So it's taken me a bit of time to finally post this after the whirlwind that was last week. Friday was our annual show at The Irvine Barclay Theatre.
For those of you who don't know, one of our dancers, Liane Aung, broke her foot during our last rehearsal before our first evening length show debut, Incandescent. This was absolutely devastating as Liane has a HUGE role in Incandescent. On top of that she is a beautiful dancer so replacing her in essentially 68 minutes of choreography in only 2 days seemed like an impossibility. But as they say, the show must go on.
Jenny and I immediately thought the same thing and called two (recently) former Backhaus Dancers, Andrea Brache, and Drea Sobke. For me they were a clear choice as 1) they are amazing dancers 2) they know Jenny's movement style very well 3) had at least a surface familiarity of the work (both had seen the preview in NY) and 4) could fit into the costumes. haha
The second we were able to confirm their willingness and availability I knew that it would all be ok. The plan was to have each of them do one half of the show, splitting the role. Not the ideal situation when it comes to the narrative flow of the piece but a better alternative than not doing it or having huge holes in the choreography.
So the plan was set into motion. Kim Olmos our rehearsal assistant and ballet mistress along with Nancy Dickson-Lewis (board member, dance professor and choreographer) dropped what they were doing so that Jenny could essentially be in three places at once. The dancers all pulled together and focused on teaching 70 minutes of complex movement in less than 48 hours. Tobi and I ran around trying to fill in the gaps with last minute prep and that was that. Hope for the best.
After Thursday evening's tech rehearsal I can say that the mood was... less than happy. Things just weren't as perfect as Jenny needed them to be. Couple that with not having Liane who she had been working with and was missing and Jenny was still bummed about the process. Totally understandable. My "anything can be fixed" ego set in and I knew that even if it wasn't perfect, the work was so amazing that it would still be pretty awesome. I had a few suggestions that I thought might help the second act and at the risk to my own life approached Jenny with them. She politely said maybe and we ended the night.
I spent Friday printing programs. For some reason the universe conspires to make sure that I never can get them done early. I guess I bring it on myself by making them way more elaborate than they need to be. But hey I'm a perfectionist. I got to the theater about 3 hours before curtain and saw the last little bit of tech and wow....it was like watching a different show. It all came together. A few of the last minute cues were run and that was it. Jenny, Kim, Nancy, Tobi and I had to trust in the dancers and crew to do what they are trained to do. We could just sit and watch. Rather nerve wracking actually.
What I watched was nothing short of amazing. Everyone stepped up their game to an amazing level. They normally do for performances, but this was something special. Maybe it was the combination of a new work, the nervousness of new dancers, the full and energetic house... I don't know. But it was amazing. It was perfect. It was inspiring. In a way I feel like we should all just quit because I don't know how we could do it any better.
But that was without Liane who had been rehearsing it for months. Add her to the mix and it should be even better. My head might explode if that's the case. If you missed the show you missed something truly amazing. Jenny has elevated herself as a choreographer. I can't wait to do this piece again.