We had an amazing time at the Madison Studio’s annual recital yesterday. Nobody threw up or passed out, everyone remembered to throw away their gum before going onstage, and we all danced GREAT. (Okay, I may have kicked someone in the contemporary ballet number, but we don’t need to talk about that.)
We had not really told our dancers what to expect from the recital experience. I’m still second-guessing that choice. Not that one can explain what it’s like to be onstage, but given another opportunity, I will be more explicit about the logistics of the whole affair: there will be parents and dancers scurrying everywhere; come already dressed unless you are willing to strip down to your skivvies in front of 10 other girls*; apply your makeup “in triplicate”**; be ready to hurry up and wait, probably multiple times; yield to exiting dancers; yield faster to dancers exiting faster; watch your sight lines when you stand backstage; and it’s true that you can’t see the audience when you’re performing.
Oh, and: after it’s over, not remembering anything about your performance is normal. So is being exhausted and starving once the adrenaline wears off.
And: HAVE FUN.
*This willingness develops with repeated exposure–I am obsessively modest in my professional life but practically exhibitionist around other dancers.
**A member of our group came out with this slightly cock-eyed yet very accurate description of stage makeup.
No matter what, it was a huge success and I’m sure the dancers learned much more by doing it than they ever would have from listening to us talk. Click through for rundown and videos…
Daniel and I arrived about 5 minutes ahead of most of the rest of the studio. I like to be early so I can walk around, fiddle my makeup, put on more hairspray, and generally get my head together. Also, Miss Giselle was giving a warm-up onstage and I wanted to do that, which I duly did–discovering in the process that I (still) can’t do grande pliés in the center without toppling over! Our dancers came about 15 minutes before curtain time, which was fine because they were already dressed and ready to go. We had time to go over our routine once or twice, give everybody a pep talk, and play a few rounds of Words With Friends. All at once (it always feels this way), it was our turn to stand in the wings and then to go onstage. “Big frames! Smile!” I whispered. “Enjoy!” said Daniel. The number went great! As soon as we were offstage we started high-fiving and congratulating each other. Here’s the performance:
I only got to celebrate for a minute before I needed to go & change for the number Daniel and I were dancing together. This is the same rumba–to Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)” that we did as a showcase at the competition in Augusta. We have practiced it a lot but only performed it 3 times. I think this was the best performance so far. The only challenge was trying not to trip over the edge of the marley floor where it meets the wooden “apron” at the front of the stage. Here we are:
Fun fact: until I watched the video, I had no idea that Daniel had fallen to his knees at the end.
I came off super-psyched after that performance and totally did a victory dance in the stage left wings. Then it was off for another costume change for contemporary ballet. I love this number but I did not feel very secure about the choreography until a week or two ago, and I still made a couple of mistakes in the performance. Still, it was exciting:
With that number finished, we then had a long wait for the “Production Finale” in which all the classes would dance a short (30-60 seconds) routine one after another and then come back onstage for a sort of informal curtain call. This was the real test of our mettle: one kafrillion people in the wings, moving in and out and changing shoes as fast as they could. The highlight was seeing one girl have her pointe shoes taken off for her by two friends because it was faster than her doing it herself. Genius. Fortunately I only had one easy shoe change (from ballroom shoes to the famous FootUndeez) and a reasonable amount of time in which to accomplish it. Here is the finale: ballroom class first, then the contemporary ballet class. The ballroom class follows a musical theatre class that wore hats in part of their routine and the hats were key to us hitting our cue. “We’re on after the hats,” we all reminded each other. We come on right at the 5:00 mark and then I reappear at 7:26:
The best news of all is that our dancers are already excited about continuing with classes and doing recital next year (target dance: waltz, plus a possible cha-cha). AND we picked up a prospective new dancer at dinner last night–hi, Dee Dee! Call me!