Friday, February 27, 2009

T-Mobile Commercial

Only the dancers (and there turn out to be quite a lot of them) knew what was going on in this train station in London. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Bringing dance to the masses and making everyone's day who was there...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dress Rehearsal

OK, last post about the musical before it opens! I'm much less stressed now. Relieved that I really don't have time to do anything else about anything, I guess. I can just let it go and look back with that 20/20 hindsight I've been waiting for and see that this whole process wasn't so bad. (I can see Chuck rolling his eyes. He remembers the rants and frustrations I pummeled him with after returning home from rehearsals.) It's been a bit like childbirth. I'd never done it, so I didn't really know what to expect. I had a little bit of training, but nothing like the real thing. I know what I would do differently and I would definitely do it again. It was worth it. I knew I would say that.
Now is the fun part. Dress rehearsals and feeling like I'm back in college as part of a show. I love the backstage exclusiveness, the knowing that there's stuff going on that the audience will never know and never fully appreciate. I love the bond the performers have just because they've gone through this together and how it extends a little bit to the stage manager, director, and even the choreographer... if she's nice and talks to them and helps them and is there for rehearsals and answers questions... like me.
I forgot the rush of excitement and adrenaline the performance, pending or in progress, provides. I don't ever want to be totally separated from it. I need to keep my fingers and toes dabbling in it somehow.

Here are some pictures from the first dress rehearsal.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Funny Friday

More Brian Regan... since we all just went to the card store a few days before Valentine's Day...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weren't you wondering?

Did Billy Mays ever imagine he would be doing what he is today? Here's what Wikipedia has to say about him:
"William D. Mays (born July 20, 1958) is a television commercial and infomercial salesperson most notable for promoting OxiClean, Orange Glo, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products. He is recognizable for having a shouting approach to pitching an array of products, a distinctive beard, and for wearing a blue shirt."

Then there's KaBoom, Mighty Mend-it, Hercules Hook and that putty stuff that can hold a gazillion pounds when dried.

Wikipedia goes on to say regarding Mays' first big break promoting OrangeGlo on HSN,

"Customer response to Mays' sales pitches were enthusiastic, with a sharp increase in sales after his first day on the network, although some reviews were poor. He is very well known for shouting in lieu of talking during infomercials and regular life."

What a guy.

I Heart the MSO

Chuck took me to a Valentine's Day concert performance by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. It was a pops concert augmented by a jazz singer and a Spanish guitar and percussion ensemble. We really had a nice time. The loge seats (I love the loge) were perfect and not too expensive and the music was enjoyable, especially the Spanish guitars.

When I'm sitting in a music concert, there's really nothing else for me to do but study the details of the performers or the performance space so I end up making lots of little, odd observations. Here are a few:

Chuck and I both noticed that the bass guitar player, stationed right in the middle of the orchestra (probably not standard, but needed for a pops performance) was very expressive. Usually I think of bass players as the guy in the corner of the stage with his shoulders slumped strumming some really boring notes with one finger. This guy was really feeling the music. He would close his eyes lift his shoulders and sway to one side or arch his back with each strum. It almost looked to me like he was pretending that the one note he would play every now and then was carrying the rest of the music out to the audience on it's little tiny shoulders. It was almost like he was conducting in his mind. I found it odd, though, that when he wasn't playing (for instance, when the Spanish trio was performing) he didn't even tap a toe to the music. I couldn't help, but sway and bob my head to the peppy Spanish songs, but he just slumped and looked into space as if there was no music playing at all. He perked right back up as soon as the orchestra began their next song. So funny!

