Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dancing, weddings and the Hokey Pokey

Dance rehearsal today was ok. The choreographer is good at teaching those of us who know very little how to do the basics. My lack of training is very apparent, as is my lack of natural ability. I don't think I am hopeless. Just awkward. And I may need a few private dance classes to get what I need to get. Luckily, my part is heavy acting and vocal, but my character doesn't necessarily have to dance in every number. So I have a few scenes doing what I am good at - acting - and it is pretty positive I won't be a featured dancer. And I am ok with that. I'd rather be a featured actor.

The girls that can dance really make it look easy. I admire them. I wish I naturally could make my body look the way theirs do. I don't know why I don't have that kind of body awareness. I just don't. Without the mirrored walls, I simply don't have any idea what my body looks like while I am trying to move it around. I hear all the time that it is just a matter of practice and experience, but I don't think so. I don't discount practice in bettering technique, but I think there is a case to be made for natural ability. I am an actor. I know this. What I do is mostly instinct and observation; knowing how people talk and act when they feel certain ways and being able to recreate that as naturally as possible. This is something I have always been able to do with very little teaching needed. I can train my voice and learn about scripts and breathing and other little things to make me better, but I believe I am an actor because I was made this way, in the same way that I was not made a dancer. I am not saying I can't get any better, but it isn't my inborn ability and it never will be.

For instance, there is a girl in the show that doesn't have a lot of dance training. But she does have a lot of dance experience in theatre. And she is good. Her body moves beautifully and she is lovely to watch. But the choreographer and dance captain correct her often on technique, always tweaking this and that and posture and other little things. Seems to me that she is constantly being corrected. I believe this is because what she is is a natural dancer with inborn ability, but hasn't been drilled and trained into ballet technique. And it must drive 'real' dancers crazy that she is so close, but just not exactly right. So they choose to correct her tiny mistakes and let me fall all over myself with little comment. Of course I am glad they don't comment on how obviously unschooled and slowly learning I am. They are probably making mental note that this particular working girl should be leaning seductively on a banister while the other girls dance. And I am so ok with that. I can give sexy eyes like nobody's business, but please don't ask me to can-can.

Rehearsal ended at 2:00 and I went home to quickly eat, change and head to Austin for a wedding. Andrea's brother got married at 4:00 this afternoon and it was fun. Very irreverent. Bridesmaids wore their own choice of black dress and colorful shoes. And the groomsmen (and bridesmen) wore whatever they wanted under their jackets: bright t-shirts, tux t-shirts, some funky jacket with furry arms. One even wore a head to toe orange tux, complete with patent leather orange shoes and tophat. Very awesome. The vows included 'to love honor and cherish in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer and on all federal holidays.' The rings were exchanged to vows of 'take this off at your own peril.' Pretty awesome. Then the pizza arrived. Yup. The wedding was catered by Austin's Pizza. And there were many kegs to be drunk. I had a couple of glasses of wine and stuck around through the bride and groom's first dance - which was to the Hokey Pokey. Then I hit the road and came home in time to read the book about the potty to Jackson before bedtime.

So it has been a pretty good day. Definitely ready for a good night's sleep. Went to bed late last night, then is stormed a little and scared Jackson. He came to our room at 2:00 in the morning saying, 'It's okay mama, it's only rain, there's nothing to be afraid." Course it sounded so much cuter. 'nuffin to be afwaid' is pretty damned cute even at 2:00 in the morning. I love that boy. But we didn't sleep much last night. And then wine. After a 4 hour dance rehearsal. I am beat.


Julie said...

I took dance when I was very little (from the ages of about 3-10), and every once in a while I pick it up for a little while for this or that and I am So Grateful that I had that training so early. It just really provides a strong foundation for understanding how to move for the rest of your life. Even though I'm not a great dancer or anything, it helps me pick up steps sooo much faster! I want to be sure Stella gets to take dance too because I think it's a skill that's much easier to learn when you are little. But don't give up on yourself, keep trying, you can do it, just not as fast or as perfectly, but you'll pick it up!

Ronni said...

Give 'em hell, Marsha!