I think the more than 10,000 people who will see us perform the Nutcracker in about a month would totally be surprised if they saw our first party scene rehearsal each year.
Our first rehearsal with all of the parts (children, parents, maids, Drosselmeyer and the Stahlbaums, but no dolls) was yesterday, and boy, it was a doozy.
It always looks messy the first time we run it, and this year, moreso.
There aren’t as many “party parent” veterans this year, so everything had to be completely broken down and run through quite a few times, and that’s just with one cast. Because they’ve redone some of the costumes (which have to be shared when it’s double-casted), there was a quite a bit of shuffling around with which party parents go with which children.
For the rookies, it was a crash course. And it will continue to be so for the next couple of weeks. One huge difference this year? With the exception of a teacher who also dances with the company, and one other lady, the vast majority of the party moms are either company members or senior students at the school instead of recreational adult dancers or mothers of dancers.
The reason? New fancy dresses were designed this year, and the girls fit them. The party scene for them is actually somewhat new, although some of them danced roles as children or danced as dolls,
There are about three or four of us party dads who were basically the only veterans, and even we were moved from roles we’ve been doing for years.
It was a painstakingly slow rehearsal of which only one cast got to rehearse. Next Sunday, we’re going to have to try to get the other half of the cast done, along with adding the battle scene.
It’ll be fun. I’ll be rehearsing all three of my parts this weekend, with Chinese on Saturday and both my parts in the party scene and battle scene on Sunday (before going to my final Sunday work day). I’ll be sweaty and sore when it’s over, especially when you consider I also have company class on Saturday.
On a humorous note, I believe I have now covered just about every age group imaginable when it comes to party wives I’ve performed with. Three of my first four years as a party dad, my
wives” were my age. The lone exception was a modern-salsa dancer/teacher in her mid 20s.
My last two years, my “wives” have been older than me, in their upper 50s-60s (and three of the most amazing recreational dancers you’d want to meet).
This year, my two rotating wives (I’ll also rotate with another party dad) are … 18!
Fortunately for me, I take classes with both (and performed in quite a few shows with one of them). They are both good natured girls.
Class-wise, because of the holiday, I didn’t get to dance today. I may take a makeup class in company class tomorrow.
That’s after coming off one of my better weeks of classes.
Saturday, my turns weren’t there like I’d prefer, but I was able to do some tricky petite and grande allegro combinations.
And I seem to be on the verge of a breakthrough with a step I’d convinced myself I’d never be able to do: Ton be couple jete’ (sort of a leap coming out of a turn).
“You’ve got the steps, you just need to work on the timing,” Mrs. O told me Saturday.
From her, that’s praise.
And speaking to timing, I did perform soldier doll during party scene rehearsal. I did the steps of the dance OK, but somehow managed to get ahead of the music (don’t know if I started too early, or rushed it like I do when I get nervous).
If I’m asked to do it again this week, I’m confident I’ll do a much better job with the music.