It ain’t no joke, kids.
If you get cast as an understudy, this isn’t a throw-away thing. Sure, you might practice only to find that your effort will never go rewarded.
But on the other hand…
One of those dancers in the cast may find themselves injured and you’ll be all:
(That’s my “here goes nothing!” face.)
One of the Hot Chocolate dancers slipped while practicing during intermission in the second show and hurt her ankle. She powered through and went on, but was limping after the show. I told her to rest, ice, elevate, then see how it felt in the morning before making any decisions. Then I went home and spent the night going through the dance about a zillion times. I fell asleep only to dream about being thrown into a ballet we’d never rehearsed. Ugh!
She called me the next day to warn me that the call was coming. She’d told the director she was out. If it had just been her I think she would have danced through the pain, but she has a baby on board which made her understandably extra-cautious about venturing on stage at less than full-power. Cue the understudies!
I was actually feeling okay about subbing until I got to the theatre and was confronted with aghast faces. Okay, folks, this is Not Helpful. You’re making me feel like you have no faith in the subs. We can do this!
And… cue Rori’s meltdown.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of our system… showtime. First half went great. The Snow sub (who thankfully had done the piece last year) came through beautifully. Just need to get through second half.
BTW, why do my feet feel like someone has been bashing on them with a hammer? Anyone?!
I’d done Hot Chocolate in prior years, but the piece was totally rechoreographed this year, so it wasn’t in my muscle memory as it would have been otherwise. But I had it in my head and if nothing else I can pull on whatever Iberian peninsula heritage I have (apparently there is some buried in there) and give it some Spanish ‘tude. I took off from the gate feeling confident, though somehow under the stage lights I felt like a baby deer, not quite sure what to do with all these wobbly limbs.
Truth be told it wasn’t the best performance, but…. I ended up in the right spots at the right times with the right choreography. Some things weren’t as clean as I would have liked, but an informal poll revealed that the audience members thought nothing was awry.
The whole experience reinforced the lesson that being an understudy isn’t just some consolation prize. In some ways it’s harder than being in the regular cast because you have to know the unique aspects of each person’s spot and, though you don’t often get to practice with the cast and spend most of your time in the wings marking through, you need to be ready at a moment’s notice to go on and do it full out.
Regardless, I am glad to have that experience behind me and am pretty sure I fully earned THIS Hot Chocolate!!!