Posts Tagged ‘Rehearsals’

We had our in- studio dress rehearsal last night. I felt pretty good about it (I was most worried about Terpsichorus—  a 16-minute ballet, en pointe, pretty difficult– but it went well last night, so hopefully it will continue going well).

The choreographer for Adiemus is in town, so the trainees and apprentices danced it for him for the first time last night. They were nervous, but they all did REALLY well– after they finished the piece, one of the youngest dancers ran up to me and said “[Butterfly]! We did it!” and gave me a hug. Cuteness!

In act 1, I’m only in the first and the last piece, so I spent the in-between helping with costume changes. Firebird is act two; so I spent the “intermission” time helping the other princesses with their fake braids

Mama Butterfly is here to see me dance. We’re about to leave for the theater for dress rehearsal on the stage, so I have to cut this short. Will update later. Wish me luck, internet.

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Mondays are a hectic day for me. I go to ballet class in the morning, come home and go into a flurry of housework (today’s agenda: laundry, dishes, sweeping/mopping, dusting, gardening, and tossing some food into a crock pot… all in two and a half hours), then I grab a quick shower and it’s back to the ballet studio to teach.

(Weirdly, that’s how my Mondays were in Clear Lake last year: class in the morning, housework and cooking, then back to the studio to teach for three hours.)

This Monday comes with a cute story:

Background: Our spring performance is this weekend, so our rehearsal schedule has been getting more intense. We did some rehearsing in costume yesterday, so I decided to do my “performance hair”– a high bun. Now, since my hair isn’t terribly long and thus my bun isn’t very big, I’ve decided to wear a “fake bun”– think a scrunchie of hair curlicues. I make a regular bun, put that fake bun around it, then add the hairnet and hairpins and viola! I suddenly have more hair.

Which brings us to our story: In my intermediate class this afternoon, I was explaining to a student the importance a bun for ballet class (she had a long braid which had whipped her in the face when she did a quick detourne). Another student, who is a Junior Trainee in the company,  interjected with “Your bun looked so pretty yesterday!”

Me: Really my fake hair?

Her: It was fake?!

Me: Yup ( then explained the reason for it).

Her: It was so pretty!

… Well, at least I know now that it looks believable.

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“Small- Girl Haul”

….that’s a term I coined at this weekends’ rehearsals. It refers to when one of the smallest dancers has to travel the farthest across the stage (usually in a short amount of time). I am doing the small-girl haul in three different ballets!

One of the ballets is called Adiemus, choreographed by the same guy who set Firebird on us. The music is by Karl Jenkins, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s mostly for the trainees and apprentices; but they needed a twelfth person who is small enough to blend in with the younger ones. I’m glad they asked me to be in it!

Last night we finished learning Terpsichorus, a 16-minute neoclassical ballet to music by Mozart. It’s a bit tricky, but I’m starting to feel better about it. There are some spots where my brain goes “ahhh, crap, what comes next?” but now that the choreography is starting to get into my body, I’m not as worried about it as I once was. Today I tried it en pointe (in this company, we learn things first in our flat shoes, then transition to pointe once we know the choreography) and it went pretty well. I still need to work on it more, but I’ve got a little over a month until the performance.

Today we got to try on our costumes for Firebird. They are the original costumes from the Paris Opera Ballet’s production in the 60s, and they are magnificent. I might have been a little too jazzed about my princess costume– I spent a good deal of time twirling around in it with a big stupid grin on my face! It’s a sheer, one-shoulder dress over a unitard, with a headpiece and a long, braided hairpiece (which is called a “fall,” I’ve learned). I couldn’t stop smiling.

Last week we had an adjudication for a dance festival. The adjudicator observed a set class taught by our associate director, then we presented three pieces. I was in the second one, a modern piece. Even though I felt very nervous going into it, I felt really good about my performance. That piece wasn’t chosen for the festival, but it will be performed in our spring concert.

So, that’s an update on my dance life. There have been some stressful things happening in my personal/medical life, but that’s another story for another blog post– I’m in a good mood after some good rehearsals, and I don’t want to drag it down.

Have a good evening and keep doing the small-girl haul, everybody.

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Oklahoma! opens tonight. I’m really excited.

The rehearsal Tuesday night was great. My main job was to keep an eye on the dance numbers and make sure everything was as should be. All the choreography was spot-on (I only had a few minor notes), and the live music makes it extra delightful!

I did notice that in two of the numbers, the music for the “dance breaks” was different than the music we had rehearsed to. The choreography still fits– and still works well!– just not quite as perfectly as before. But I expected there to be some musical differences– that happens when you switch from working with a recording to working with a live band. The dance numbers looked clean, and the actors danced with gusto!

Mostly, I got to sit back and enjoy the show. And there’s a lot to enjoy! The actors do a really spectacular job of bringing their characters to life. Laurey is delightfully snarky in some moments and heartbreaking in others. Jud is alternatingly uncomfortably creepy and downright terrifying. Ado Annie and Will are very funny, but the Peddler is hysterical ( the “Persian Goodbye” bit had me in tears from laughing!).

