So I've been reading about how badly Irene hit upstate New York, so I definitely want to plan an apple-picking/pumpkin-patching trip sometime soon, so we can give them our money! Gotta look after our agrarian brothers and sisters...
Rocky Horror Show auditions--as I mentioned, I heard a couple of weeks ago that they'd be bringing it back, minus a few cast members. I told Dave I would be very interested in auditioning for Columbia--I said I could tap some, but my weakness was picking up choreography quickly. This is because of my training--I'm hyperliterate (started reading at a very young age and read voraciously), and as an actor and as a classically trained singer, I've been taught to look at the page first. But dancers don't learn this way--they learn with their feet. Even with my athletic background, it's not as easy for me--there's a whole extra step in the learning process for me that trained dancers don't have, which really
slows me down at auditions. When I was in rehearsal for my ship contract, we ran up against this with our choreographer when Aly and I were taught the Land of a Thousand Dances combination. One of the easiest combinations ever--just the dance steps that are outlined in the song (Pony, Chicken, Mashed Potato, etc.)--but we didn't know some of those steps and after an already exhausting day, not much was sinking in and it took us forever to learn the sequence. I was begging
the choreography (Stacy?) to just STOP and let me write down the steps--I kept trying to explain to her that singers learn
differently. But she didn't understand and just kept drilling us.
I make up for this lack by working my ASS off in rehearsal. No one who sees me dance in a show will ever see anything less than the most polished performance I can give. Susan can tell you, when she and I did shows together, I was constantly pulling her aside and making her breakdown sequences for me. Since I'm not nearly as strong a dancer as I am a singer, I can't get away with anything--I have to work TWICE as hard. At any rate, Dave seemed interested...then the following week I saw the audition notice go up on Facebook. Columbia was not listed, so I thought gee, I guess the other girl is coming back, and I emailed Dave. He said no, I was still in the running and Robert needed to see me tap.
So I did my homework. I hadn't tapped in over ten years, so I took a couple of classes at Steps on Broadway. They have Basic Tap on Saturday and Sunday mornings. (I cannot get over how inexpensive dance classes are--$17 a class! Susan thinks it's a ripoff but I'm comparing it to voice lessons which are easily $80 and up in NYC.
) The one on Saturday was with an older black woman and there was just me and on other dancer in the class, so it was almost like a private session. She certainly knew her stuff but it was very, very
detailed, small, micro-teaching, focused on technique. We didn't learn any combinations. The class the next day was more like a traditional tap class, with a lot more people (at least 25) and a guy at the front showing us the steps, breaking them down, and then combining them together. He went kind of fast but I'm proud to say I was able to keep up, although I was fudging some of those steps at the end! (Although it helped that I already knew how to do a time-step.) I really enjoyed the Sunday class and found it more helpful--what I need most is to build my tap repertoire and learn steps like back essences and the waltz clog.
The next day I called Susan and asked if she could help me--originally I asked her to make up a tap combination and teach it to me quickly, under audition conditions, so I could get back into that mode. This evolved into my learning Columbia's combination from the movie. I found a breakdown of the steps online and then we compared it with the few clips of the combo that are on YouTube. (Richard O'Brien obviously polices his show quite thoroughly! Clips of RHPS are not easy to find online.) I learned it and was even able to do it a tempo after a couple of days--it wasn't pretty but I did learn it! Most of it looked fine but the chaine turns--turns are NOT my forte! I don't spot very well...
Robert has been sick at last week but was finally better for the weekend and we set up an audition appointment at his place, for Sunday evening. Saturday was my first volunteer shift for RightRides which was fun but EXHAUSTING. I did not get into bed until 5:30 am! So rehearsal for the reading of The Empress of Sex
was not easy, because I was trying VERY hard not to fall asleep. After rehearsal I went over to Susan's apartment and tarted myself up good with fishnets, dance shorts and lots of glittuh eye makeup. And I did my hair in messy ponytails--I was going for the "kid who's stayed a little too long at the rave" look for my Columbia. I warmed up at Susan's place and on the train (which naturally took forever). When I got to Robert's place (his apartment is adorable, nice little restored ground floor place in the Heights), he got right to work and tested me on a battery of steps, including double-time steps, back flaps, and various shuffle and ball-change mini-combinations. At one point he asked me "can you do [ describes lunge-shuffle step]" I said "do you mean maxies
? Sure." *execute right and left maxies
* He asked if I could do wings
--I said No! He asked if I could fake them--I hesitated and then, figuring the fake would be most convincing the closer my feet were to the ground, relaxed my legs from the knees down and then whipped out a fake wing. He said, good! Can you do two in a row? Sure. *does so, then does 3 in a row
* He said to me in amazement, who knew you could tap?! I said well, I haven't done it in a while but yes, I have tapped in several shows. I was trying to remember them all--I started with Me and My Girl
, then The Boyfriend
("Perfect Young Ladies" which technically was not tap as I did not have on tap shoes for that number since I was in the preceding scene but the technique was all tap and the other dancers, when they entered, all had on tap shoes. I *still* remember that combination!), Lucky Stiff
("Welcome back, Mr. Witherspoon!" *stomp, STOMP* "MIS-ter WITH-er-spoon...we always knew you'd be...BACK..." *stomp, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, stomp, ball-CHANGE*). I know I did another tap show as well but it's escaping me right now. ANYWAY, Robert said you've got the part. YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!
So so excited!!! I love it that this is a DANCE role, my very first one! (That is, my very first dance principal.) I mean, it's not Anita or anything but it's a by-God DANCE role. And I wanted it and I worked for it and I got it!
Robert told me where to find a rehearsal video of the combination so I looked it up--other than the wings, it'll be easy!