I bet that after watching our preview video, you may think that you’ve gotten all the juicy parts from Stretch Dance’s production…but you’d be wrong.
Heck, I didn’t know what I was missing, and I’m in the show!
We had a chance to view the video of the whole show back when we filmed Applause. To be honest, I thought I’d be bored rewatching the dances that we’d rehearsed over and over again.
Boy was I wrong.
It was an out-of-body experience for me. It was surreal to watch the steps that I’d repeated so many times, and yet be surprised by moments in the show that you miss as a performer. There are so many snapshots that stick in my mind—particularly of the scene about “Is It True About the Smoke.”
While performing, that number is a whirlwind of emotions and activity. Not only am I rushing from costume to costume in the space of a few counts, but from one extreme emotion to another. Not to mention I have to make it across the stage in four counts without running over any of my fellow dancers while still attempting to look graceful (that’s what we really go to ballet for all those years for).
But watching the piece…it was breathtaking in a totally unexpected way for me. To see the scared victims transform into the breezy, white dancers was quietly, profoundly beautiful to me. It wasn’t my favorite number to perform onstage, but it was my favorite to watch.
And yet, as amazing as it was for me to watch the show, I couldn’t help missing something of my favorite elements while performing it: sound.
My sister—my inspiration for becoming a dancer—always jokes that dancers are meant to be seen and not heard, but it’s amazing how sound in dance can truly link up the dancer and the music.
There are a few moments when we were choreographed to breath together, o.r for Jill to hum softly in parts of the show, but even just the natural sound of the movement contributed to the pieces.
I remember standing in the wings while Jill performed “Teen Vanity”—the chapter where Elli sees herself in the mirror for the first time after being shaved and starved. I couldn’t see her at all, but I could hear her strangled breathing, the hard thud as she executed a huge leap, the soft swish as she turned.
These sounds made the taped soundtrack a living collaboration between the musician and the dancer.
So next time you have a chance to see live theater—Stretch Dance Co.’s new performance or otherwise—go out and see it. Don’t settle for a recording, or a photo, or even a blog entry.
You’ll never know what you may miss.