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On 'Prince,' Six Heads Are Better Than One

January 26, 1986|LEWIS SEGAL

For Holden, the assignment involved coveying his extraordinary character sense through juggling, a movement discipline that only a few beyond-the-mainstream (or off-the-wall) dance companies have used expressively.

"This was something entirely new for me," Holden acknowledges. "We tried to get away from the vaudeville-type thing and stylize the juggling. I hoped it would add to the story. I didn't want it to seem merely tricks."

To work out the look and logistics of Marlin's quick-change identities, Stock brainstormed with the choreographers ("I'd be drawing these sketches real fast and asking 'Like this?,' and they'd say 'Yes, yes!' "). Less tractable, Rodgers rejected a suggestion that he compose a series of two-minute, "Nutcracker"-style numbers for the scene ("That would have been a disaster structurally"). Instead, he provided what he calls "a very large, passacaglia-type fantasia."

As Holden's rehearsals progressed, Frantz, Koenig and Rogers all were on hand to make sure that the scene would not only work on its own terms but would fit into the ballet as a whole. According to Holden, they also contributed "an odd movement here and there"--and he says he liked working that way: "I picked their brains, too, a little bit, if I felt it would enhance the section."

"In the end I think we got the best of everything this way."

"It was not like 'you do your piece in one corner; I do mine in another," Frantz emphasizes. "We worked \o7 together\f7 . I know that we all individually want to succeed but we decided to do 'The Little Prince' as a collaboration, and together we are much better than one."

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