Sunday, November 30, 2008


After my two shows this morning (first one at 9am!?) I decided I wanted to take a trip to see New York City Ballet's Nutcracker. I've lived in the city for four Christmas seasons now, and I have shamefully never seen the classic version at State Theater. I thought it was time.

My show ended at 1pm and I gradually made my way uptown thinking I'd try to get standing room for the later show at 5pm. I got to the box office around 1:30 and was pleased to hear that they did in fact have tickets available. After I paid and started to walk away, the guy was like, "No no, just go there to the ticket taker now!"

So apparently I was going to THAT show that I was half an hour late for, NOT the one I asked him for. Um, okay. Good thing I had nothing else planned, haha. So I hopped the elevator and missed the first half of the party scene. I didn't really care - I know how it goes anyway, haha.

Hearing the gorgeous Tchaikovsky music again flooded me with my own Nutcracker memories - of all the versions I've done up until today, doing Sugar Plum in a bear suit, haha. If someone were to make a soundtrack of my life, I think much of it could be dominated by the Nutcracker score.

Anyway, the show was lovely, of course. The snow scene in Act I has always been a favorite, especially in the old Boston version I grew up with. I remember standing in the pit as part of the chorus when I was dancing Chinese Tea my last year in Boston and looking up at the snow scene from there, admiring the clunking pointe shoes trying not to slip on the paper snow.

I've never been a huge fan of the Balanchine version of this ballet, and I probably shouldn't admit that. I did the Balanchine version for 2 years with Pennsylvania Ballet back in 2003, 2004, and recall not particularly liking it then either. I don't really know why...mostly it's just the first act I'm not keen on. Why is there no Snow Queen? And why do his snowflakes carry around things that look like giant cotton Q-tips?

Enough complaining. The dancers were beautiful. And Act II was really really really good. Sara Mearns as Sugar Plum was great, but her variation was ruined by a SCREAMING child having a fit during the entire thing. Parents should take control please, haha.

Sterling Hyltin as Dew Drop was the best of the show, I think. I remember standing in the wings always watching Waltz of the Flowers and learning practically everyone's part just from staring at it repeatedly. That came back to me too, as I watched her - the admiration and the desire to be doing it myself. Good thing nobody was sitting behind me - I was practically dancing in my seat.

Tiler Peck as Marzipan was another highlight, and the ever-amazing Daniel Ulbricht as Chinese. It was also a marked occasion because the new group of company apprentices and recently promoted corps de ballet members are the people of my ballet generation, that I auditioned with and went to summer intensives with and so on. All looked wonderful.

Anyway, the afternoon made me nostalgic for the past and grateful for the present. As of now I still have over 60 performances at Radio City to do in the next month. On with the show!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Not Another Dance Movie

I went to the movies after stuffing my face yesterday on Thanksgiving and saw this preview...and cringed.

At first I thought it was legit another bad dance movie about the saaaame story they're all about....and then I realized what it really was...

This is genius and disaster at the same time. Genius because it's totally worth making fun of and will probably be hilarious. Disaster IS another bad dance movie in the general public.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Last night I just HAPPENED to be roaming the upper west side and just HAPPENED to stumble upon two city blocks lined with gigantic blown up floats smooshed to the ground waiting for tomorrow's big Macy's parade (translation: I'm still a new New Yorker and this is my first year spending the actual day of thanksgiving and day of Xmas in the city, so I must have a tourist moment :)

Here are some pictures!

I'm giving thanks for all of the wonderful people in my life - both near and far. What are you giving thanks for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rough Two Days

What happens when you get a super bad, throwing up 24-hour bug and then have a four show day to follow?

It's rough, let me tell you.

Sunday night I was completely fine after our little student showcase. We went out to dinner to a place we always go (I ate the exact same thing the night before and was fine, so not food poisoning...) and I went to bed totally fine. Then, yesterday morning I get up to head out for our 11am show was not pretty.

After throwing up twice I was still convinced I was going try to and do both shows yesterday...but after getting ready and trying to jump around a bit to double check my stomach I realized that the thought of doing Santa's itself made me ill. NOT GOOD. I called in sick, reluctantly, and went to bed for the WHOLE day. It was so bad. I hate being sick, but usually I can be in control and just force my body to keep dancing. Not so when I'm throwing up uncontrollably. Ick!!

