BWW Blog: A Pirate's Life For Me
Over the past decade, theatre has continually challenged me. There are always the inner challenges of trusting my instincts, being open to express myself, and working through failures. I am currently in my senior year of college, and in the past four years, I have also been challenged in new positions within the theatre.
I started dancing when I was three-years-old and started writing choreography for theatre productions when I was thirteen-years-old at my community youth theatre. My first experience was choreographing a short piece for myself when I was the "White Stag" that danced across the stage at the beginning of The Chronicles of Narnia in 2011. It was only about thirty-two counts of music, but it was the start of a new avenue of theatre for me. After that, my director gave me opportunities to choreograph two summer musicals, hold dance auditions for shows, and jump-in for any dance-related needs.
Fast-forward to coming to college, and I immediately got involved in the theatre department. I attend a small private university in the midwest, which means the theatre department provides plenty of opportunities to get involved. The student choreographer my freshman-junior years became a close friend of mine and helped me to start thinking towards choreographing at the college level. I started teaching dance at a studio in town with her recommendation, choreographed numbers for student-directed productions and was then asked by our director to choreograph for our spring musical, The Pirates of Penzance.
Rehearsals for the production started two weeks ago, but I started preparing last November. One of the most important steps was to meet with my director and talk through his vision for the show. It is a cartoon-like production, in which "none of the characters are deeper than a petri dish." As I spent my Christmas break listening to the soundtrack and mapping out choreography, there were a lot of days I would listen to the same song over and over again without being inspired by anything. There were other days when I choreographed three numbers in one day. The most challenging part of the process was writing all of the choreography at one time without having a group of people to test it out on. When I teach my dance classes at the studio, I choreograph weekly so I can write and teach it little by little. This process was entirely different in that I had to trust the whole vision at once.
Now that I am teaching choreography in rehearsals, I have found that I have to be open to in-the-moment changes and adjustments to fit the cast and stage space. Rehearsals are a well-prepared workshop, but the cast has made my job so fun. A lot of them are friends and people I have worked closely with during my time at school. Although there have been moments of stress and frustration, it has been an incredible learning experience that has helped me build on the insights of a production and my confidence as a leader and creator.
Thank you for reading my story so far, and I'll be back next week with more of my theatre experiences!