Dance

I dance, therefore I am ... quite sore the next day.

Background

You can’t get too far in theatre without knowing a few dance moves. When I started, I knew nothing. This led to some pretty pathetic roles (e.g., piano mime). Yet, each show taught me a few new steps. I remember my first tap dancing being on a 4×6 foot laundry room floor. A few classes here and there also increased my “collision avoidance” level. I don’t claim to be a great dancer now, but on the other hand, fewer people are getting hurt or maimed. It all began out at Las Positas College many years ago…

Las Positas College Dance Program

Dance Break – About my first dance show out there. Did a West Side Story suite. I was Tony. It’s easy to be cast as Tony when the singing isn’t an issue, and very few other guys are in the class.

Dance Attitudes – See? It’s a pun! An “attitude” is a pose in dancing. And I guess the dancers could have emotional attitudes as well. Clever eh? HAHAHA! I’m not responsible for these quirky things. Anyway, I danced in a few numbers. One was “Sunday by the Sea.” I was the Villain.

There were about four other productions around that time period, but I can’t find the programs for them. Rest assured, they most likely had the word Dance in the title. They involved numbers from Seven Brides for Seven BrothersOn the TownL’il Abner, and City of Angels.

Valley Dance Theatre

Nutcracker
My first show with Valley Dance Theatre. This involved some jazz dancing and swing dancing. There were few injuries caused by me.

Summer’s Eve Showcase
I performed in a jazz partner dance and was a sailor in the Pineapple Poll piece.

Nutcracker
This time I was Herr Drosselmeyer and a Russian Dancer.

Peter and the Wolf/La Boutique Fantasque
I was partnered with Monica in the second piece. Good show.

Nutcracker
I’m still portraying Drosselmeyer. This time we add magic to try and liven things up and make me extra nervous. I play a Russian dancer again. I’m now teamed up with Tara Page.

Summer’s Eve Showcase
Now I’m in Aaron Copeland’s Rodeo. Hey everyone, look at me, I’m a cowboy. Howdy! Howdy! Howdy!

Nutcracker
Argh. A third year as Drosselmeyer. But this company is like the “The Firm.” Once you’re in, you’re never allowed out. Though I’m out of the Russian dance now, but I’ve been slotted into being the Cavalier. Hey, I thought I said no tights! And those were tight tights.

Dancing Through the Decades – 1999
This was a full load. I did the big swing number. I was in the West Side Story number (I just can’t escape that show. Three dance productions to it, and one time being in it.) I donned my best 70’s gear for the Saturday Night Fever piece. Okay, that was it. But it seemed like a lot.

Nutcracker
Ah, another Nutcracker. I think it’s my fifth one. I’m done being Drosselmeyer now. Tim has taken over the role since he’s an actual magician. The magic tricks were driving me crazy. And there weren’t even any rabbits. I’m back in the Russian Dance now. And I’m playing the Cavalier once again. But that’s my last year in Nutcracker. My friend Sherry retired from it, and she’s the one who got me involved five years prior. I’ll stick to the summer shows from now on.

Passport to Dance – May 2001
After taking 2000 off, I’m back in another Spring show. Now, I’m in Lilac Garden. I’d explain it, but it’s complicated. I’m also playing the Gene Kelly role in An American in Paris. They even asked me to emcee the production. Sounds crazy, no? Yes?

Daring Directions – May 2002
Yup. They still got me corralled into doing the Spring shows. I didn’t mind. Getting to emcee the shows adds new life to them. I can finally find out what jokes are just plain bad, and what jokes truly bomb. This show had me in three pieces. I also got to find out what would happen if a big swing dance piece got completely off from the music. That kind of event will wake up your heart in a hurry. I also got to use my prop gun for the first time. Ah, life is sure sweet.

25th Anniversary Celebration – May 2005
I only narrated this production, and that was fine for me. No dances to memorize. Just corny jokes to tell. That I could do. And I could actually watch some of the numbers too. It was nice to have a break.

A String of Pearls – May 2010
This would be my last show with the company. I had returned to brush up on some dancing and suddenly found myself in the Spring production once again. I took part in a Vivaldi dance and An American in Paris.

While those productions were fun, it definitely was getting tough to repeat pieces I had done in the past. The casts were different, and I felt like I was treading over past memories. As well, I was mainly there as a partner to the regular dancers, and — to be blunt — it was getting harder to do the lifting. Certainly, I had lost some weight, but the dancers were also getting heavier (sorry to be harsh, but just being honest). I found that the onus was all on me, and while I was working out,  I just couldn’t overcome the increased burdens.

And all that sounds bad. It’s not meant to be that way. Ballet and the partnering moves were created in a time where body types were just smaller. And this has now changed. Again, it’s not a dig on these changes. Might be that the relaxed requirements allow for dancers to not obsess about keeping a certain weight, and it provides openings for a greater variety of people. 

In the end, it’s about encouraging all types to participate.

S.S Dance Express

After just five days of the updated site being launched, Shawnel (co-owner of S.S Dance Express) informed me that her studio wasn’t mentioned on my dance experience list. Very well. It is now. I study tap dance there with Shawnel. Originally, I began re-studying tap in 2001 to prepare for my 3rd 42nd Street audition. When the show closed, I guess I kept on tapping. I think I’m improving, but it’s hard to tell. That’s because each time I start to get good at a step, it’s immediately changed to a harder step. Dance is a sadistic world indeed.

*The studio has now become Triple Threat Performing Arts.