After rehearsal I would tell the cast that aside from the numbers I choreographed, I was seeing the show for the first time…and that as an “audience member”, I greatly enjoyed their performance. 🙂 Everyone left rehearsal in high spirits.

Now Craig and I are getting ready to leave for the opening performance. I’m really excited. Away we go!

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I’m here at the second-to-last ‘Oklahoma!’ rehearsal.

I haven’t been in to rehearsal in almost two weeks. After all the choreography was complete, I took two rehearsals to clean everything up…and to acclamate a new cast member  (we ended up having to replace a cast member in the last few weeks). The young man who jumped in to a fill a (minor-ish) role does a great job and learns quickly, and by the end of the second rehearsal he was dancing both “big” numbers with gusto.

Last week I was going to come in to watch a run-thru, but that day they needed to do a cue-to-cue instead. Today will be my first time seeing the whole show, complete with costumes, full set and band (the musicians are practicing right now, and they sound AWESOME).
Game plan for today is to clean up a few scenes (and numbers) and then do a full run.

We’re starting in 10 minutes, so I better boogie. Later!

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Quick notes from first rehearsal.

I had my first Oklahoma! rehearsal this afternoon, and it went marvelously well.

We started with “The Farmer and the Cowman,” because it’s the biggest, danciest number (I like to stage the biggest numbers first and get them out of the way). All told, the number is just under six minutes long, with 20 performers on stage. The actors– mostly high-school age– were very enthusiastic about learning the choreography and eager to work. They stayed focused, asked questions, and worked together well.

We set the entire number in an hour and forty-five minutes. If that’s not a great first rehearsal,  I don’t know what is!

I actually didn’t think we’d get everything done in one rehearsal (see: six minutes long), and had scheduled our second practice (Friday) to finish it. Now we can spend that day reviewing, cleaning, and fine-tuning instead of finishing the choreography.

We’re off to a great start, and I’m feeling good. 🙂

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Here’s a little about the Godspell, JR rehearsal process:

During the first week of rehearsals I set the first two numbers, “O Bless The Lord” and “Light of the World.” (That week was kind of a blur because it was also my last week of classes). We rehearsed in the medium-sized dance studio, since regular classes were still going on. Mama Butterfly was with me for the second week, and it brought back a lot of memories for her (since I spent most of my youth in musical theater). She, too, was blown away by how quickly the kids picked up the choreography!

After the recital, I started the second week off by setting “We Beseech Thee,” which is a lively number with a barn-dance type feel to it. The kids dance in partners quite a bit in that number; and there’s lots of skipping, chasse-ing and jump-kicking.  The next day (Wednesday) I started teaching “All For the Best” to the actors playing Jesus and Judas. Each character sings (and dances) a verse alone, then they repeat their verses twice more–faster– in counterpoint. The two actors use canes during the second part of number; and when they each showed me some steps that they wanted to do with the canes, I was happy to work those suggestions into the number.

During that rehearsal we also had to work out the little “magic show” that happens in the middle of the number, where Jesus (and then Judas) make the canes appear. Those “magic canes” took a little getting used to– it was hard to get the canes to “appear” exactly when needed, and you had to be sure they didn’t “appear” too close to anybody’s face (We started calling them “cane grenades” after I almost got poked in the eye twice during the first rehearsal).

The following day I taught the rest of the cast their part in “All For the Best,” which is pretty minimal until the very end, when they join in with the singing and dancing. After that the choreography was officially done, and Mama and I celebrated by going to the beach.

"Summers at the sea/ Winters warm and free..."

“Summers at the sea/ Winters warm and free…”

Friday I reviewed all four numbers, and then we had a week off for the Fourth of July (and I had to spend Mama back to Pennsylvania, boo hiss). I only had two rehearsals during the third week, for running and cleaning the numbers. During the fourth week (this week), I came in for run-throughs on Monday and Tuesday, and then it was tech time!


Tech was… tech. It was very stop and go and lots of figuring out sound and light cues; although it went better than about 90% of the tech rehearsals of my youth (my experience is that if you get through tech week without anybody getting into a screaming match/threatening to quit/going on a loud and profanity-laden rant; you had a great tech*).

The final tech was last night. The young actors still had two more rehearsals in the studio space (one today and one tomorrow morning), but I was not called for those rehearsals– I will not see them until the first performance.

I feel pretty good about the four dance numbers; and I think I did a good job adapting the choreography to fit the smaller space. Regardless, it’s all out of my hands now– the show opens tomorrow night. I’m excited to sit back, enjoy the show, watch these talented kiddos do their thing.

Merde to the cast and crew!

*All three of those things happened during tech week when I was in youth theater. Say what you will, but it certainly prepared me for the real world of professional theater & dance.

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