Choreography Under the Wire

I can’t imagine that I was the only young dancer (or other performing artist) that had daydreamed about suddenly being thrown into a show at the last minute and really rising to the occasion. I can remember sitting in the audience at Clowes Hall and letting my mind drift. The principal dancer would suddenly become sick right before intermission: they didn’t have an understudy nor did they have an extra dancer that could jump into the role. NATURALLY, they would have to find someone from the audience. Of course I would be chosen and I would learn the whole second Act effortlessly during intermission. I would dance it perfectly. Never was there any concern with remembering the steps. No apprehension, no panic, no fear or worry that I might not do the piece justice. No concern that I could not fill the shoes of the beautiful dancer that performed the role before me.

I’m finding out that when this occurs in real life- it doesn’t quite feel the same. Lovely Katelin was
injured in rehearsal on Wednesday night. Luckily it’s nothing too serious but she is on crutches and is unable to dance for awhile. Heidi called on Thursday asking if I would be willing to learn Katelin’s massive part in Michelle’s piece. I said yes.

As soon as I hung up, panic set in. I believe that this is the fastest turn around to learn a piece that I’ve ever had to do. (Shockingly, I’ve never been asked to learn a piece during intermission.) I instantly had “pre-performance butterflies.” What if my old dancer brain couldn’t remember the movement? What if my lack of remembering the piece, messes up Charise and Sarah? I really don’t want to let everyone down. I know that Katelin and I are different dancers but she dances this part so beautifully. She’s got such a light, fragile and battered quality. Her feelings of abuse and inward reflection come across so blaringly yet minimally. This daydream is feeling very daunting.

Michelle and I met on Thursday night and I learned about a minute and a half of choreography in her dining room. I’m hoping that it stuck. Only 4 and a half minutes to go! We met again on Friday to review and discuss the partnering for the remainder of the piece. The first time that I will get to rehearse this piece with the other dancers will likely be during tech and dress rehearsal. SCARY. By the time this blog posts, we will have completed our run in Fort Wayne. I’ll
provide an update if I fail miserably. It will be good for a laugh.

-JT

Katelin in the original production of "IN"

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