Friday Performance / Opening Night

20130817-Showcase-001-300pxI can't begin to express the feeling of fulfillment with the West Coast Swing and Hustle Showcase as part of the Performing in NY Showcase at the Ailey Citigroup Theater! Our cast of 20 dancers really did a superb job a reaching a new level of success.


It is hard to describe the greatest challenge of the Showcase process....Call! In the theater world, "Call" is the term that is used to describe the time that all performers are supposed to be at the theater. But try to ask 18 people from Connecticut to arrive at a New York City theater by 5pm on Friday, and you're begging for logistical nightmare.

However, with good preparation, verbal threats ("You will not dance in the show if you arrive after 5pm), and a responsible cast, the most challenging hurdle was overcome. All dancers had arrived to the theater by 4:57pm.

Our Quick Tech

Our only on-stage technical rehearsal occurred at 6pm, only 1 hour before show time. We had mere minutes to make sure our blocking was proportional to the stage size, hear our music over the sound system and create a lighting design that would capture the energy of our choreography.

Our cast did a blocking cue-to-cue (no music) first to make sure that our transitions worked on the new stage, then we were able to do 2 run-throughs with music and lighting to make sure it all worked.

A few of our West Coast Swing and Hustle dancers did not have perfect tech run-throughs, but that was a good thing. As they say, "bad (dress) rehearsal, good show". We knew that many of our dancers need to burn off their nervous energy before the performance. A non-perfect tech-rehearsal would keep all the dancers sharp for the debut - and we would be the first piece to perform.

The Green Room

The holding room, where performers warm up and prepare to go on stage is called the "Green Room". It was here where our performers finished getting ready, warmed up, practiced their moves and watched other performers do the same. The Green Room is a great equalizer because you see every dancer deal with nervous energy and pressure of achieving the and idealist vision - the perfect performance.

As the room warmed up from the body temperatures of all the anxious dancers, the stage-manager kept reminding us of our time until the show: 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 5 minutes (Thank you, 5)...then "Show Time"....West Coast Swing and Hustle backstage.


West Coast Swing and Hustle Showcase in the HallOur West Coast Swing and Hustle Showcase group loaded into the backstage hallway with our down-stage-left dancers first, followed by our down-stage-right dancers. We held in the hallway until we were invited into the wings by the stage manager.

We waited in the wings as the smooth jazz music being used as ambient audience music faded. That was Kat Wildish's cue to take the stage and welcome the audience. After the audience's excited applause, the house hushed and the stage went black.

It's Show Time

There's nothing that can describe opening night, and it's nearly impossible to describe being the first piece of a show on opening night. Our West Coast Swing and Hustle Showcase would set the tone for the entire performance.

Our cast was silent, standing in the wings waiting for our music to start. Then...the first cords played, followed by the lyrics "Let me see you move", then the lights lit the empty stage as we started to enter en masse from the wings.

Hustle dancers took their positions, while West Coast Swing dancers remained upstage. As the chorus kicked, Hustle showed the audience what we were all about and the audience responded.

Hustle finished the first chorus, West Coast Swing transitioned to take the verse. Back and forth it went, Hustle II and the West Coast Swing reprise, followed by the Hustle Grapevine, our full-cast step-clap (with audience reciprocation), West Coast Swing Whips, The Hustle Waltz (we finally did it!) and the finale.

Throughout the entire run the audience was cheering and clapping. They were actively involved with our performance. It raised the energy of our whole cast to the highest level that we had felt.

Over in a Blink

It went by in a blink. When a run goes that well and the audience is supporting every movement, it's an exhilarating feeling, totally fulfilling in every way.

As we made our exit through the doors on stage-right, we silently celebrated in the hallway outside the theater (Shhh! in the hallway). It was a spectacular first performance!!!

West Coast Swing and Hustle Showcase 2013 Final Pose