It lasted all day long, and when I wasn't physically sick I was sleeping.

LUCKILY this morning I woke up a ton better. But it was another 4 show day! I don't know where my guts came from, but I knew I was going to get through it one way or the other, haha.

And I did. The first show was rough, mostly because I hadn't eaten in 24 hours and had zero energy. But as the day went on things started to get back to normal. The company doctor was in the building so I played it safe and went to see her, but she agreed it was just a 24 hour bug or something. Thank goodness.

It helped that during the third show I had friends from class watching. That definitely gave me a boost, and it was so nice to see them for a backstage tour afterwards. They brought me beautiful flowers and we took pictures and such. I was honored they came, because one is one of my ballet teachers who is super-duper Balanchine-like really important, if that makes sense, haha. She's so sweet. She says, "I knew exactly which Ballerina Bear you where by your feet. It must be that Balanchine training. I wonder where you got that from..." haha.

The fourth show actually felt better than I felt last week for our fourth show. I guess 24 hours of sleep must help, even if it was sick sleep.

Tomorrow we have 2 shows (more friends coming to the me through!) and then Thursday is off for Thanksgiving. I can't believe how this first month of shows has flown by!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Student Showcase #4

Our little (actually, not so little anymore...) sold out student showcase was a success tonight! A few pictures of our Giselle cast.

So tired from 4 shows total today...2 radio city in the morning, then Tuesday is a real 4 show day again...better get some sleep!

On the Town

Last night I spent my first night in a theater other than Radio City in what seems like forever! Between the rehearsal period and starting shows (we've been open for two weeks already?) I haven't had a chance to go see any performances whatsoever.

So after 3 shows and a pointe class I headed over to City Center to see the Encores performance of "On the Town." When I saw it was performing I got really excited because I LOVE the old movie version of it with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra (Radio City is bringing out the true musical theater nut in me...).

I've never seen an Encores production, but apparently it's sort of like a pre-Broadway workshop type thing, so the actors carried around black binders with scripts and music. And the way the stage was set up...they had the entire (big, wonderful) orchestra taking up just about all of the stage, with the front panel free for the actors and a smaller stage built up behind the orchestra. It wasn't exactly conducive to Jerome Robbins' awesome choreography, but besides those two flaws the show was great!

The music is so fun and the actors and dancers were all great. I really enjoyed seeing something other than my daily Christmas show, haha.

What struck me the most, though, was just walking into City Center. I always thought City Center felt huge, particularly from up in the highest balcony way up in heaven up there. But last night we had like 5th row orchestra seats - the closest I've ever sat in there - and the theater felt so small! I'm so used to Radio City that I think I've been taking it for granted...this morning when I got back onstage I was reminded of just how incredibly huge it is here. Puts things in perspective (and gave me added inspiration for a 10am show :)

Anyways, we have another show now at 1pm, and then this afternoon is our student showcase at Ailey. We're doing excerpts from Giselle, and then there are lots of other groups coming to perform as well. Exciting...but it makes it another 4 show day for me, haha. Ah well, it's worth it. Apparently we sold out both of this afternoon's shows as of a few days ago, so that's big for us :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dancers vs. Critics

Just picked up the December issue of Dance Magazine to find a huge feature on dance criticism.

Read part of it online here.

Here's a Times article mentioned in the review: "Today It's Dance 10, Looks 3" about the importance of being "beautiful" as a dancer. I have more to say about this but will comment later...very interesting.

Dance vs. Education

A friend of mine is writing a college paper about choosing college or dance and today she asked me to answer a few questions as a source for her research (hah). I actually included her in an article I wrote recently on a similar topic, and given that my final semester of grad school will end in under a month (yesss) the topic has been of consideration lately.

I thought I'd share my answers...I'm interested to hear other people's opinions or experiences!

1. How long did/have you dance(d)? (Including training and etc…)

I started dancing when I was about 2 1/2 (haha) and then started really training in ballet when I was 7 at Boston Ballet. I've been a bunhead ever since, so I guess officially it's like 12 years of training and a year and a half of being "professional."