It was next to impossible not to notice the gown the jazz singer was wearing when she made her grand entrance before her first number. She was draped in gold sequined fabric from head to toe and wrapped in a kimono-like floor-length silk jacket printed with very large tawny-colored legumes. My first observation was that the many sparkling folds of the cowl neck on the gown only served to increase the presence of her already ample bust. Maybe not the best choice? I also noticed a bit of fabric dangling under the hem of the dress near her left shoe. I noticed it because it was a little drapey piece of the back side of the fabric. If you've ever seen this stretchy sequined fabric in a store, you know that the other side just looks plain and dull. I thought it was odd that she would buy this dress (I was also thinking "Where on earth could you buy this dress?") with an obvious flaw like that. It was all explained in her second appearance. She had gone back stage for a bit after her first set and she returned sans kimono with the addition of a 20's style hat and a 3-4 foot train. A ha! The train had been tucked up inside her dress somehow for the first part and that's what I could see by her left shoe. She also cleared up another question by revealing that she had decided to sew a special dress for herself for this performance. She bought a bolt of gold sequined fabric and came up with that very interesting creation. I really think she should stick with her singing. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Imminent Opening

I think I'm going to be glad when I'm not posting about the musical any more. The performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week, so I don't have to wait too much longer dreading the painfulness of watching my too-difficult-for-the-time-alotted, wrong-for-the-performance-space, if-I-only-had-known-I-would-have-done-it-differently choreography performed in the show.
I did, at least, have some progress and some good question and answer time last night at rehearsal and I've been told I can come again tonight and try to grab some time with my dancers in between the full run of the show they'll be doing back to back.

It's really a nice show: entertaining, funny, just all around feel-good fun. I'm glad to be a part of the process. I'm just continuing to cross my fingers that there will be a lot of progress made between now and next Thursday when it opens.
Come on left and right turns!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Favorite Friday: Stamping

I did a whole bunch of different art classes when I was being home schooled through high school. One of the classes I did that I used the most was a card-making class. I fell in love with stamping and still have a tackle box full of stamps, papers, punches, embossing powder, glitter, etc.
I thought I would share how easy it is to make a really lovely custom card. Hobby Lobby has an excellent selection of papers and with just a few stamps, you could make a plethora of multi-use cards for all occasions. I made my Christmas cards for several years running and, maybe someday, I'll start it up again.
Hope this inspires you, whether you feel like you're naturally creative or not.


Repetition is good for refining and perfecting, as in; a dance number for a musical review. What I am experiencing is the wrong kind of repetition. Repeatedly missing cast members, beginning rehearsals late and leaving the piece unfinished.
Yes, yet again, the rehearsal did not go as I would have liked. I had two hours promised to me on Monday night so I could finish Some Enchanted Evening (you know, the one that I was supposed to be able to finish Friday night). I arrived early, as usual, but had to start late, as usual, because the rehearsal before mine ran over time.
No one had been able to print out or even view the choreography attachment I had sent in email form to everyone the week before, so no one had been able to review any steps. I thought ahead (for once) and brought printed copies, so everyone now has one and there's no excuse for next time.
I was short two cast members and, lo and behold, had a brand new girl in the piece! Fortunately for the health of my nerves and my blood pressure, Chuck had suggested I pray and give the time to God before I entered the building. What a novel idea! I did just that and I think it helped immensely.
I was able to just roll with it, say "Oh well!" and keep working. I got the whole piece blocked, which means in theater lingo that everyone now knows where they are supposed to be on stage at any given moment, even if they have no idea what the steps are that get them there. I was not able to go over left and right turns, which make up about half the choreography, but I was able to go over the other move and everyone pretty much has that one down except for the timing.
It was a huge relief just to get the blocking finally finished and to make sure that every cast member had a copy of the choreography to study. I'm confident that at least a few of the couples will rehearse outside of scheduled times. The extra girls who are not coupled have their parts perfectly and the main couple have their parts down, as well.
For the most part, it just needs some (major) polishing. My next rehearsal time with them will be tomorrow and it's supposed to be full cast, come heck or high water, disease or you-fill-in-the-blank.
This has been an exercise, not only in choreographing and teaching for theater students and non-dancers, but also in perseverance, patience and retaining hopefulness. I know I would have regretted not participating and will look back on this with gratitude.

