For the first half of today's rehearsals we were at the theater in the rehearsal hall there rather than the church we've been at all this time. Why? To do Nutcracker in our fabulous bear suits!
I walked down the hall to get to the room we're supposed to wait it and found puffy bear heads and big fat furry bodies lining the walls. I wanted so badly to take a picture of all the costumes - it was QUITE a sight - but I couldn't get my camera out fast enough before people started putting them on. I'm sure there will be more opportunities...
Before we actually got into the costumes they took us all in the studio to sit in a circle and have a "bear zen moment" to prepare for what was to come. I was a bit nervous about actually dancing in the head, but they made it seem like much more of a big deal, haha. We're all sitting there in the lotus pose "becoming one with our bear suit" and they're telling us it's totally okay to "have a moment" if we freak out inside the head or something because it takes some getting used to. I was more nervous AFTER this scene than before, haha, but it actually wasn't quite so bad.
They went slow so we could try to feel our spacing with our vision impaired. I swear, it's like dancing ballet blind. I don't think I would have given it a second thought if I didn't have pointe shoes on, but because of the turns and such we do and the way the head works it throws me off. Way off! By the end I finally started to feel my "bear center," haha.
It's hard because there's no peripheral vision so you can't see the other dancers around you, except of course in the mirror, which I was relying a little too heavily on. The way we see through the bear's mouth, you have to make an effort to look out rather than getting stuck inside the head (and hence listening to your own loud breathing rather than the music) and I'm afraid onstage looking out all I'll see is blackness, haha. I'm sure it will get better.
Anyway, besides the head, the costume itself is HOT. After we do like 1 step it feels like a sauna in there. Ick. Luckily in the real thing we're only in it for 7 minutes of Nutcracker onstage. But trying to move with it on and carrying that mega wand and moving around, my arms were SO sore by the end of the 4th hour. Ouch.
After our dinner break, we were back at the regular studio and we did a run through of our entire show, with just us in the ensemble. Doing everything back to back like that was tiring but it seemed like so much less work than all the effort we spent learning everything. Someone calculated something like 60 hours of rehearsal thus far for 23 minutes onstage. Wow. Of course it's necessary, but the show itself goes by really fast. Tomorrow we do the full show run through with the whole cast so I'm sure that will drag it out better.
Once we ran through the whole thing we got notes and went through to clean stuff, spending a lot of time on our Central Park dance. There's one time we break and stand on the sides to watch the ice skaters do their thing in the middle, and we're supposed to "be in love" with our partner. After the first run, the dance captains made everyone laugh by saying that my partner and I looked like we were so not in love and that we were "the shy couple."
How do I put this...I'm not the most physically affectionate person in general, so to "be in love" does not come naturally, haha. Luckily my awesome partner helps me out and after the next run through the dance captain was like, "Wow, I think Taylor might actually like Wes!" and everyone laughed. Ah, well. I'll improve. :)
It was a long day and tomorrow is another long one 10am-6pm plus a midterm at school immediately after (um, at 6pm...oops gonna be late) as is Thursday. Luckily it looks like we may have Friday off completely while the Rockettes start tech, so I can catch up on the rest of my life. I'm in no hurry for that, though. I love living in Radio City land :)