The After Party

Congratulations Dancers at the Showcase After PartyI wasn't sure that I was going to write about the After-Party for the Performing in NY Showcase, but after the stellar performance of our Connecticut based, West Coast Swing and Hustle dancers, there is a good story to be told.

The After Party

ICongratulations Dancers sign at Showcase After Party wasn't sure that I was going to write about the After-Party for the Performing in NY Showcase, but after the stellar performance of our Connecticut based, West Coast Swing and Hustle dancers, there is a good story to be told.

Set up

No one knew that we had to decorate the After-Party location. We mostly wanted our efforts to be on the down-low so that the cast members would be surprised when they arrived to Gossip Bar and Restaurant on 50th Street and Ninth Avenue. We knew that the dancers in our piece as well as the other pieces would be excited to celebrate the completion of their performance at the Ailey Citigroup Theater.

During the break between the two Saturday performances, Anna and I picked up 2 birthday cakes at a local supermarket and brought our previously purchased decorations to Gossip.

We hung shiny-fringe at the bar, streamers from the lights and speakers, and balloons throughout the seating area. But the best decoration was prepared by Anna. It was a sign that was taped to the entry door of our private, 2nd floor room, that read, "Congratulations Dancers!"

After all the decorations were in place, we made sure to tell the bar that we were going to need some tables for dinner in the smaller area, but we would also need an open area for dancing.

We returned to the theater to prepare for our third and final performance with all cast members being none the wiser as to the party to come.

Waiting for the show to end

Gossip Bar and Restaurant, empty 2nd floorAs described in the Final Performance blog post, our third show went extremely well. But because we were the first piece in the show, our West Coast Swing and Hustle Showcase was also the first to be finished. The Performing in NY Showcase began their last performance at 7:05pm and we were off the stage by 7:10pm, almost 80 minutes before the final piece would be complete.

We changed into casual but festive clothing and made our way to Gossip to begin the After-Party at 7:30pm. We were not the first to arrive. Three or four of our cast members had beaten us there and were standing around in an empty room full of decorations.

We greeted them with hugs and told them that we should all order and eat dinner before the show ended. It would be our only time to eat and we knew that the cast party was going to be a busy affair. Since Gossip has excellent food and I was two-performance hungry, I ordered a fillet mignon.

Oh Ye Of Little Faith

Party at Gossip Bar and RestaurantAt about 8:30pm, an hour after we had arrived, I started to get nervous. I had finished eating but only a few other people from our cast had joined us. Perhaps, cast members were just going home after performing. After all, most dancers finish a show and do not have a full cast party. Sometimes they just go to a cast member's house for drinks. Maybe, the dancers did not want a big party at a bar. I started to feel disheartened.

But then Anna reminded me that my paper invitation, that I had personally handed to almost every member of the cast, said to arrive at approximately 9pm. Perhaps, people were waiting until 9pm to arrive. Maybe they weren't coming directly from the theater, maybe they were politely waiting.

Then, it happened, like a tour bus pulling up to an iconic national monument. The dancers arrived. They arrived with their friends and family. They entered with flowers and performance make up. They arrived ready to party!

Dance brings people together

Gossip Bar after the West Coast Swing and Hustle ShowcaseWithin minutes, the second floor of Gossip Restaurant and Bar was filled with West Coast Swing, Hustle, Ballet, Hip Hop, Cabaret, Contemporary dancers and their supportive friends and family.

The bar, which had been an idle place of three patient bartenders, was now a cacophony of congratulations and drink orders. The bartenders wouldn't stop moving for hours, yet they didn't miss a beat.

Dancing at Gossip during the After-PartyOf course, our West Coast Swing and Hustle cast members (and their friends) were the first ones to start dancing. It was better than any party-starter could have done. One by one, performers who already love dance succumbed to the party music and let their bodies become one with the festive vibe.

As the hours passed, different movement styles seasoned the dance floor - from West Coast Swing and Hustle to freestyle and Hip Hop - there was a flavor for everyone.

Kat Wildish Arrives

Of course, what cast party is complete until the producer arrives. Such was the case that night. While all the revelry was happening, I kept an eye on the entryway. I did not want Kat Wildish to sneak in and not receive her due hurrah.

Kat arrived with her assistant Taylor at around 10:15pm. It was at the height of the party and everyone found their second wind with the proud producer in the house.

Special After-Party Moments

There are probably many special moments during the After-Party. For me, there were a few noteworthy moments that I felt should be mentioned.

Ed Blum's 70th Birthday after dancing in the West Coast Swing and Hustle ShowcaseTwo cast member celebrated birthdays! That's why we had to pick up the cakes earlier in the day. One of those cakes was for Ed Blum, one of our West Coast Swing and Hustle dancers who celebrated his… 70th birthday! Really, how many people in the Universe get to say that they danced in a performance at the Ailey Citigroup Theater on their 70th birthday?! May I get to be so lucky.

Erik Novoa and Taylor GordonI also enjoyed my annual dance with Taylor Gordon, one of the featured ballet dancers in Kat Wildish's piece. Taylor is also instrumental in assisting Kat Wildish produce this show and her importance can not be understated. So when I get to dance with Taylor, it's special.

Kat Wildish, Anna Novoa, and Erik NovoaAnna and I got to hang out with Kat Wildish. You see, people like Kat are busy. Teaching dancers, organizing productions and simply being a mentor to many people is full-time position. In order to be a mover and shaker like Kat, there isn't much free time - so it was exciting to just hang out with her, while the party swirled around us.

Erik and Anna Novoa set up the Showcase After PartyAnd the most special moment….taking a picture in front of an empty party room with Anna. It was the calm before the busy. It was the symbolic representation of a beautiful partnership that creates special and memorable moments for other people. It's just what we do.

We hope you had a great time at the After-Party!

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