Interview: Orlando Ballet Director Robert Hill’s quest to keep the passion going in Carmina Burana

This past week, we were given a second opportunity to interview Orlando Ballet director Robert Hill during a rehearsal for Dies, nox et omnia (Day, night, and everything), one of his dances for the upcoming Carmina Burana.

We sat in the relocated rehearsal space of Orlando Ballet (more about this exciting news below) and looked on as prima ballerina Kate-Lynn Robichaux learned her dance by 21st century means: watching her 2013-era self perform it on a video monitor. “I’m much more chill about this dance today than I was back then,” Robichaux said. “It’s probably because you just got married,” Mr. Hill responded, and Robichaux grinned as she raised her left hand to show off her ring.

Mr. Hill bounced between chatting with us and leaping up to help form the dance in front of us, explaining to the dancers that the theme of this piece was the male dancer’s exploration of his passion — his reaching within to find emotion, reaching back out to share it with the world. Robichaux performs the embodiment of his dream, allowing her body to be contorted and moved and carried in a complex series of lifts as she lives out the melancholy of male dancer’s imagination.

We pulled up the lyrics to this one while we watched, and Mr. Hill chuckled, explaining that some of the lyrics were impossible to interpret literally. But in this one, the male soloist sings themes that are timeless enough to still be top-40 fodder, and the dance seems to interpret the lyrics well: “Your fair face makes me weep a thousand times, but your heart is ice; to restore me, immediately would I return to life with one kiss.”

How to explain this ballet? Mr. Hill debuted it with Orlando Ballet in 2013, in collaboration with Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra conductor John Sinclair. They were looking for an interesting piece that could combine choral, orchestral, and dance elements to make a dynamic impact on audiences, and struck gold when they decided on Carmina Burana. The music, composed by Carl Orff in 1936, has a lot in common sound-wise with Igor Stravinsky, and is based on medieval yet surprisingly relevant poetry.

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Around Orlando – Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl

Around Orlando is a new feature here at Late to the Theater, wherein Achariya and I will detail local Orlando flavor. So whether you’re thinking about visiting, moving here soon, or just want to explore from the comfort of the internet, have a seat and take a gander! We will be sure to disclose any goods or services we receive. 

Recently I discovered a friend’s fiancée runs an awesome YouTube channel tying together some of my interests – horror, Halloween decor, and living in Orlando!

Say hello to Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl!

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Sci Fi Short: Scavenger

I love when I run across something that reminds me of all the good things people can do.

This sci-fi short imagines an alien running across the Voyager 1 spacecraft and its precious cargo of music, greetings in multiple languages, and children singing. The alien is understandably entranced, and falls in love with humanity and a human woman, causing him to seek out Earth. Yes, it’s the plot of the first Star Trek movie – cut me some slack, I’ve had a rough week.  

I love being reminded that despite the news, Good Things are still happening. People are still communicating messages of hope by making art and music and working together on passion projects.

I love that technology amplifies crystalline notes of hope, and that anyone with the bandwidth and computer access can experience it.

I love that someone imagined an alien falling in love with the best of what humans are capable of.

I love this, and that I’m still alive to appreciate it.

I love.

Achariya: Mother of Bloggers

Here at Late to the Theater, you know Achariya from her in-depth and illuminating articles, such as the ones about her Asian heritage or her childhood spent exploring Hawaiian caves with her entomologist father, but did you know she’s also a sports journalist?

It’s true! 

Achariya
Some of her hockey blogger pals. Photo shamelessly stolen from the Raw Charge site. 

For several years, she was Site Manager for hockey site Raw Charge. She did such a great job whipping folks into shape that one of her proteges wrote her this splendid and heartfelt piece: Raw Charge Secret Santa:  Highlight Achariya, The Queen.

Here’s a list of all the articles she’s written for the site. Spend a bit of time clicking around, even if hockey is an unknown country for you (as it is for me) and you’ll see her enthusiasm, intelligence, and high standards shine through. She’s a great writer, a serious journalist, dedicated Mom, and somehow still manages to be a wonderful human.

Please join me in toasting her, and celebrating her work! Send some good vibes her way, and wish her a happy weekend at DragonCon!

 

In Theaters Now: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The audience came out of the theater. Some were pale, some had reddened eyes, some were crying openly, some hugged and held hands, some just stood looking dazed.

neighbor_fred_daniel
Fred and Daniel Tiger

Currently, the Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor is sitting at a solid 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. There you will find oodles of actual film reviews discussing the technical merits and competencies of the documentary, as well as emotional assessments of its efficacy. I don’t feel the need to belabor the point. See it. Or don’t! 

The documentary opened months ago in April at the Florida Film Festival, and I didn’t go. All the showings were sold out, but had I tried I could have gotten tickets.

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