The Next Big Project

An excerpt from an upcoming choreographic project:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
From collegiate grudge break to new mutiny,
One, from a swamp with Champions sweat fresh,
Another, from Royal steps and ancient finesse.
In fair Florida, where we lay our scene,
Where football fans make civil hands unclean.
A pair of star cross’d lovers find each others company,
on the eve of a celebration, from hosts of Tallahassee.
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
From hence, comes this story of Juliet and her Romeo
One of House Gator and the other of House Seminole.

I’m torn here. One part of me thinks this is genius. Another part of me thinks I’m totally lame. But before I get to that, let me Tarentino this story back to the beginning for appropriate background info.

Every year the Danscompany of Gainesville puts on a concert of company works and a dancey version of “The Wiz” for the kiddies. In recent years, the company has received a good amount of Florida grant money to continue doing what we do in exchange for including some sort of Florida theme into our annual concert.

As far as themes go, Florida is pretty lame.

This is not to say that Florida is a crappy state. There is some nice stuff down here. But dance is an art form that has the ability to change the way people think and perceive the world around them. Yet here we are, using our talents to make a commercial for politicians.

Some time ago, I had a brilliant (albeit not an original idea) to make Romeo and Juliet into a dance piece. I wanted to create a work that centered around the animosity between the two warring houses. In order to keep the story related to Shakespeare’s famous work, I included a scene from the Capulet feast in which the house of Montague would crash the party after the fated lovers meet. I had it all planned out in my head with the perfect music. As long as the choreography could keep up with my expectations, it would be an epic piece. Then, only a few months ago I had the perfect way to integrate a Florida theme to the piece. Instead of the Capulet and Montague houses from the play I would use the rivalry of the University of Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles. Problem solved.

So that brings us back to my current situation. I’m torn between the great execution of a possibly lame idea. I’ve completed the choreography and brought the piece to life with all of the drama that this age old story could possibly bring without stepping on Shakespeare or West Side Story. Except that every time I try to tell someone about it, the summary of the piece sounds like: “I made a hip hop version of Romeo and Juliet but instead of house Capulet and house Montague, its house Gator and house Seminole.”

Maybe its just me. Maybe I’m over analyzing it. I’ve looked at the piece with a highly critical eye to make it as good as it can be, but sometimes my eye can be too critical. Then again, I’ve convinced myself of genius before where none existed and felt quite the fool when looking things over a second time.

At this point there is nothing left I can do besides dance my butt off and hope it pays off. Show goes up at the Phillips Center on March 12th, 2011.