when you learn an entire ballet in 3 weeks


This past week…month…year? (so far) has been one of the most challenging of my life.  We set the entirety of Peter Pan in just 3.short.weeks.  In terms of working days, that would be only 15 of them.  Which meaaaans, Act I was learned in 6 days, leaving the last 9 to memorize Act II, continue rehearsing Act I, and finish the marathon off by running the ballet a total of 4 times start to finish.  Sweaty, unpolished- dare I call it flailing- dominated those last 4 days of Jorden‘s stay.

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I didn’t make it out of my own mind much during that last week, enveloped in the stresses of dealing with extreme fatigue, soreness, and some nasty toe problems (has anyone else ever suffered from chronic corns?).  One of the most frustrating ailments of the week, though, was a lapse of the brain, not of the body.  As I stood in Act II rehearsal, on the deck of Captain Hook’s ship, surrounded by pirates, the Lost Boys, and my “little brothers” Michael and John, something strange happened.  We were practicing the Victory Dance we’d set the day before, and all of the sudden  I was a complete blank slate.  I knew it was my turn to dance, but it was as if I had never learned the steps.  I turned different movements around in my brain like a wine connoisseur swirling 10 years of the same Malbec with their tongues and pretending to taste the difference.  Only my brain was so blank it couldn’t even pretend anymore.  I had completely forgotten the choreography.  My head was so crammed with piqué turns, saut de chats, and sword fights, I just couldn’t retain any more information.  Learning a full length ballet in 3 weeks is a seriously demanding endeavor.  I never stopped searching around my mind for cues to help me remember, from the time rehearsal began each day, to my head hitting the pillow at night.

But what I haven’t yet mentioned is that all month I’ve been sort of sharing my brain, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’ve been sharing my skull, with the brain of Wendy Darling.  More on that character arch to come later.  For now, it’s time to hang on the couch with a cup of tea and zone out.  Until next time…xo.

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