BWW Blog: Meet Ashley Arcement of FLASHDANCE! National Tour - What Happens in Vegas…

This was my first week performing in the National Tour of Flashdance - The Musical! Don't ask me why, but I was pretty ecstatic to make my debut in "Sin City." We may have spent more time dancing after the shows than during... I am an onstage swing, which means I am in five numbers in the show but also understudy the five girls in the ensemble. Oh, and I cover Tess, Gloria, Kiki, and Miss Wilde. If I go on for any of these tracks my regular track is simply cut. Done.

I will say it is kind of terrifying joining a show and trying to learn nine parts in addition to my own. I have been a swing before, but usually learning the show from the beginning. And never covering this many people, good Lord.

Now that thaaat is out of the way, I can say that my first week of shows has been very exciting. Our male swing (and dance captain) is Matt Anctil, and it was his first week in the show as well. And wouldn't you know it, on Sunday three boys called out sick. THREE. We had just been discussing the night before about what would happen if two men were out at the same time.

So lo and behold, as though we conjured it, Matt had to perform three different parts at once. It took some serious teamwork. Another guy in the ensemble was able to do parts of one track, Matt was running around doing all the parts he could, and our female swing donned a ninja unitard to do some of the set moves. The cast may have been short two bodies, but the audience would have never known. SWING POWER!

I will conclude this blog about swinging with an anecdote from Pippin at the Goodspeed Opera House: my first Equity show and first show as a swing. During the first month and a half, not one girl missed a performance. After a certain amount of time, I stopped dancing along to every show in the green room and took up other activities - like sunbathing on the picnic table right outside the green room door.

One beautiful sunny day I was doing just that at intermission, all greased up with baby oil, cold drink in hand, when the stage manager comes running out and says Lauren hurt herself and I have to go on for Act II.

I seriously think he's joking until he has me sprinting up the stairs to the dressing room where people are pin curling my hair, throwing my clothes on me, and I'm coloring on my green specialty makeup. Going out on stage for the first time was the most surreal experience, having never known how bright those lights are and how it feels to dance with other bodies around me. I was pretty darn sucky that first time, but no one died. I have since become a lot better at the swing thing and cannot wait for the rush of performing a new track in Flashdance.

About to make my debut in the number "My Next Step" as the onstage swing

New swings celebrating our first week!

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From This Author Guest Blogger: Ashley Arcement

Ashley recently joined the tour of Flashdance! Broadway: Grease (understudied Marty, Patty, Cha-Cha). National Tours: Anything Goes (Purity), Pippin, Thoroughly Modern Millie. Regional: A Chorus (read more...)