2. Why did you keep with dance, was there something specific that kept you motivated?

When I was younger I stuck with dance just because it was something I've always done. It was me. It was what I did every single day. As I got older I think the quest for perfection and the desire to perform kept me motivated during the hard times. Nowadays, I dance because I love it - even just taking class. If a day goes by and I don't work 100% in class or onstage I feel unfulfilled. My current teacher also keeps me extremely motivated.

3. Did you choose University or Company? Why?

You know I'm a weird case. This fork in the road came early for me because I graduated high school at 16, so I first chose to go to college. However I did not major in dance (for various reasons...). My initial reason for deciding on college was to have more time to train professionally, which I did for my first 2 college years at Ballet Academy East. In my third, senior year, I did dance professionally with a few smaller companies while completing my academics and moving on to graduate school. I have the incessant need to be ridiculously busy and it really worked for me to be on two career paths at once. I wouldn't give up either one for the other.

4. What are your ultimate goals with dance?

I've learned that my dance goals have to be rather broad. I grew up in ballet-land where the common goal ingrained in students' minds is to be the prima ballerina of one of the few major dance companies in the world. The thing is, that goal is unrealistic and not worth beating your head against the wall in frustration. There are so many options to pursue in the dance field and many opportunities are so unexpected. My goal was never to dance in the Radio City Christmas Show, but now that I'm here I found it's exactly what I never knew I wanted. So my ultimate goal with dance is to do it for as long as I can, take advantage of every and any performing opportunity, to constantly improve, and to treasure the joy I find in it.

5. What do you plan on going once you've stopped dancing?

After next month I will have my Masters Degree in Publishing, and I already have my BA in Communication Arts. I've done several internships and I currently write for various publications. Once I stop dancing professionally, I hope to continue pursuing my writing career and finding ways to work dance into that somehow. I don't think I can ever "stop dancing" completely, though, no matter how deteriorated my body becomes.

6. Have you ever taught?

My family owns a small jazz/musical theater dance studio in my small hometown, so I grew up helping them teach the younger kids while I still lived at home. In New York, I was an assistant teacher for the primary levels at Ballet Academy East back in '06-'07. I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge with them, and the teachers I worked with often commented on my teaching instincts, which surprised me. Also, last spring I taught and choreographed for a NYC public high school dance program. It was my first time being fully in charge of a studio full of kids, and I loved it. I found myself turning into my own teachers who have influenced me.

7. What do you feel the benefits/disadvantages are to choosing university or company?

There are goods and bads of both.

College advantages: In college, you get to explore so many options and fields and there is such a vast opportunity to learn. If you go in with an open mind there are no limits to the possibilities you can create for yourself. You also get to me a whole different world of people than the dancers. You develop skills and habits and knowledge that can enhance your dancing.

College disadvantages: You know, I can't think of one. I guess you can say it delays your professional career for four years...but it really doesn't have to. You can still perform while earning your degree. The only downside is that it is a TON of work and can be taxing on the mind and body. But the advantages outweigh that, for sure.

Company advantages: A dream come true!? For most of us, dancing with a company is what we've waited our whole lives for - what we've worked ourselves to death for. Working with choreographers, the opportunity to perform, touring, etc

Company disadvantages: I think dancers who choose to dance with a company and remain strictly to that only are doing themselves a great disservice. Of course the first few years with a company are tough and understandably busy, but once they are settled and comfortable with their position I can't see a reason not to take a college course or two towards a degree. The obvious disadvantage of a company is the instability and lack of preparation for the future. Another is that if a dancer chooses a company before they are physically ready they may be injured a lot. Low pay is a big disadvantage too, depending on the company.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

First Four-Show Day

Yesterday was quite possibly the longest day of my life.


It was our first of seven days we have with FOUR shows back to back all day long. 11am, 2pm, 5pm, and 8pm. If I thought I was tired before after having many two show days, that was nothing! Not much could have prepared me for it, but I was thinking of how thankful I am that they killed us during rehearsals drilling our choreography into our bodies so that it was so automatic by the last few shows!

Ironically, it wasn't my body that was so tired but my head. By the time we got to our second break, before the third show of the day, I swear my eyes were closing on me as I was sitting up trying to eat dinner. I wasn't really sleepy just...tired. It felt like my makeup was weighing down my eyelashes and all I wanted to do was lay down like those little dolls whose eyes automatically open and close as you move their heads (you know what I mean?). It was rough.

