When Caroline Randall Williams’s book of poetry “Lucy Negro, Redux” was published in 2015, she hoped its words would transcend the pages on which they were printed. But she said she never imagined that the book would be turned into a ballet.
Paul Vasterling, the artistic director at Nashville Ballet, based in the Tennessee city that is also Ms. Williams’s hometown, read the book in 2016 and knew immediately that he wanted to adapt it for the stage. “The images the book pulled up for me are very dancelike,” Mr. Vasterling said. “Poetry is close to dance because it’s open to interpretation, and you bring yourself to it.”
“Lucy Negro, Redux” tells the story of a slice of Shakespeare’s love life from the perspective of the so-called Dark Lady for whom many of his sonnets were written. Some scholars and readers, including Ms. Williams, believe that the Dark Lady was Dark Luce or Lucy Negro — not just a woman with dark eyes and hair, but a black woman who owned a brothel in London.
In the ballet, “Attitude: Lucy Negro Redux,” which is to have its premiere on Friday in Nashville, Ms. Williams’s poetry is both script and part of the music. She will read some poems onstage, including a sequence that Mr. Vasterling said inspired a danced montage of Lucy’s past, her life as a prostitute, her struggles and, finally, her claiming of her own power. A pas de deux with Lucy and Shakespeare was inspired by a section of the book called “Happy Duet of Lucy and Shakespeare.”
“One of the undercurrents of those poems is that she is unbothered by him,” Ms. Williams said. Shakespeare “is obsessed with her. He is shook by this woman, and he’s like ‘You don’t love me back! I don’t know how to operate within the universe.’ And this woman is like, ‘Get out of here, I’m so good with myself that you’re not good enough, Shakespeare.’”
The production’s creative team places three women of color front and center: Ms. Williams, the ballerina Kayla Rowser and the musician Rhiannon Giddens. If the ballet is about Lucy’s power and otherness, its back storyis about the collaboration of these women, who with Mr. Vasterling and the jazz composer Francesco Turrisi, are bringing Lucy to the stage.
When Ms. Williams was first approached by Mr. Vasterling about making her book a ballet, she was interested but had one important question for him: “Do you have a dancer that makes sense?”
“And by that,” she said, “I meant: Do you have a world class woman of color?”
He had the perfect dancer — Ms. Rowser, who had more than a decade of experience and several principal roles under her belt, including Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake” and Aurora in “The Sleeping Beauty.”
With the lead role filled, Ms. Williams and Mr. Vasterling had to make some choices about music. Ms. Williams had one person in mind: Ms. Giddens. The two had met years before and had been itching to collaborate.
“This book has blues, it has rock ‘n’ roll,” Ms. Williams said. “It has the past, the present — and Rhiannon’s career has been about making the past relevant in the present, finding intersections, creating new art out of that which is old.”
The plan was that Ms. Giddens would contribute a few songs, but she ended up doing the entire score, working closely with Mr. Turrisi. The music is an amalgamation of Shakespearean-era Renaissance and early American — banjo, blues and work songs — joined occasionally by Ms. Williams’s poetry.
“It’s amazing how well they work together,” Ms. Giddens said.
Ms. Giddens, 41, who has been described as an anthropologist of traditional songwriting, said creating the ballet’s score was a chance to continue her goal of collaborating with, and highlighting stories about, black women. “Working on this was a way to do that,” she said, “while crossing disciplines with Caroline and Kayla.” She and Mr. Turrisi will also perform the music live.
The process of making “Attitude: Lucy Negro Redux” was intensely collaborative. In August, the creative team spent a week at the Chautauqua Institution in New York working and reworking every aspect of the ballet. The group talked about what to cut from the book and what to keep, what kind of steps to include in the choreography and how to best work the poetry into the score.
Ms. Rowser, who has had multiple roles made for her, said this was the first time that she was deeply involved in the choreographing of a ballet from its earliest stages. It’s also “the first time that something will be created where part of who I am is absolutely necessary to the role,” she said.
Depicting the “unbothered” Lucy of Ms. Williams’s poems in ballet was a challenge. To avoid presenting Lucy through a male point of view, Mr. Vasterling and Ms. Williams worked closely together, always considering how Ms. Rowser felt while doing the choreography.
One thing Ms. Rowser knew right away, she said, was that she wanted to be on point for the whole ballet, though Mr. Vasterling had planned to use point only at the end when “Lucy finds her strength.” But for Ms. Rowser, “her strength was always there.”
Mr. Vasterling stressed that “We have been hyper-conscious about presenting Lucy as an independent woman comfortable in her own skin, her beauty and her power — I believe this was the truth that Caroline was working for in her poetry.”
Ms. Williams, 31, didn’t start as a poet. She grew up in Nashville wanting to act in Shakespearean plays. But she couldn’t find multilayered stories about black women in that repertory. So, at the advice of her mother, Alice Randall, she wrote “Lucy Negro, Redux,” to help fill that gap — and to give her a role with which she could identify.
