In the spirit of the holidays - Part 1 (8 wild moments)

Chanukkah bush and the Jewish nutcracker my mom made me
 In the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to make two lists. This first list is written in the spirit of Chanukkah. Being a secular super Jew (maybe that is an exaggeration),  I am quite aware that the Festival of Lights is well past, but lets keep the celebration going. In honor of the 8 days and nights that the oil burnt bright, I am posting 8 wild moments I experienced while freelancing this year from Philadelphia to Alaska and all the way back to South Carolina.

Super Jew???
1.  One of my wildest experiences while freelancing this year happened while dancing with Alaska Dance Theatre in Anchorage. I was set to dance on live television for Alaska LIVE with Bernadette. About 30 minutes prior to airing across the state, I rehearsed a solo that I performed as Cassio in Othello. Nobody noticed that I rehearsed facing the wrong direction. When my live segment was coming up, they finally realized that they had told me to face the wrong way. The new space was very odd and I was dancing on concrete. Let's just say I winged the whole thing very well.

2. During class at one of my gigs, a dancer sprained her ankle. The director leapt out of their office and said, "You will hate me for this, but you must grab a belt, put in your mouth, stand up, go to barre, and do 100 tendues with sprained ankle. NOW GO!" Let's just say I about died and had to leave the room. (PLEASE DON'T DO THIS!)

3. Three words - Disco search lights during the Sugar Plum variation. While I'm on Nutcracker...performing at a mega church, the addition of English, Italian, and a love pas de deux between Clara and Drosselmeyer, the spilling of dry ice onstage and instead of cleaning it up immediately raising the curtain, a drill team of ridiculously talented gingerbabies, instead of the curtain falling after bows Gangnam Style starts playing and the whole cast does the entire dance, and performing 3 shows of Chinese and 15 shows as the Cavalier.

On set - Itchiest beard ever!
4. During class onstage, a chipmunk snuck onstage through an open stage door. It ran amok around and through dancers feet for about 5 minutes. Never heard little girls scream so loud!

5. I swore I'd never mention this, but in the name of fun and good humor, performing in a dance film that was essentially Nutcracker mixed with Alice in Wonderland and a hint of Little Drummer Boy on acid. Think techno-Nutcracker music with elephants screaming in the background in the month of July. Shhhhhh...don't tell anyone I was ever in it!

6. Performing an open rehearsal in New York City at the 3-room studio/home of the 95 year old choreographer. Dressing room = pantry, lobby = bedroom/dining room, dance studio = dance studio.

Preparing for the live taping
7. After performing my solo on Alaska LIVE with Bernadette (#1 on this list), I immediately sat down to be interviewed live by Bernadette herself. When I sat in my stool, it immediately collapsed while somehow landing on the pole that held the seat up. I was able to balance the seat without it falling by squeezing my legs and pushing down as hard as I could. I did this for the entirety of the 4-minute interview. Lets just say that the crew applauded me when we went to commercial and my legs killed me for days afterwards.

8. Jumping into Neopolitan in Swan Lake with about 2 minutes notice that the original dancer had injured themselves at the end of the first act. Then the staff realizing there was nobody to perform my other part. I performed both parts in every show.

Stay tuned for a 12 days of Christmas inspired post in this 2-part blog series!

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