Definitely the third show was the worst, even though you'd expect it to be the last one to take the hit. During our fourth Santa of the day I somehow got a third wind that took me through the end of the day, which was really really nice.

Luckily next week for our four show Tuesday I have people coming to see the third show of the day, so that should liven me up! I'm sure it will get easier as we have more four show days, too.

The shows themselves went well overall. As my mind starts to check out as I get tired I'm very grateful that my body is holding me up, haha. Some parts are so automatic now I don't even think one bit onstage, and other parts (like Nutcracker in the bear head) I am concentrating so hard on the floor and where my feet go so that I don't get hurt. It's a different way of working when you're that worn.

Because we were permanent residents of the theater for 12 hours, the cast had a potluck so that we had a TON of food to keep us going. It was fun! I brought muffins and coffee cake for the morning, and others brought all kinds of food that we munched on ALL day. We even had leftovers for this morning...which were much needed since we all were hurting from yesterday, haha.

Today's shows went well, also. People who have done this for many years kept warning us that the day after a four show day is usually awful..."like you were hit by a truck" I believe were the words of one dancer. I actually didn't feel quite so bad this was just last night. Oooh yeah.

At least it's a day off, now. It's good that our cast has our four show day Tuesdays and a day off Thursdays. The other cast kind of STARTS their week with the hard day because its visa versa. Anyway. I have school tonight and then tomorrow I must force - FORCE - myself not to take class or anything, haha. A real physical day off. We'll see how that goes...


Clive Barnes, Dance Critic, Dies at 81

He is one critic I have always admired and whom I never got to meet. When I interned at the dance publicist I worked with a few years back I remember answering the phone once to hear his cheery British voice.

That's a shame.

UPDATED: Dance Magazine posted his final "Attitudes" Column online here, which he filed just 2 weeks ago and will be published in January.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tendu TV Takes Off

Today TenduTV officially launched online.

As a viable alternative to the din of dance on youtube, Tendu TV provides filtered dance content actually worth watching, and is distributed through TidalTV and Sling Media, which provide much higher quality video.

I know Marc has been working really hard on getting this off the ground for a while now (having spoken to him extensively for past Movmnt articles) and it's nice to see it finally taking off. They have a handful of clips already available for viewing - some better than others. Someone once told me a good writer and editor can take you from point A to point B without knowing how you actually got there. I think the same is true of video editing - and while it's WONDERFUL to see something other than straight image capture of a staged dance, some of the edits in these clips almost get in the way of seeing the actual movement. Dance video is still somewhat of an unchartered territory and this seems like just the beginning of the experimentation. I'll be anxious to see more of what the dance channel will offer in the future...they seem to be adding clips as I sit here watching them, haha.

They also have a blog going on about different issues relating to video dance, which is really interesting. Watch some clips here on TidalTV and search for tendu tv for more.

Be sure to check out all the clips

Secret Studio

On a quest for a last minute pilates/stretch class this afternoon to work through my aches and pains of performances, I stumbled upon New York's newest best kept secret: Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.

The studio, which was formerly Studio Maestro here on the upper west side, just reopened recently at their beautiful facility on 60th street near West End Avenue. I had heard from a few sources that the studios were really nice and have been meaning to find time to take ballet there...and today was my chance for a visit.

They have a pretty extensive open class schedule for being open only 2 months. Besides ballet and jazz stuff they have aerial dance training, which I really want to try! Haha it sounds cool.

Anyway, I walked in and signed up for the stretch class. Each class is $17, which at first I thought seemed a bit high. Ailey is $16 (but less with my union discount), Ballet Arts at City Center is only $15. Broadway Dance is the only one that costs more: $18. But I figured since it's a new place they need to make money. I paid up and since it was my first time there they gave me a free class voucher for the next time I come. This is an EXCELLENT incentive!! I'll be going back.

The receptionist showed me the dressing room down the hall and I got ready for class. It's a small locker room but they have two nice showers and plenty of locker space.

At 2pm in the EMPTY hallway where I sat reading through their open class schedule and brochure the stretch teacher came and asked if I was Taylor. Yes, I say. "Great! Don't be intimidated but you're my only student today, and I'm so happy you're here!"

A private stretch class for $17? That's a bargain!