9 pm addendum: My next rehearsal with the cast will NOT be tomorrow, in fact, it may be never. I just got an email from the director telling me not to bother coming because she doesn't have time for me to do anything with my piece. She says this is her only time before dress rehearsals with the full cast (which means no more rehearsals for me to attend, I guess) and she needs to just run the show without stopping. Fine, run the show and continue to let two-thirds of my piece look like complete CRAP! The prayer isn't working this time...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Question -

When do I qualify for a "baby-making" trip... you know, they recommend taking trip to get away from the stress that is hindering making a baby. How many months of trying before I'm qualified?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Try, Try Again

I'm not pregnant... again. I spent a mopey day today. Chuck's getting what seems to be our monthly bottle of wine after his workout in a few minutes. I'm not handling this very well. I know I'm being a baby about it, but that's still the way I feel.
If at second you don't succeed.... ??

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Enunciate Please

Eden's had the sniffles, so last night, before putting her in her crib for the night, I said "Let's ask Jesus to help you sleep well tonight." She lit up, raised her eyebrows and pressed her palms together. She thought I said "cheesus." haha! That girl loves her some cheese.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Frustrated Friday

I don't know how much more I can take!
I was called this evening, 20 minutes before I'm supposed to be at rehearsal, by the stage manager. She told me that only 3 of my guys were there. That's half my male cast not present! Plus, I already knew from earlier in the day that my main guy was gone because of a family matter. I was given no explanation or apology and my entire, much anticipated, much needed two hour rehearsal was gone in a matter of seconds.
I'm so upset, I just don't even know what more to say. I HATE unprepared performances. If my name is on it, I want it to look decent, maybe even good. I have three, count 'em, three more rehearsals scheduled right now before the show. There's not enough time to learn it, much less perfect it... and God forbid any thing else would happen to prevent a full cast rehearsal on one of those nights. There's now no wiggle room, no time, no hope.
I'm trying to get on the phone with the director tonight so maybe she can shed some light on how I should feel about this and where we go from here. I know how I feel. I feel like the folks that can't devote the time to this required (from the very beginning) shouldn't be able to participate. I feel like the piece should probably be demoted now to another (there are already several in the show) singing piece, instead of a dancing piece. I'm curious what the director is feeling about it, though. She's kind-of my barometer.
It makes me mad that, if it does have to change now, to something simpler, or no dance at all, that I will have done all that work over the last few weeks and the latest labor of writing out the entire piece for NOTHING!! AAAAAAAugh!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

More Musical

Rehearsal on Monday went ok. I still have not been able to finish setting the "Some Enchanted Evening" choreography. The director was dissapointed that I couldn't set the whole thing, but I get two hours tomorrow night. Hooray! I took the time to type out all the choreography, complete with letters to designate couples and a key to help everyone understand the steps as completely as possible. I wrote which foot was moving, which direction it moves and the count for each movement. It took a lot of work, but I suppose if I ever want to re-set this on another group, I will be able to. I had the stage manager send a copy to the cast and I'm hoping everyone will have a chance to look it over before tomorrow's rehearsal. All choreography must be learned by Monday, I think, so this is mine and the cast's last chance.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Musical Update

I have finally come up with an ending for Some Enchanted Evening that I like. We got to the very last chorus during last week's rehearsal and we didn't have time to go on, which was good since I didn't quite know what I wanted to do from there.
I'm hoping that everyone will be present and on time this evening and that there will be no new people to teach the steps to. I'm praying for divine choreography retention and miraculous ability to execute the steps we've learned thus far. It is now February and the show is going to be performed in this very month!
I am excited about tonight and I'm determined to keep the excitement and good attitude. I can see the finished product in my head. If everyone catches on and remembers their parts... it has the potential for awesomeness and I'll be proud to have a video of it (hopefully). If it ends up looking like poopy, I'll just chalk it up to a learning experience.