Pushing the Envelope

Sangria and missing people

sangriaMonday's full-cast rehearsal went very well. Fortunately the sangria was back (thanks Lily) and everyone was raring to go.

Unfortunately, I was missing two cast members who had previously told me that they would have conflicts with this rehearsal. That always makes the blocking more challenging as I have to account for phantom people. It also makes things difficult on their partners who are solely responsible for the changes and nuances that are created in rehearsal.

Working backwards

backwardsWe started with West Coast Swing. We first sketched the different sections backwards. We started with the Chorus, then we did the Verse - that started to smooth out the Verse-Chorus transition. Then we did the same thing with Hustle. Then we put the two parts back together.

Starting at the end of a section and working backwards is a technique that my father taught me when I was young and studying the piano. I'd practice C, then I'd practice BC, then I'd practice ABC. I have found it to be a very effective form of rehearsal.

Putting it together

After rehearsing our WCS and Hustle sections we added the entrance and cheesy "Barry White" transition. Those runs really began to breath life into the routine - it created a body! After feeling comfortable with those sections, we added the WCS Reprise and Hustle Waltz section and started to run, run run.

Pushing the tempo envelope

Tempo-SliderThe first run-throughs were at a simplistic 105 beats per minute (bpm). At that tempo everything flowed well and even the transitions started to take form. With each run we pushed the speed higher, our next stop was 110 bpm, then, 115 bpm, then 120 bpm (the tempo of the song) and then 123 bpm to push everyone to their limits.

As the tempos creeped up, the cracks in the armor were revealed. Choreography fell apart, transitions seemed too quick to get to designated spots and partnerships were tested as almost every move almost blew apart. It revealed what was left to be done in the rehearsals to come.