We wish we could have shot the entire Danish portion in Denmark, but it would have been too expensive.
Martha: In the script Noel (Stephen Rea) takes Angie (Geena Davis) to the ballet and she loves it. I wanted a short, stand alone “Pas de Trois” with two men mirroring Angie’s two boyfriends, and I wanted it to be an athletic, sexual dance that might appeal to movie goers who know as little about ballet as Angie does. An opera friend recommended the Meditation from Thais, a beautiful and well known piece in it’s own right and very danceable. I then approached ballet choreographer Michael Smuin, from San Francisco, and Susan Jaffe who was a star at ABT in New York. Susan and her husband, conductor, Paul Connelly, loved the idea and her dance partners Jeremy Collins (ABT) and Robert Conn (Toronto formerly ABT) took on the ballet. Paul conducted and recorded The Meditation specifically for our ballet. Then the three dancers flew out to LA for a short rehearsed with Michael Smuin before we shot the entire sequence at Royce Hall at UCLA in one day. It was an inspirational experience for me as the creation of such a stylized piece of art allowed me to express my themes imaginatively but also demands very precise work. The most amazing part of it for me was the commitment the dancers make to the work and the number of times they fall in rehearsal. Under all that beauty in the film are a number of black and blue marks! I had to be careful and shoot as few takes as possible as usually dancers don’t have to dance their performance over and over again. I loved the vigor of the work so much that I put in the sound of the toe shoes hitting and squeaking on the floor to bring home the humanness of the effort. The entire ballet was included on the Special Edition Laser disc with commentary, but for some reason the dance is not on the DVD. Letters to the company might inspire them to re-release the Laser version with it’s extra material on DVD.
As for Jerry Goldsmith all this was before he came on the picture. He was a wonderful composer and working with him was a whole other story.