Today’s modern rehearsal was fun insofar as it involved lots of running around, stuffed animals and confusion. I was kinda imagining rehearsals to be nothing but relentless buffing of the choreography, so the chaos is still a bit of a surprise, albeit a pleasant one – it makes rehearsals that much more interesting.
So far, we had learned two disjointed parts of our recital piece. In the first part, the fridays go first and the mondays follow up. In the second part (which involves the infamous shoulder stand), both groups dance together. These two parts already take up a significant portion of the music. Now all that’s missing is a beginning, a middle and an end.
Today, we tackled the beginning. Or rather our teachers had tackled it, having stayed in the studio until midnight after the previous rehearsal. Our piece is called The Way (or The Path, depends on how you translate it) and symbolizes the travels of Cinderella’s lost shoe before it finally gets to her. It starts with people running back and forth across the stage, in ones and twos and threes, on certain counts. These counts were mostly what took the teachers after midnight to figure out. Not only does the running has to look slightly haphazard but nevertheless balanced, but people also have to end up on the proper side of the stage for the subsequent parts.
To make things more complicated and collisions less likely, the stage is virtually split into three lanes for this. So today’s rehearsal mostly consisted of the teachers saying things like «X runs from right to left in the first lane on count six of the first measure, then Y runs from left to right in the third lane on count four of the second measure, then Z and W…». For about fourteen people, some of whom were missing and had to be replaced by stuffed animals, each running across one to four times, so you can see how we got a bit confused.
It didn’t help that the teachers kept contradicting and correcting each other, although it was completely understandable. We did figure it out in the end. All you had to do is remember your own counts (mine are third measure – four, third lane, with another dancer; fourth measure – one, third lane, alone; fifth measure – one, first lane, alone. Not that hard, really, or so I thought. And then we did it with the music the first time and I was totally expecting one of the teachers to count and they totally didn’t.
Counting is one essential part of dancing I have been ducking around for more than a year now. I never had to learn a lot of choreography that would really require counting and I can usually feel my way through it. While I don’t have a musical ear at all and my singing voice gives more gifted people migraines, I have a passable feeling of rhythm. It alone is definitely not enough here.
So on the first run-through, I had no idea what I was doing or when I was doing it. On the second run-through, Jaina counted the first measure and I carried on counting from there. «Hey», I thought in fourth measure, «this is easy, I can do it!» And of course while I was thinking it, I completely lost count again. But on the third and final run, I got it perfectly right. (Which is not much of an achievement since there is an extremely clear piano cue on every single count of this song. But still.)
We have also got a new answer to the ever-popular question, «What will we be wearing?» Before, the teachers just said, «You’ll see.» Now, they looked at each other and replied with «Well, you will definitely be wearing something.» This can mean one of two things: either they don’t really know and don’t want to admit it, or it is something so daunting that they want to present us with a fait accompli to avoid a mutiny. Things remain interesting.