Thursday, November 27, 2014

Le Grand Continental: Rehearsal 9

Emily Neumann, our inestimable stage manager, made several revelatory announcements at the top of last night's rehearsal, including: 1) that they were now recruiting for several children between 8 and 13, who apparently will have key walk-on roles during the performance, and; 2) that Sylvain has been known to veto participants' more outrageous costume choices. I didn't even know we had to think about costumes. Worrying about staying dry is all I have been preoccupied with so far. But even here Lara disabused me: apparently there hasn't been a performance yet of Le Grand Continental when it hasn't rained. And that was all before Vancouver in January!

Far more comforting to me was my conversation with Jane Westheuser during our pre-rehearsal practice session and warm-up. Jane is co-president of the Board of the Vancouver Fringe Festival and a loyal PuSh patron (not to mention a fantastic dancer). She has been surfing the Internet for clips of past performances of the show and said that during the New York production there were all kinds of people messing up at different points and forgetting their steps--but still having lots of fun. It reduces the pressure somewhat to know that even in the Big Apple community dancers are fallible.

That said, last night went pretty well. Practicing at home from the video for "Gogoprado," the section we learned on Monday, I was initially in despair. On my own I had a hard time remembering the sequence of steps during the repeats. But with some help during warm-up at the Ukrainian Hall, things eventually got into my body--even the crocodile arms (more or less).

After having put "Gogoprado" together with "Stockfunk," the section that comes after it, we spent most of our time locking down the cross of Groups A and B during "India." It's the trickiest bit so far, not least because one of the groups is smaller than the other, and so working out how big each group's steps need to be in order to arrive on our final marks requires lots of precision. Then, too, we don't want to give the impression to the audience during this bit that we're only worrying about following our marks. Thank heavens I'm not in either of the lines initiating the cross; instead, all I have to do is follow Hayley to my left (who is an expert guide) and keep my eyes peripherally attuned to Eva behind me and the lovely woman with the head band whose name I should know by now in front of me in order to ensure that our vertical alignment remains more or less in tact. Simple right?

Unfortunately, I have to miss most of next Monday's section due to an important Senate meeting at SFU where I have to represent on behalf of the new Institute for Performance Studies. I let Emily and Lara know; Lara in turn let me know that we would indeed be learning a new section and that it was the hardest one yet.

Just my luck.


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