I got the puffy shirt! Only for half of the shows, but a puffy no less.
Two years ago in Ira David Wood’s A Christmas Carol, I was cast not only as a townsperson, but also as a dancer in the second act’s Fezzy Wig dance. The entire cast is on stage for this number but only about twelve are dancers.
It was perhaps the most stressful, nerve-racking thing I’ve ever participated in – including giving a speech to over 1,000 people, having surgery and riding The Beast, my first roller coaster. Although I can shag and step to the beat when Let’s Groove Tonight is played at a wedding, sticking to set choreography that someone else is dictating is much more difficult for me. I like to feel the music and do what comes naturally – can be a beautiful thing.
So, last Friday when I received an email from the play’s choreographer, not the same one from two years ago, informing me that one of the male dancers had “hurt” his foot and would not be able to perform Fezzy Wig the opening week of shows, a hinge of nausea overcame my being.
I wanted to know what was wrong with his foot.
“What do you mean ‘hurt’ his foot? Is it broken?” I asked. “Have you seen it?” “Could he possibly get better?” “Can I see a note from his doctor?” “Can I take him some soup?”
He’s like 15. He has to have a quicker healing cycle than someone my age.
I considered sawing a toe off. I mean ten is a lot, and that would have to top his injury.
I would be filling in with only one practice and a dress rehearsal between me and 2,000 audience members who had paid money to attend this show.
Thankfully, Stephanie was also in the dance. The floor in our den needs to be refinished because I made her go through each step with me countless times Friday night and Saturday.
Surprisingly, and thanks to a patient and diligent instructor, I caught on fairly easily. Mind you, I made a few logistical changes to the dance steps to better fit my abilities. At one point, because of my position on the stage, I was to do a 540 degree turn, and gaily clap across the stage to my next position. I cut my spin down 450 degrees to 90. I was afraid I’d get dizzy and land in the orchestra pit.
In addition to dancing, we are also supposed to sing. I can’t walk and chew gum. That ain’t happening. I tried, but I continue to catch myself mouthing 1, 2, 3, 4 rather than come and join our rondelay. I don’t even know what that means.
I’ll have to admit I’m sort of proud that I stepped in and thus far have not fallen on my behind. Oh, and the best part of the dance for me? All male dancers get to wear a puffy shirt – like Captain Hook! Argh.
Come see Ira David Wood’s A Christmas Carol at DPAC this weekend: https://tickets-center.com/search/durham-performing-arts-center/a-christmas-carol-tickets/?venueId=6022&performerId=6&venueName=Durham+Performing+Arts+Center&performerName=A+Christmas+Carol&vaid=123&pfaid=269&tagid=102&atid=1&nid=1&cid=86145766985&akwd=christmas%20carol%20%2Bdpac%20%2Btickets&mt=b&network=g&dist=s&adposition=1t1&device=c&ismobile=false&devicemodel=&placement=&target=&aceid=&random=9232261882099785294&vx=0&locp=9009736&loci=9060500&gclid=Cj0KEQiAqK-zBRC2zaXc8MOiwfIBEiQAXPHrXuGYDX_ueDQKslaw6_I0OLXEMrRa6OcXxXnS4uiEBf0aAq8N8P8HAQ