It was so great! Exactly what my body needed. And normally I'd be uncomfortable being the only person in a new class I wasn't familiar with, but the teacher was SO nice and really worked with me. Where else in this city is there a class with that much free space and attention?

GO before everybody finds out about it, haha! Maybe their later evening classes are a bit more full because people get out of work...but I still think it's worth trying as an alternative to the obnoxious crowds at other dance studios in the city. If you're around, check it out. Their open class schedule is here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Full Weekend

...of shows!

Every day since my day off on Wednesday has blended together as one mass of shows with some sleep breaks in between, haha. It doesn't help that on my off time I'm in the studio taking class, but...yeah.

Still enjoying every moment - just haven't had a sec to blog, haha. My mom came to the show on Friday and then I had family friends here today. It's nice to have someone in the audience just to add that much more little excitement. When I don't have someone there, I often pretend someone's watching, haha. It makes you do better.

Anyway, tomorrow is off and then Tuesday we hit our first 4 show day..eek! I'm sitting soaking my feet in ice water as we speak because my Achilles was really bad today so...better rest up for 4 back to back!

Rockettes on Today Show

This was from the other day. Rumor has it they had to be there at 5:30am to be on the Today Show, and then they came and did our two shows of the day. Ouch! Haha.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Times Review of Christmas

The NY Times finally posted their review of the show.

Read it here.

May as well have printed the basic program notes, haha. Although I suppose there isn't as much to comment on that's different from last year's major 75th Anniversary, which was reviewed here.


We had one show this morning and then I had a private lesson with my teacher...which killed me, haha. Now I'm at school...many shows over the weekend coming up, and my mom is coming to see it tomorrow :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Official Opening Night!

Yesterday (Tues.) was our OFFICIAL opening night!

And it was SO fun.

First of all, for the matinee my friends and ballet teacher came to watch, so that added excitement. I took them on a mini backstage tour afterwards :)

But after our second show we had a huge opening night party in the lobby with the whole cast/crew/friends/family/etc. It was so much fun...everyone all dressed up and music playing and food and all. They even had these "Rockettini" glasses, like martini glasses but with fun Rockette legs as the stem of the glass. My friend and I don't drink, but we got fake strawberry daquiris just to get the awesome cups :) haha

Here are a few pictures from a fabulous evening. The shows were a blast too, of course.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Autumn in New York

Just because it's been Christmas for me since about the end of September doesn't mean I've missed the fall season!

This afternoon after my shows I took a few minutes to walk through the park to see the colorful trees. The other day I bought myself a new (cheap!) digital camera as a treat from my first paycheck that didn't go straight to pay my rent, haha. Here are a few foliage pictures I took. If you haven't been to Central Park in the past week, go soon before it's too late and the leaves are gone!

Weekend of Shows + NEWS ARTICLE

This weekend was full of performances, and all fun.

We had 2 shows a day the past 2 days, and all went well. I can't say it's getting easier, but it's getting calmer, haha. And a bit more natural. I'm still butchered after 1 show but recovery is faster and I'm not QUITE as purple in the face as I've been, haha. Still loving every minute even though it's exhausting.

News of the day is that there's an article about me being in the show in a newspaper back home in Massachusetts. Read it here. It doesn't seem to really be about the show much at all, haha. And I sound a lot more negative than I meant to in the interview, haha. But...I'll take it :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Xmas: Open for Previews!


Today was our first official open "preview" performance...our first paying audience. We had two shows (11am and 2pm) and I am just about DEAD right now, haha, but it was so fun.

11am felt EARLY to be getting into pointe shoes and that bear head, but that's going to feel late compared to the 9am shows we have coming in December! Once we got past Nutcracker, which is our first piece in the show, I was wide awake and ready to go, haha. The show went smoothly.

I didn't know exactly how much free time we'd have in between shows until we actually did it today, but it was just the right amount of time. They started having catering down in the basement cafeteria, so we had a chance to grab a quick (cheap!) lunch without having to change or take off layers of makeup to go outside. It was nice to just sit for a bit during the break...not too long but just long enough to feel refreshed for show 2.

The second show went well, too - although my arm muscles were burning (and still are) by the end of Santas from doing it yet again in that heavy suit. I'll feel that tomorrow!

It was amazing, though. I'm so happy, if I haven't mentioned that, haha.

