Friday, January 15, 2016

Dance Shoes, Dancing and "Showing Up"

Posting was a little light here on The Randy Report yesterday as I was heading up the Los Angeles dance auditions for Sacramento Music Circus' upcoming summer season.

As regular readers of The Randy Report know, I began my professional life as an actor and dancer in musical theater, working on Broadway and in national touring companies of shows like Hello, Dolly!, A Chorus Line, Chicago, 42nd Street and Follies.

Today I'm fortunate to continue working as a director and choreographer. This summer will mark my 4th season at Sacramento Music Circus where I'll be choreographing Hello, Dolly!

I really enjoy being at SMC because:

1. The incredibly supportive environment from the producers and artistic director, Glenn Casale

2. The theater is "in the round" so you're forced to think outside the box of traditional theater and explore more creative ways to tell the story.

3. The talent is absolutely first rate.

Yesterday, I auditioned over 100 super-talented dancers in Los Angeles. What a great experience.

At 52, and as a choreographer, I don't dance full-out regularly myself. But in audition situations, it's only fair that the dancers see what it is I want out of the audition combinations. After all, I made this stuff up - I should be able to dance it full out.

I went through three sets of shoes during the day because, as we danced harder and longer, the room got sweatier and sweatier. I had to switch from dance sneakers to hard-soled shoes for one combination. Then from tap shoes back to hard-soled shoes because the room (and effort) made the floor sticky or slick depending on whether we were tapping or not.

So, there I am doing my best "full-out" in front of these terrific dancers. As the primary "music theater" dance combination closed with the "jumps" section from the Waiter's Gallop in Hello, Dolly!, I promised I would do the section ONCE full out.


It was mainly for comedic effect to put the room at ease.  And, it is fun to find out I can still do this stuff 20 some-odd years after I danced some of this on Broadway. I guess I learned something along the way :)

One aspect of the day that I really enjoyed, as I danced groups of four dancers at a time, was the sense of support the dancers had for each other. We'd get to the "jumps" section and the dancers on the edge of the room would start clapping to cheer their fellow dancers on. It is a very athletic, "power" section, and I saved it for the end. I love that part of being an artist that we can cheer each other on.

In the end, while everyone wants a job, folks realize it's not so much about competing against others as showing up, and "showing off" your best.

Once that's done - you go home, toss your shoes in the corner, pour a glass of wine, and just know you danced it out and left your best on the floor.

You can't do better than that. Whether you're a 52 year old choreographer, or a 20-something young dancer.

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