Teddy Loves Company (ATRM, Ep. 106)
The three days prior to the performance were of course stressful but they were exciting too. We had a lot on our plate with all the last minute details to work out with finishing choreography, costumes, lighting, final cuts to music, etc., but I had no doubt we would pull it off. Our biggest obstacle was whether or not we would sell enough tickets considering how late we booked the theater, and getting that word out to the community. It was a matter of staying positive and focused, and not letting anything get in the way of our goal- to put on the best show possible!
Trying to concentrate on the Shaping Sound show along with my other project, a documentary film, "Misery Loves Company" which has been in the works for over two years and just happened to hit at the same time was definitely a lot to handle. I was going 24/7 doing everything I could to give 100% of myself to both. I didn't have much choice as it was the only time film crews and cast were available. Obviously there were a few moments of conflict but in this business it happens all the time and all you can do is work around it the best you can. I had faith in the company members knowing that they are all talented and professional enough to handle any last minute changes regarding my particular piece in the show.
As a choreographer, it is my hope to be able to share my vision as a unique artist, one that allows the audience to step inside my shoes and see the story I'm trying to convey, to be moved emotionally, whether it be feelings of joy, or sadness, and to walk away inspired! The actual choreography is just one element for a choreographer, it's the dancers that are most essential. For me personally, I want my dancers to feel relaxed, comfortable, and know that their opinions are valued. I want them to feel their individual, unique qualities will be taken into consideration and the process will be a positive one for all involved. I'm not the yeller and screamer type, I'm more of a passive peacemaker so anyone working for me knows they will be treated with respect and dignity. All I ask is that one gives wholeheartedly and works as hard and with as much passion as I do!
Dress rehearsals are difficult because it's not just about the dances, it's about every aspect of the show that has to get worked through. The technical side of the show is just as important as the creative side. It takes a great deal of time with lighting, sound, back stage crews, and props. The chair, which is essential to our show, proved to be a huge dilemma once we realized it wouldn't slide easily across the marley floor which had been laid down. We felt it was too late to change the choreography and just needed to figure out a solution that would work. Removing the marley was just the first step. Luckily after hours of trial and error and with the help and combined engineering smarts of company member Albert Cataffi, my youngest brother Jonny, and a good tech friend, they were able to make the proper adjustments to solve our problem. It was frustrating when Nick gave attitude towards these guys seeing as they were doing all they could to make it work for us. The last people you want to throw attitude or take out your frustrations on are those that are lending their time and talents, so yes I did get upset with him for losing his cool! Adding to the stress was the fact that Melanie and Kyle got hurt- causing some level of anxiety for all of us. Injuries can happen at any time in this business and all we could do was hope they would be able to come through despite being in some pain. Of course being the true professionals they are, they both went out and gave 100%, never letting on that they were in pain what-so-ever. We were fortunate their injuries weren't more serious.
Travis was definitely on NO SLEEP when he collapsed because he was going through everything we still needed to do in the show! I sleep so easy all the time no matter what, and that is a blessing. He just was very overwhelmed not only shooting our TV show at the same time as finishing our premiere show for all of LA!!! It was VERY VERY intense the day of the show, and in the future we will know so much more, and will be able to prepare everything on time! If Travis danced more often it might be easier on his body when he performs an entire show with us! We never want that to happen again because it was NOT OK!!!!!!
As the curtain opened, and the music began to play, I could feel the energy as I took those first steps out on the stage, not just from the other dancers but the audience as well. It was so surreal, knowing all we had gone through to get to this point. Everything had come together: the music, costumes, choreography, lighting, and most importantly us as a united company. And to think we nearly sold out the theater in less than a few days of booking it was something to be proud of! It was all worth it, the trials and tribulations, the disagreements, and frustrations. As each piece finished and flowed into the next we felt a sense of relief and accomplishment, which just kept us amped throughout the rest of the show. The best part of course was at the finale when the entire audience jumped to their feet giving us a standing ovation, cheering us on. Standing there hand in hand as we took our bows was exciting, overwhelming, exhilarating, and so rewarding. Truly a moment we will all remember as our premiere event for Shaping Sound. The feedback was incredible and confirmed to us that we are on the right path. We know we have a lot to learn still and a long way to go but we are on our way, and that's all that matters! Watch out everyone.....Shaping Sound is about to take off!!!!