“I came to Shakespeare as an actress at a young age,” Ms. Williams said. “So discovering this woman that was attached to him and then rereading when he says ‘if hairs be wires, black wires grow from her head’ and thinking maybe she was just really black like me helped me.”
Working on this ballet had special meaning for its female collaborators, but they aren’t shy about the important role Mr. Vasterling and Mr. Turrisi have played in bringing “Lucy Negro, Redux” to the stage.
“We can’t do this alone,” Ms. Giddens said. “No one can do anything alone. And so when an ally comes in the form of Paul or Francesco, for example, it’s important to listen.”
For Ms. Williams, the goal is to inspire: “I hope anyone who is any kind of other will see us three women of color in these traditionally white arts — bluegrass music, classical ballet and Shakespearean theater — and say ‘they belong there, and I do, too,’” she said.B:
大姐心水论坛02222【终】【于】【完】【本】【了】？ 【终】【于】【完】【本】【了】。 【这】【本】【书】【的】【成】【绩】【说】【实】【在】【的】，【比】【前】【几】【本】【都】【要】【好】，【要】【好】【太】【多】【了】，【均】【订】【几】【乎】【翻】【了】【几】【倍】，【但】【要】【说】【效】【果】，【还】【是】【感】【觉】【不】【太】【理】【想】。 【主】【要】【是】【在】【开】【篇】【的】【时】【候】【出】【了】【几】【个】【失】【误】，【比】【如】【在】【漫】【威】【写】【帮】【派】，【劝】【退】【了】【不】【少】【读】【者】。 【因】【为】【我】【一】【开】【始】【先】【接】【触】【的】【是】【玄】【幻】，【都】【市】，【写】【的】【时】【候】【下】【意】【识】【就】【这】【么】【设】【计】【剧】【情】【了】，【结】【果】
【她】【没】【有】【应】【声】，【楚】【融】【以】【为】【她】【出】【去】【了】，【便】【离】【开】【了】。 【他】【前】【脚】【一】【走】，【司】【徒】【姝】【后】【脚】【就】【离】【开】【了】【王】【府】，【没】【有】【惊】【动】【任】【何】【人】，【就】【如】【同】【她】【当】【初】【离】【开】【南】【宫】【家】【一】【样】。 【她】【漫】【无】【目】【的】【的】【走】【在】【路】【上】，【思】【绪】【飘】【忽】，【路】【上】【的】【行】【人】【纷】【纷】【扰】【扰】，【街】【上】【的】【景】【象】【也】【热】【闹】【非】【凡】，【向】【来】【喜】【欢】【这】【番】【场】【面】【的】【她】，【此】【时】【却】【没】【有】【半】【点】【愉】【悦】【的】【心】【情】。 【突】【然】【不】【知】【道】【是】【什】【么】【人】【撞】
【朱】【温】【与】【莫】【北】【河】【长】【久】【以】【来】，【已】【是】【配】【合】【的】【亲】【密】【无】【间】，【当】【下】【一】【左】【一】【右】【朝】【着】【风】【回】【攻】【来】，【却】【也】【是】【一】【时】【让】【风】【回】【招】【架】【不】【住】。 【就】【在】【拳】【掌】【临】【近】【风】【回】【面】【门】【之】【际】，【风】【回】【脖】【颈】【一】【缩】，【身】【形】【却】【是】【回】【退】【到】【了】【后】【方】【的】【一】【处】【甬】【道】【之】【内】，【莫】【北】【河】【正】【欲】【上】【前】【追】【赶】，【却】【是】【让】【朱】【温】【给】【止】【住】【了】【脚】【步】。 “【内】【中】【情】【况】【不】【明】，【不】【知】【道】【这】【小】【子】【还】【有】【何】【种】【诡】【计】【密】【布】【其】【中】，【你】大姐心水论坛02222【小】【童】【听】【了】【自】【己】【小】【姐】【所】【说】【的】【话】【之】【后】【呢】，【就】【看】【着】【自】【己】【的】【小】【姐】【对】【着】【自】【己】【的】【小】【姐】【说】【道】，“【小】【姐】，【我】【这】【是】【非】【常】【的】【感】【动】【的】！” 【白】【彩】【月】【也】【见】【到】【小】【童】【的】【这】【一】【副】【样】【子】，【自】【己】【都】【不】【知】【道】【自】【己】【对】【这】【一】【个】【小】【丫】【头】【做】【出】【了】【什】【么】【感】【动】【的】【事】【情】，【为】【什】【么】【这】【一】【个】【小】【丫】【头】【会】【那】【么】【多】【感】【动】【的】，【只】【见】【白】【彩】【月】【对】【着】【面】【前】【的】【这】【一】【个】【小】【丫】【头】【说】，“【小】【童】，【你】【家】【小】【姐】【我】【真】