Pain in the Cass comes to your EMAIL!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The beginning...! Right where it should be... in the middle! (originally posted 05-16-11)

It’s been about 3 weeks now, maybe it’s been more. I don’t count these days behind me, just the ones in front of me. And from what I’m aware of, we’re a mere month out from our opening night. (whoo-hoo!)

I’ve been off the boards now for just rounding out 3 years now. I stopped around the time my boyfriend-at-the-time proposed, mainly because I wanted to hurry the whole process along before he had a chance to rethink my, “Yes!” We spent many months planning a huge Southern wedding, replete with more bridesmaids than people in the pews, some of which I actually knew by first name, but only learned them the week before.

I was hustled back to town halfway through my honeymoon, due to a money-happy recruiter wanting to fatten her monthly commission check, and have been going full speed ahead since then. So, my coming back was more like I tripped and fell into the whole experience than I planned it.

My beautiful, tiny daughter batted her eyes at me one morning and ask could I please audition with her because, “…we could have some mommy-daughter time.”

Uh-huh…

Mommy…

Not “Mom”, not “Mother”, not “Hey, dude” (my all time favorite). Nope… Mommy.

Now, I know I’m in for it when I am purposefully called “Mommy”. That word is reserved for being air lifted back from Utah after skiing into a cement pole, a bully with a wrench in his hand, and impending punishments that would make a Navy Seal cry. So, “Mommy”, it was. And off I went with her.

Even in the 3 short years I’ve been gone, so much has changed. I used to have horrible nightmares about leaving my sheet music back at my house, some 3000 miles away (don’t ask, but I always dreamt it was 3000 miles away and yet I still made it to the performance in one afternoon), and I had no way to return home to get it. Now, however, we have iPods that we can download all kinds of music PRE-CUT! For those of you who don’t know, this is a huge advance. This is like going from an undialable pre-rotary phone to suddenly being able to text from a hidden keyboard. It’s big.

It used to take up so much of my time just to figure out where to make these changes AND THEN you had to worry about how the pianist was going to play it. If you ever want to hear a fairly good reenactment of what singers in particular go through for an audition, track down “The Last Five Years” by Jason Robert Brown and plug in the track called, “Climbing Uphill” (I believe).

Anyway….

For those who missed the auditions – and admittedly, I did miss half of them – you missed some amazing talent. And not simply “little girl” talent. This was full on I-will-make-you-question-your-career-choice kind of talent. I’ve never felt much pressure in the choreography division, mainly because I can’t do choreography. I am keenly aware of this as are most people after experiencing my forays into it. I am well aware of what I contribute to Martha Graham’s world and it ain’t innovation.

I can dance. I can move. In fact, I can do both quite well. What I cannot do is choreography. For those of you reading and wondering what the heck the difference is, I will tell you. Dancing is moving to the music, ideally to the beat and in some manner that makes sense. In some cases, you might even be able to evoke some emotions from those watching. I do this when I dance, and for those who have watched me do choreography and think they are being so clever as to chuckle behind their hands; firstly, I see you; secondly, the emotions I am talking about have nothing to do with actions that would bring up visions of a bulimic ninth grader. Again, I can dance. And I have been complimented on my dancing throughout my life by many people, and not just ones attempting to “get to know me better” or had some art work they wanted to show me in their apartment.

But, back to choreography… I can’t do it.

There’s actually a medical term for this: dyspraxic :taken from the noun, dyspraxia, which is the impairment of the ability to perform coordinated movements.

I’m not alone either. Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame is in the same boat. Neither of us (and I’m sure a slew of other people on the planet) can move in synchronized succession with other people based on the ideas coming from someone else’s mind. Watching 1 full minute of a choreographer’s intended design o’ dance and then being forced to reenact this invention is as effective as if I were to listen to Dante’s Inferno in its original language for one hour and were forced to recite it word for word AND THEN give a recitation on what it all meant….in Swahili.
In other words, it don’t work that way.

When I do choreography, it takes great effort. It’s not completely undoable, it just takes great effort. I did not spend my Saturday mornings in Hot Springs, Arkansas, going over to Miss KMarie Boles’ Dance Studio for the Elite learning how to twirl without vomiting nor do cartwheels without taking out on overhanging light (of which there were many in our hometown, made of freestanding 100+ year old Victorian homes). My weekends were spent hauling my mother’s art supplies halfway up what the town called a mountain and the national geologists called a tall hill, meeting blue haired ladies up at Tower Mountain so they could practice their watercolor strokes. This taught me nothing about tap dancing except for a form of it when I was asked what I thought of said watercolored outcomes that said ladies had completed.
It’s sometimes difficult to explain all this to people, because even choreographers who have been teaching for years have never heard of it. I usually cannot tell my left from my right. Period. I can sometimes concentrate very hard and I might get a couple of directions, but invariably, it’s going to be backwards or a bizarre form of what was shown to me.

Back to the auditioning girls…

So, I have great respect for what anyone can do when it comes to choreography because, again, Swahili. But I rarely feel threatened by musicality because, well, I’m not vain, but I am quite aware of what my voice is capable of.

I used to be shy about the whole thing but I learned early on that this thing my throat can do is actually something odd and rare, and, funnily enough, sought after. I’m sure the girls auditioning have experienced this or will in the near future – someone who will not give you the time of day and then suddenly after they hear you sing, they act all shy and tongue tied and they want to be near you. I’ve never quite understood this. I’m not sure what they are expecting. Am I to perform non-stop, singing my McDonald’s order while we wait in the car?

Well, these young ladies – these girls – some of them actually caught my attention and but good. Good night! they can sing. And dance!

We are lucky to be amongst these little ones who absorb so much and have been exposed to so little. We have this enormous pool of talent out there and I wish we could do something locally to hone or encourage these skills.

Now that I think of it, maybe THAT can be my next project…. hmmm….

Well, for now, that’s all. I’ll try to get on here when possible to keep you updated on what I see going ’round. you check in to see what we’re up to and let others know about this little corner of our world.

And for those of you who are interested, you can see more of my writing at www.TheNovelBefore2012Project.blogspot.com. Pre-warning, the other blog is meant for adult eyes mainly. I have a habit of using words to express what I mean, silly me, and this is not always received well by some. Venture over if you are interested. There are bits and pieces of my new book, “Ruby” up there. Enough, enough…

We’ll see you back here soon!

Cass

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