The diary of a dancer
3.13pm: A text message from my choreographer during Media Management class! He wants to remind us to be on time for rehearsal later or suffer the consequences.
5.45pm: The last bell for my class rings. Everyone shuffles around, packing up their books and stationary, discussing dinner plans. Me? I hurriedly swept my belongings into my trusty backpack. With the amount of stuff I ferry around everyday, my shoulders ache if I use a satchel. I get ready to transform into my alter-ego that exists at night.
6.30pm: Half an hour left before my choreographers come. I scoff down the last of my dinner at AS7 and change into practice clothes. How come I don’t remember the steps taught at last rehearsal?
6.55pm: The mirrored glass at AS7 makes perfect practice venues for dancers; they can look at the reflections and correct lines that look awkward. In NUS, it’s the same as Singapore – there’s never enough space for the enthusiastic and growing number of dancers. However, we’re all friendly and happy bunch of people, different groups get along well enough. AS7 is divided into 5 practicing areas by unspoken rule. The larger crews take the larger spaces and duos or trios use the smaller areas.
7.05pm: Attendance is going to be taken soon. Hard luck to those who are late!
7.15pm: Warm ups start with gradual exercises before proceeding to basics such as bounces and grooves. At every practice, choreographers usually do a few different types of basic exercises. It amazes me how my seniors know so many different type of exercises. My brain’s hard disk certainly can’t contain them all. I think I’m not a naturally groovy person – I need to work hard at it.
7.30pm: Choreography for the item starts. Some people think this is the hardest segment of an item. With practice, I think it will be easier to catch steps
9.00pm: We take a short break before we attempt some blocking. Some of the boys’ shirts are soaked by now. Blocking is like doing formations in a dance performance. You can move to a formation using moving/travelling steps. Sometimes choreographers like to vary steps in a formation as well. You may have to face different directions or do floor work to introduce elements of variations that make a performance more interesting and dynamic.
10pm: Debrief finally! Our choreographer reminds us of the need to practice our show face for the item. What makes a performance stellar is that a dancer does not only do steps but performs the steps. Everyone can do steps but not everyone can perform. Do I make sense? Performing is about having the additional draw to lure the audience in with your expressions and emotions – how much commitment you devour into an item. I remember there were times I cried on stage when emotions overwhelmed me. That happened before, 3 times to be exact.
10.30pm: Pack up and home sweet home! I think I will conk out on my bed the moment my head touches the pillow. Got to finish up those tutorials first!