Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Swinging on the East Coast

It's hard to dance by yourself. But when Sarah Ruhl sets down a stage direction that isn't physically and conceptually impossible, it's hard not to make the effort. So while Orpheus and Eurydice (Steve and Tessa) dance the Jitterbug at their wedding, Eurydice’s Father (Paul) parallels them, and dances alone in the underworld.

That being said, learning the Jitterbug by yourself is, well, kind of pointless. For both leader and follower. It’s neigh impossible to learn how to follow without the guiding hand of a leader, and equally difficult to lead with no one following. There are nuances that one can only learn through doing the deed properly. And that, my friends, is how a stage manager gets roped into learning how to dance.

I’m not complaining. I know that’s what it sounds like. In fact, I shouldn’t even say I was roped into this. I was, and still am, rather excited to say I know a dance other than the Hand Jive.

That being said, The Jitterbug, which is in the Swing family and closely related to the Lindy, isn’t that difficult if you have a little rhythm in you. Or an excellent teacher. Enter Colleen Hughes, dance teacher extraordinaire. In ten minutes Colleen had the four of us doing the basics; in an hour we had a routine. A few fancy moves in our back pockets, and we were set to go.

Colleen shows Steve and Tessa the Rock Step

Steve and Tessa do the Jitterbug

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