Kathryn Posin has been working in a studio with about two dozen dancers for days, shaping and refining their moves
Posin created her version of “Scheherazade” about three years ago, after she received a very particular request.
When it comes to name recognition, you can’t do much better than “Scheherazade.” The music, written by Rimsky-Korsakov in the 1880s, remains hugely popular. And there was a famous ballet done in France in 1910. Yes, the story is Middle Eastern, but there’s so much MORE.
The composer based his score on “A Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” which he read in translation. But musically, he also turned to the most popular dance style of his time – the waltz.
Posin gives that three-beat dance additional Middle Eastern texture by adding finger cymbals to the costumes of three women in the company.
Posin also knows that while she’s referencing classical ballet, what moves the audience is the romantic fantasy that the dancers conjure on stage.
So think of “Scheherazade” as a dream of an exotic Islamic city that never was, interpreted by a composer from Czarist Russia, and later a Paris choreographer, re-imagined by a American on a stage in Sacramento, who sees the story from a woman’s point of view.