CriticalDance Forum

Choreographer vs Lighting Designer
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Author:  Azlan [ Thu Apr 06, 2000 11:49 am ]
Post subject:  Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

Okay, so I recently witnessed a new classical ballet piece which really had fantastic lighting for the most part. Not only were the dancers highlighted magnificently but there were also interesting effects on the backdrop with subtle lighting changes affecting the mood of the piece.<P>BUT...<P>There was at least one part, near the end, in which the cavaliers lifted their ballerinas into the darkness above. Who's responsible for checking on this *before* the work is shown to the public? The choreographer or the lighting designer?

Author:  trina [ Thu Apr 06, 2000 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

Azlan-the choreographer and technical director or lighting designer collaborate together during the technical rehearsal, to assure that the correct aesthetic, as well as purely technical (making sure the dancers are "in light" if they're supposed to be!, as you mention)demands are met. Sometimes, there is a "mistake" made during a given show, whereby a "cue" is missed and a dancer is dancing in incorrect lighting plot. This could be that someone forgets to call the cue, or there is a technical malfunction, or something like that!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited April 06, 2000).]

Author:  Azlan [ Thu Apr 06, 2000 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

Well, the program I saw was one of the SFB Discovery pieces. If I'm not mistaken, all the ballerinas were lifted into darkness. Maybe it was subtle for the general audience but I certainly felt it looked very unglamorous.<P>You would think that SFB would get it right during full dress rehearsal but then again this was from the Discovery programs which were really in the hands of "young" choreographers, some of whom were creating works for the big stage for the first time.<P>Perhaps it was a rookie mistake?

Author:  trina [ Thu Apr 06, 2000 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

Azlan, the only thing I can think of, is the dancers "marked it" in tech rehearsal..meaning, they didn't lift the dancers overhead! If they had, they would have seen that they were out of light. If they were novice choreographers or technical folks, they may not have realized this issue. <BR>Grace--in the U.S., we have the technical reahearsal first--setting light cues, music cues, etc. Dress rehearsal comes next. As you mentioned, some companies combine them together out of financial necessity!

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Apr 07, 2000 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

I agree with most of the comments above, with a few minor exceptions:<P>In most cases, fixing light cues would not be the technical director's responsibility; it's her/his job to execute the design, not to create or fix it. It's *definitely* the designer's and choreographer's joint responsibility.<P>What you describe doesn't sound like a missed cue; it sounds like an inadequate plot. It's the designer's responsibility to watch rehearsals and notice that there are lifts to be lit.<P>That having been said, there might be extenuating circumstances. The designer might have been under budgetary or time constraints that precluded hanging, cabling, and focussing the additional lights needed. The company might have brought in the LD at such a late time that a cursory galance at the ballet was all that was possible. Both of these have happened to me more times than I care to recall.<P>. . .Or, it could be that the LD blew it.<BR><P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg,<BR>Lighting Designer<BR>NEW URL: <A HREF="<BR>" TARGET=_blank><BR></A>

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Apr 08, 2000 10:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

Or maybe the choreographer made changes at the last minute...

Author:  salzberg [ Sun Apr 09, 2000 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

Maybe, but that's a pretty big change to make at the last minute.<BR><P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg,<BR>Lighting Designer<BR>NEW URL: <A HREF="<BR>" TARGET=_blank><BR></A>

Author:  Albrecht [ Wed Apr 12, 2000 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

azlan, I think you mentioned six premieres by new choreogaphers were performed by san francisco ballet in one or two weeks. the lighting error could be due to lack of experience by the new choreographers and the inability of the company to perform so many new works at once. the resources maybe were stretched too thin.

Author:  salzberg [ Mon Aug 12, 2002 3:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Choreographer vs Lighting Designer

Re: the collaboration between choreographer and designer....

This summer, I worked with a theatre director who is also a costume designer (although he was not designing this particular show). In one of our early conversations, he was full of specific ideas ("We'll followspot this"..."that'll be blue"...etc.). At one point, he stopped and said, "I have no idea how to light this part," at which point I (gently) said, "Y'know, C.T., it really works better if you just talk to me in concepts and let me figure out the specifics. What are you trying to achieve at this point in the show? Why are you staging it this way?"

He paused for a minute, said, "OK," and started talking about his thought processes. We had a really great collaboration over the next few days after after the final dress rehearsal he said to me, "Y'know, you were right. I say the same thing when I design, but when I'm directing I always forget."

The point here is that it's not about ego (well, maybe a little); it's about vocabulary. I light 20 shows a year, during which I'm concerned only with the lighting; even the most successful and talented choreographers and directors do maybe 12 over the same amount of time, and they have to pay attention to lighting, costumes, sets, sound...and even dancers and actors. There's no way they could have the same command of the lighting vocabulary that I do; if they spend their time telling me what they're trying to achieve (rather than telling me how to achieve it), they're much more likely to get what they want.

<small>[ 08-28-2002, 06:32: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

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