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|Choreographer Karma Camp works with students on their tap technique.|
Thursday, June 20
Someone once told me that a dance call for a non-dancer is just a good workout. While I have six years competitive ballroom on my resume and am certainly more than just a mover, I have often felt apprehensive when called in for choreography. Not unlike fellow Overtures company members, I was wary of stepping up to a ballet bar for the first time in two years and doubly unsure of the racket I would make when I laced up my hardly-worn tap shoes. But then again, working on my dance and choreography skills was one of my reasons for applying to Overtures in the first place.
Enter Karma Camp, Signature choreographer-extraordinaire. This past Sunday, I joked about our first warm-up being enough to potentially scare away the faint of heart and Karma herself warned that we would be screaming her name when we woke up in the morning sore. But after a week together, our groans brought on by aching muscles and moments of frustration are nearly gone, replaced by points of clarity, confidence, and can-do attitudes. And that warm-up (even the ab workout that goes along with it) is fun; especially when stretching to a Norm Lewis original while Karma records an iPhone video to send to her friend, Norm Lewis!
The choreography is certainly nothing to scoff at either. Our big showcase number, “King of New York” from Newsies (including an 8x8-count dance break) is definitely testing everything we are learning. And expectations are high. While we may slow something down briefly, we are constantly asked for more. We are learning to attack choreography, rely on our “buddy system” with our fellow company members to run phrases in our downtime, and trust in what we have already learned in just a week while also pushing ourselves to be better. We are discovering the mechanics of a double pirouette, working out the sounds in a shim sham (or at least most of the sounds for the non-hoofers), and breaking down the story of the dance. We are realizing that we are perhaps dancers after all.
Martha Graham once said, “No artist is ever pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” With midterms tomorrow, followed by a well-deserved day off, I have a feeling the 2013 Overtures company will “keep marching” - running lyrics while folding the laundry, checking tap sequences in the aisles of the supermarket, and we will be ready and eager to jump right back into the work on Sunday morning.