Tired as I am, I'm still crazy and I'm off to take ballet class tonight! As soon as it's over I must crash and get up for a 10am show tomorrow. Yay

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Xmas Dress Rehearsal 2: The Last Rehearsal

It's really happening!

Today was our FINAL day of rehearsal before we open for "previews" tomorrow - although it feels like we really opened last night since we had an audience. (Friend and blogger Tonya writes about last night's show here, and she took some fun pictures here. Thanks Tonya!)

(curtain call...i'm second from the left. my hair looks just dandy at the end of the show, after being shoved in a bear head, a santa hat, a santa's helper bonnet, etc...ugh haha)

In the afternoon we had a final rehearsal in the studio to clean up a few last minute details. Though it was a short one (an hour and a half) it was killer and we were definitely warmed up for our dress rehearsal by the end...

We had another packed audience for tonight's dress. Apparently it was sponsors and folks like that. The show went felt MUCH calmer than last night. I guess it only takes once to learn how and when to pace yourself, haha. Costumes all stayed on and choreography felt solid. I think we're all just really anxious to get going with real shows!

Tomorrow morning I will be dancing onstage for 12,000 people. I STILL can't believe it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Xmas Dress Rehearsal 1: A REAL Audience! + PICS

Oh my gosh. Tonight was amazing.

It was our first full out, no stopping, full costumes/animals/fireworks/etc dress rehearsal with a real audience!!!

It was supposed to be an "invited dress rehearsal" and every cast member got 2-4 tickets, so I was expecting a small gathering of family and friends, maybe only filling up the center of the orchestra section. NOT! At the 5 minute "places please" call, the stage manager told us we had a full house, and she wasn't kidding! I don't think it was "sold out" (though tickets were free) but there were people in all the mezzanines and balconies and all across the whole theater. Wow!

It is so different and so much more exciting with an audience - not that just being on that stage isn't exciting enough! It was the beginning of the nativity scene there is an "angel" in the air and a few of us are shepherds that look up at her, and the rest of the stage and audience is totally black. And as the curtain rose all of a sudden it was like we were at a rock concert or a baseball game or something: cameras started flashing nonstop! What a moment! It was SO cool. I don't know if people are actually allowed to take pictures during the show (I don't recall hearing an announcement at the beginning saying they couldn't...) but since they were anyway I've decided to share a few I've taken over the past week on here.

Anyway the show itself felt good...there were many a mishap with costumes and people tripping and such, but luckily I personally didn't have any issues (they fixed my Santa hat so it now stays on :). It was our first time going through nonstop, though. And wow, this show is a killer! By the end of our aerobic Santa dance I thought I was going to die, haha. My face was as red as my suit and I could barely catch my breath before we went back onstage again. At this moment I though, oh my god, I can't believe we have to do this 4 times a day!

But by the time the curtain call came around, all I could think was: oh my god, I can't believe we get to do this 100+ more times. The exhilaration and exhaustion and excitement. Wow.

(me in my costume for the "traffic" section of New York at Christmas. I'm a "preppy girl")

(Rockettes in 12 Days of Christmas)

(during our Central Park dance)

(me as a ballerina bear)

(beginning of ballerina bears. they open that big blue box under the tree and i'm the middle one)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Xmas Tech Day 9: A Real Run

First of all, YAY OBAMA!!!!

Today we finally went through a full run through in real time, in costume. However we DID stop once because they had problems with the tour bus they use onstage, so our first real nonstop time will be tomorrow with an audience for dress rehearsal.

But overall our run went well. Some of my hats still like to fall off but everything is being worked out. It felt great to run everything for real. And today we had the full orchestra for the first time. They're great! I had yet another flashback to my first Nutcracker show in Boston when I was little and would hear the orchestra warming up in the halls backstage. It's a comforting sound somehow.

We watched the run through of the other cast after dinner and this time we sat up in the first mezzanine. What a great view from up there! It really is a wonderful show. I sit and watch and it's like, oh my god, I can't believe I'm actually a part of this and I actually do that too! It looks like such fun. And it is.

Tomorrow we have a real audience (of invited friends and family) for our dress rehearsal. Before that we have "animal orientation" haha, where we get to know the sheep, camels, and donkeys used in the nativity scene! It's very exciting!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Xmas Tech Day 8: Cleaning Up

Today was a short day of rehearsal, just to clean up details of our choreography.

