenings will be posted at dreamonscreen.com, so check back to find out where A Dancer’s Dream will play near you.

VIDEO: The Making of A Dancer's Dream

Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra won’t be alone onstage when they perform Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss and Petruskha as part of A Dancer's Dream. Far from it.

They'll be joined by 30 dancing miniature mountains, 40 hand-cranked clouds, 1 million individual snow flakes, 75 floating bubbles, 1 star ballerina (the incomparable New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns), 3 puppeteers, and 1 atmosphericist.

Check out this exclusive making-of video in which the giants behind Giants Are Small, director/designer Doug Fitch and producer Edouard Getaz, and Alan Gilbert explain how they have blended music with ballet, live film-making, pre-recorded video, puppetry, circus arts, costuming, and more.

Galleries Are Small

Giants Are Small Exhibit

While bijou in size, the Bruno Walter Gallery at Avery Fisher Hall is currently exploding with materials that celebrate the collaborative projects between the New York Philharmonic and Giants Are Small, the creative dynamos behind our productions of Le Grand Macabre (2010) and The Cunning Little Vixen (2011), leading up to the upcoming A Dancer’s Dream (June 27–29). Gear up for our colorful and imaginative season finale with this exhibition featuring props, production photos, costumes, and sketches, on view now through the end of June.

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