If someone asks: “Can you do a cartwheel?”

…make sure you know why they are asking the question before admitting ANYTHING!

So, Nutcracker casting this year…

I was chosen to be a Snowflake and a Rosebud. I’ve been a Snowflake every year. It’s an honor to be in it, so I was relieved to be chosen for that again. Rosebuds are typically new people each year, but they recast the two of us from last year. Which is fine. It’s an easy role, but I love the music and being part of that scene.

But… okay, I was a TEENSY bit disappointed not to have something else. Usually we average three roles apiece and I couldn’t help feeling like I had really bombed the audition and was getting a subtle hint from the adjudicators that it was time to consider a new hobby.

Of course, it’s doubtful there was anything personal about it. We’ve got some stellar young dancers who were given a ton of roles, as it should be. I’m one of the middle-of-the-road dancers and am happy to be given the opportunity to play the roles I do. So I sulked in the privacy of my own home, got over it, and moved on.

But… I’ve been to this rodeo enough times to know that there was probably something else in store.

A couple weeks into rehearsals we were chatting in class and one of the party moms mentioned that she needed to get character shoes. Since I’ve given her some pointe shoes that haven’t worked for me, I knew we’re around the same size and piped up, “Gee, you should have told me, you could have borrowed mine so you didn’t have to spend the money!”

The director looked over at me and said, “Well, actually, you may want to keep your character shoes. I was planning to talk to you… one of the maids dropped out and…”

“And you need me to be a maid,” I filled in.

“Well, yeah, maybe, I mean, I can ask so-and-so, too, but…” she trailed off.

Maid Rori, reporting for duty!

Maids don’t really dance, but we do get some fun acting stuff. I am the stern, no-nonsense maid. It suits me, really. I’m finally finding a purpose for all that Downton Abbey binge-watching!

So there we go, three roles.

A couple days later I was in class on a Saturday and the director looks up at me and says, “Can you stay late to understudy for Hot Chocolate?” We don’t often have formal understudies, but one of the girls cast in the dance was temporarily banned from pointe work due to a sports injury (stop playing sports, kids!) and another one is pregnant (I should specify that the pregnant one is a woman, NOT a girl… it’s all on the up-and-up!) so there was some anxiety that would be allayed by having an extra person know the dance. Which I was cool with learning; while I’d been in Hot Chocolate twice, they were changing the choreography this year and I figured it would be fun to learn the new piece.

So that was all well and good.

Then a couple Saturdays later I was getting ready for class and saw that the two choreographers were having a hurried conference. Through the closed French doors I caught the eye of the director who pointed and mouthed something to me. “What?” I said, puzzled.

I cracked open the door and poked my head in.

“I said, can you do a cartwheel?”

“Um, yeah, I can, but…”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth I knew I had made a grave error. The other choreographer said, “Good, we need you to learn Candy Canes.” Butbutbut…. Candy Canes is danced by CHILDREN!!! Adults don’t do Candy Canes (see: cartwheel)! “Oh, don’t worry,” she said. “Many of them are taller than you, you’ll fit right in.” Phooey.

Thankfully another child was found who wanted to learn the dance. But the choreographer asked me to learn it anyway. Just in case. It’s always good to have extra people who know the part, you know. So there I was, like the one old candy cane you find at the bottom of the container of Christmas ornaments, left over from last year, ready to crumble into bits the moment you touch it next to a package of brand new, fresh candy canes. I muddled through well enough. Things only got vaguely hairy when I had to jump through my own candy cane hoop like a jump rope and then try to cartwheel (on my bad side, of course) to the knee. And, of course, all my fellow adults thought this was thoroughly entertaining.

It was fun to learn, but I was thoroughly relieved to learn that the original Candy Cane appeared to have recovered from her illness and will be able to continue on as planned. Whew.

So… lesson learned. Bemoan nothing, even in your head, lest you be appointed chief cook and bottle washer!

And… don’t admit to any proficiency in tumbling skills without knowing why you’re being queried! 😉

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One thought on “If someone asks: “Can you do a cartwheel?”

  1. Paulina says:

    I guess they see you as a reliable and versatile dancer. I think that’s good. O.k., cartwheels…I am not sure about them. As a kid I used to love them, but these days? 😉

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