Thoughts Before the Last Rehearsal

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Wow, we have our final rehearsal in the theater this evening! I am amazed by how quickly this project has gone by; but I am even more amazed by how much we have all learned and grown. As I prepare for this last rehearsal before the shows tomorrow, I decided to write down all the main notes/corrections that I try to keep in mind while doing Party Mix.

Notes on Party Mix

Exaggerate arms during entrance and the part when am tapping Mariel’s hand

Remember the new spacing (Mariel starts on stage right now, so I have to travel more; when Luna, Sabine & I turn to travel back, we also need to travel)

Posing in the background –> keep arms up and strong angles; remember the head angle !! look statuesque and really strong

Background traveling (switching) step –> make sure to travel and switch head

Aleca starts pulsing before everyone does

When running to exit (& stopping/posing), make sure to lead with the torso forward

When running back on stage for the arm “swing/throw” cannon, run past center for the first one; don’t wait full four counts to run again for the second one (go sooner)

Arms linked pose àmake sure we are downstage right enough (I have to set that since I am the first one)

For the figure 8, make sure to make the jump powerful, strong arms, angled head, stay suspended/lifted in the air for a moment (same for the jump to exit the stage)

Entrance for guys’ part: start walking on stage after Mariel’s transition (5 steps!)

Arms for guy part are held and slightly open

Facial expression for guy part is a sort of “cocky” expression, not angry; it is humorous

The first set of eight pulses are more like little jumps in place rather than heel pulses; The second set of 4 are in plie, and open into second

Remember shape of contraction (w/ legs straight and arms out straight); jumps are in place, feet flexed & leaning forward

For the circle part: travel and stay behind Sabine so it doesn’t look like two separate groups; also travel downstage to keep the circle and not cut it off; remember the counts (8, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; arm swing pas de chats are 8 & 4cts)

Travel a lot doing the hitch kicks right before the men fight scene

For the jump when exiting off the stage (after the women exit), make sure bottom leg also bends (in attitude as well) rather than staying straight

Men and women upstage partnering section: make sure to keep counting; make sure all poses are strong and statuesque; when hugging, men are holding around the shoulders; smile at partners during musical chairs

When running for the fight scene with Liam, make sure to travel upstage right; for the partnering leaps, lock arms tightly, pull him up when he jumps; look down and hold close when I jump

When the guys are standing with arms linked (during Mariel’s part), our hands are in fists on hips

When Mariel hits my hand, it flutters rather than getting thrown back

After we lift Mariel, the pas de chat’s are really big (feet flexed), & I look at Brittany

Paycheck entrance: legs are straight in jump, land in plie and straighten; the steps in the circle are sharp (make sure they don’t start to drag)

Strong party mix arms in the three poses as we move in on the circle

Last section: arms are thrown back, hug over partner; when we chasse keep the circle together; keep energy up, don’t look like you’re dying!

Returning to the Studio & Reintroducing My Body to Movement

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Wow. Even after a couple rehearsals under our belts, I still find myself saying, “I can’t believe I’m doing this again.” I haven’t danced like this in a long time. A really long time. It has been almost two years since I graduated, and since then—aside from a few technique classes with my undergrad dance group—I was hardly ever in the studio anymore. Anytime that I would come back to the barre, I would just leave the studio disappointed by how much I lost and wasn’t able to do anymore.  I was starting to come to terms with the fact that dance wasn’t the major part of my life as it once was—that I could pop into a class whenever I had time, but that was it. Then I heard about this project.

After seeing the FB event for the audition, I couldn’t stop thinking about this opportunity. Despite my desire to do it, I was still debating whether I should go to the audition even half an hour before it started. Once I was there, however, I couldn’t get over how amazing it felt to move again. For the first time in awhile, I felt exhilarated when I left the studio.

Every rehearsal so far has been a similar roller coaster of emotions. Each time I walk up the steps of BRL, I am a bundle of nerves, anticipating that there will be a number of things that I will struggle to be able to do. At the start of warm-up, I feel shaky and off balance, my hips feel so constricted and unable to turn out, and my feet feel like blocks of wood, unable to point. Slowly, however, all these anxieties start to fade away. I begin to feel more and more comfortable and I fall back in love with moving.

I feel incredibly grateful to watch and learn from Ruthie, Amanda, Michael, and this process. I initially didn’t put much thought into what it takes to recreate a piece that hasn’t been done in over forty years. But I am astounded by all the work that they have been doing: studying blurry and silent videos of the choreography, dissecting the musical score, and so much more. It has made me think a lot about how dance is preserved and translated over years—especially with the work that has come from some of the greats like Paul Taylor. Ruthie is full of wisdom and has so many stories about working first-hand with some of the most influential dancers: Paul Taylor, of course, but also Baryshnikov, Nureyev, and so many more. I am trying to soak in everything that they have to share with us.

In addition to reintroducing my body to movement and dancing, I feel like I am gaining so much more. I look forward to what is to come in the next few months as we delve deeper into this project. It just feels so good to be moving again.