She acknowledges possessing "evidence that can be used in different ways," admits that she's frequently needed to choose between conflicting (and often equally authentic) descriptions of certain moments, and reveals that she's even had to fill in undocumented passages with new choreography--"making a link," in her words, "between the last known movement and the next known movement."
But she insists that she is not staging her version or re - creation of the ballet ("that would have taken so much less time").
"I think ultimately there is always this argument in any kind of anthropology," she says, "and the question of interpretation is at the root of it. There are many nuances that belong to the performing arts that are never documented, even in something as finite as a notated score. There's so much interpretation even if you're a rehearsal director working with a choreographer who's sitting beside you."
"This (production) is a historical documentation. There \o7 is\f7 interpretation, but I have evidence of some sort for everything I've used. Some of it is, you might say, ironclad: Stravinsky's notes (on the choreography) in his score. That's very inadequate by itself, but it's what I began with and it gets much richer when you add all the sound data that's in Rambert's score."
"It is not \o7 my\f7 version because I think there is material that is inescapable in it, a logic, a way of putting things together. There's a certain principle that holds and, because of that, I don't believe that something all that different would be arrived at by someone else."
The project has already changed Hodson's life. She met Archer in 1981 after she wrote him a long letter with a list of questions about the ballet. A year later they were married. Their prospects after Sept. 30 include publishing all their documentation and then--well, who knows? It depends. "There \o7 will\f7 be another project," Hodson says, "but right now all I can think about is the next 10 measures."
Asked if they've considered reconstructing Nijinsky's last ballet, "Till Eulenspiegel" (1916), a lost work less celebrated and documented than "Sacre," Hodson and Archer share a big laugh and exchange a quick look.
"That's a good question," they answer almost simultaneously.