This is gonna be quick, just the way Javier Velasco likes it.
When I met Velasco, artistic director for San Diego City Ballet, a company known for its fast-paced turnarounds between practice and production, he was in the midst of ad-lib choreography for Alice in Wonderland, a collaborative performance with the hip-hop group Culture Shock, slated to open Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Without any real, predetermined blueprint-and with just 22 days of rehearsal-Velasco said he'd have no problem finishing the choreography in time. It may come down to making last-minute changes at dress rehearsal, but Velasco said he's used to the rush.
"I tend to work very fast... so, even though it is a crunchy thing"-he laughed at his use of the word "crunchy," then continued: "It's crunch time, [but] I can work that fast. I would love it if I had two months to work on this piece, but that's just not the situation."
Instead, Velasco will work with his ensemble of ballerinas on three scenes from Alice in Wonderland-the pool of tears, the part where Alice shrinks and grows then erupts in giant tears; the famous deck-of-cards scene; and the garden-of-life scene, which is actually adapted from the Alice sequel, Through the Looking Glass. After all that, Velasco will work with Kristy Cirillo and Askar Alinbetov on their solos as Alice and the White Rabbit.
The ballet won't come in contact with Culture Shock until a few days before the performance, at which time the parts of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Caterpillar and the Lion and the Unicorn-again, from Through the Looking Glass-will squeeze their way into the production.
Velasco said he has confidence it will all work out.
"Everything will be choreographed at least by the time we get into the theater," he said. "Sometimes we cut it pretty close, but I think this one will be fine."
Velasco erupted in laughter once again. "I'm sure it will be fine. No, it will be fine."Alice in Wonderland will show at the Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza from Oct. 25 through 29. Tickets range from $18 to $28. Special student matinee shows are $5. 619-294-7311. (www.sandiegoballet.org)