Thursday, April 11, 2013

Family portrait

When you've lived together a little while, sometimes you all wake up in the morning and decide to wear burgundy.  Apparently.

Projects, bits and pieces, potential always, life is spontaneous, unpredictable, precarious but in all the best ways.

I should talk a little about Slaughter On Tenth because we had our first rehearsal almost a week ago and it was so wonderful.  I realised abut halfway through that really, this is my dream first project.  Who is my favourite choreographer and one of my all-time favourite anythings? Matthew Bourne - Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Car Man, Edward Scissorhands to name a few plus Mary Poppins West End and Broadway.

What is he best known for? Reworking traditional ballet pieces (see aforementioned) and making them into fresh, vibrant, endearing, comical, heart-rending, multi-faceted, newly enriched works that bring people flocking, even those who normally would run a mile from the words 'all-male Swan Lake'.

What am I in? A reworking of a ballet piece originally choreographed by the mighy Balanchine.  Reimagined by Michael Blevins who - let's review - played Paul in A Chorus Line the movie and originated a role in The Tap Dance Kid among other things.  And now that we've had our first session I know that it's been reimagined into sharp, dynamic, fun to watch and dance, zippy piece that tells the requisite story with a Matthew Bourne-esque sense of humour and what I'm going to call 'sense of the pedestrian'.  I LOVE when choreography really harnesses pedestrian movements and turns them into dance movements - good choreograpy does not equal something packed with sensation, high kicks, multiple turns and tricks.  NOOOOO.  Those are wonderful but I strongly feel that they should punctuate and enhance a piece rather BE a piece - big leaps held together with interesting pirouettes only goes so far.  Mr Blevin's SOTA does not have this problem.  Watching this version I feel like you won't see terrifyingly athletic dancers, fortunate enough to be born with near-superhuman flexibility, doing otherworldly movements supposedly telling the story of SOTA.  You will see a crowd of New Yorkers pounding the pavements and reeling at the horror of another shooting - choreography that looks like real people dancing instead of spectacular but distant, unrelateable leaping robots.  That quality is very important to me.

So why is this my dream project? Ever since I first saw Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker on TV one Christmas I have wanted to do something like that because not only do I connect do it very strongly on the basis of its aesthetic and style, but because I get that kind of thinking.  'What if we did this, but like this?' 'What if I wore this floral dress but with holes in my tights and zebra boots?' 'What if this song was electro with multilayered harmonies?' 'yeah but what if my hair was TWO colours?'
Why not? You know when you're headed utside the box.  It's good to go and see what you find out there.  I found a fantastic piece of work that I'm very happy to be a part of!
It's very common for people in my position to do kid's theatre or a summer season at a rep theatre.  Makes sense, those both require a lot of young people, fresh faces, people they can throw in an ensemble and expect to ask how high when they say jump.  All good learning, honing your craft, getting to know people in the industry, seeing how they put up a show in three weeks, etc.  Some of my friends have booked these jobs - Sena, for example, who goes off to do South Pacific in Pennsylvania in the summer - and I'm dead proud of them.  Any of those jobs would be great.  I can however say that I am doing the kind of work that I've wished for for a long long time.  How many people get to say that?

In other news I had a lovely if exhausting time babysitting on Saturday for Jada's 8th Birthday party - helping mum Jodi keep things running, entertaining the twelve 7/8 year olds who assembled (loudly) in her compact but lovely apartment, serving ice cream, supervising glitter glue...y'know.  I was very flattered to be told that I looked like a total pro at these tasks by a friend of Jodi's - well, when you've done enough Birthday parties, dance classes of 3 and 4 yr olds and backstage helping, you kind of feel like a total pro too.  I think it was the garnishing of several bowls of ice cream at the same time with M&Ms, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and sprinkles without missing a beat that really impressed them - proud of that, I am.  (Luckily not many of the girls could manage a lot of their ice cream sundaes because WOW what a sugar high that would be).
And then at the end after the non-sleepover guests had gone home, I got to watch Pocahontas, with the remaining four.  All Disney gals should be like Pocahontas, she runs around the forest with no shoes and jumps on rocks - I realise that I'm not Native American but still, whenever I'm in a position to say which Disney princess I would be, I pick her.  We have those favourite activities in common.

See? Uncanny.

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