It was the other cast's turn to try their costume run onstage like we did the other day, so we were upstairs in the rehearsal hall/studio above the theater. We've been in there a few times over the past few weeks and every time I go in there I'm reminded of the day I auditioned in there back in May.

Anyway rehearsal was fine. We ran almost all of our dances just to clarify some heads and arms and such. It was kind of funny being back in front of a mirror doing it all after being onstage for a week. I so so SO much prefer dancing onstage than in a studio - and it doesn't have everything to do with the performance/audience aspect. It's just that there's so much space in the theater and the audience is so far away and you can look out, way out, at them. In the studio it's almost claustrophobic, no matter how big the studio space is. Having the mirror there and staring at yourself for hours on end is no fun.

After watching myself in the mirror this afternoon after not seeing myself for a week, I've realized that being onstage makes me dance differently, in a good way. There are certain things that just happen naturally onstage (everything seems bigger) that I found myself doing without recognizing it today. And yet by the end of the studio rehearsal I felt back in tight jacket mode. Hm. I must work on that - dancing in the studio like dancing onstage...people have commented on that before to me...

The rest of my day was busy even though I wasn't at the theater. In the morning I had to go make up a midterm exam from last week, and then in the afternoon I did a phone interview with a newspaper back home in Massachusetts that is doing an article on me being in the Christmas show! It's so funny - I do a zillion interviews all the time for the various things I write myself, but when I'm on the answering end of the interview things don't come out as smoothly, haha. It actually went well, though, and apparently the article will run the end of this week or next week. I'll link to it if it comes online.

Then tonight I took class all night and had rehearsal for our student workshop of "Giselle" set for Nov. 23. Fun stuff, but I am still baffled by the fact that my body feels invigorated and wonderful after 8 hours of Radio City rehearsal but after 3 hours of ballet class my joints freeze up and you'd think I'd aged 50 years! Strange (and painful, haha). I'm knocking on wood that, thus far, my body has taken to this insane schedule much better than I'd expected.

Anyway, tomorrow we have a full dress rehearsal with the entire orchestra for the first time! Very exciting. So ready to kick things off!

PS- everybody vote tomorrow!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Xmas Tech Day 7: Costume time!

Yesterday was a big day - our first time dancing in all of our costumes!

We spent the whole day working through the entire show to get acclimated to our costumes, where we change, how FAST we must change, and so on. It was a bit chaotic at first. We didn't get a chance to try anything on to see the quickest way to put it on or off before we were just thrown into doing it. Skirts and tights and shoes galore were tossed around backstage. Wow.

By the end of the day everything made more sense - who are dressers are and how they help, ways to start stripping down layers as we exit in the wings, how to tuck in our hair under our Santa wig and hat!

Our fastest change (a minute and 20 seconds to be exact) is going from our New York at Christmas outfit to our fat Santa suit. It's rough because it's all of the ensemble PLUS all the Rockettes changing into big red costumes all at the same very fast time. And the costume itself has a zillion pieces, it seems. Fat suit, shoes and spats, beard, wig, and hat. The first time we tried it in real time I was so lost trying to get the beard to stay on and everything. As we started the dance my hat completely fell off (we start bent over so gravity didn't help, haha). I was like, AH what do I do? I couldn't put it back on during the choreography and I knew the stage elevator was about to rise and didn't want to just leave it on the floor in the way! I ended up hurling it into the wing (good thing I'm on the end, haha) but it was stressful. Luckily I wasn't the only one with hat issues, and later we went to the wig room to have everything adjusted. They should be fixing it so it's all set this week.

Besides that, the rest of the costume run went smoothly. I just need to get used to these fast changes. And the other problem is taking my hair up and down and up again. We start in the bear head so my hair gets crazy and frizzy under there, then it goes down for NY at Christmas and is supposed to look nice, haha. Then in that fast change it must go up under the Santa hat and stay up in another hat for the next number. Then down again to look decent. Ah!

It was fun to finally have costumes though. Everything is coming together so quickly. We have a cleaning rehearsal tomorrow just for choreography in the studio, and then Tuesday we do a full dress rehearsal in real time (yesterday we stopped and started a lot). Then Wednesday we have an audience for dress rehearsal! Crazy. Thursday, another dress. And Friday we open!