Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doing choreography

I’m not sure what it is I’m doing in the scene where Herb (Rat 1) and I are called upon to remove Rattles and Daisy from the Rat King’s presence, but it gets a laugh every time, so obviously I’m on to something. I don’t suppose I will know until I buy and watch the DVD. (Oh, yes, boys and girls, it turns out the panto is to be filmed. Mercifully copies will not be available on Amazon.)

It is, however, clear at the rehearsal – as it has been since the first time Ginny, Herb and I performed it – that we need some help with our number. There is, of course, no help for the fact that I cannot sing. I just remind myself that it’s a panto, definitely not the opera, so making a fool of myself goes with the territory. Herb has a fairly booming voice. With any luck he will drown me out.

No, where we need the help is with, for want of a better word, choreography.

(At this point I had hoped to embed a link to the Danny Kaye “Doing Choreography” number from White Christmas, but, alas, the only link I could find for it had been taken down from YouTube, so have this instead.)

Turns out Ginny’s partner Sara used to be a professional dancer and she agrees to provide much needed assistance.

And so we gather in their livingroom, Sara sitting on the sofa to watch us perform That’s Amore in the half assed fashion we have so far adopted. Sara’s very good. She doesn’t laugh (in a bad way) or roll her eyes at the hopelessness of the cause. Apparently I have a good sense of rhythm. Apparently Herb (who would never deny it) doesn’t. Thus I am (apparently quite obviously) having to compensate. There is some suggestion of adding a bit of basic footwork. (At the moment, Herb and I are just swaying – occasionally in time with one another – behind Ginny.) This suggestion is vetoed by Herb, who feels swaying and singing at the same time are as far as he is able and willing to commit. Fair enough.

We decide it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a go with the actual Dean Martin song playing in the background. Ginny digs it out and puts it on. Ginny has a revelation. She has up until now been singing the song in three/four time, when it should actually be in four/four. What, oh what can this possibly mean, non-musical me wonders.

We do the song again. It sounds exactly the same to my untuned ear, but, wonder of wonders, for the first time ever I do not find myself swaying out when I should be swaying in and vice versa. How did that happen?

Much, much better, says Sara, allowing us a moment to bask in the glow of our progress. Except… Uh, oh. It seems that when the song slows down, Herb and I are still losing the plot a bit. Or, more appropriately, the beat. Oh, dear. Fortunately, she has a suggestion: Just stop “dancing” (can I really call our swaying this?) for a moment, as if we’re savouring the sentiment of the line. (“When there’s cheese in your dream, but you know you’re not dreaming, signore.”) Then jump back in for the finale. Herb considers this for a moment, decides he’s up to it, and we give it a go. Big round of applause from Sara. By Jove, I think we’ve got it!

We do it again, just to make sure our first, successful attempt wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t.

Sara predicts we’ll bring the house down. I rather think we might.

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