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5 Faces You Make in Rehearsal

Oh, rehearsal. It’s like getting on the world’s best rollercoaster: you’re thrilled about the adventure, but you’re worried your legs might give out afterward.


A grueling day of choreography and dance brings out the best and worst of us. Here are five faces we’ve all made in the studio:


1. This movement is LIFE.


Mid-run, you realize how amazing this piece is. Every high leg feels like getting a present at Christmas; every turn feels like a carousel ride at Disneyland. Adrenaline pumps through your veins, and you make a mental note to remember how happy you are at this moment. Everything is awesome!



2. This movement is, uh, what?


“Not like this,” the choreographer says, “Like this.” Then proceeds to demonstrate.


Hmm, you think. That made about as much sense as quantum physics.


You sneak a glance at your friend and realize you sport identical blank expressions. At least you’re not alone in the world.




3. Pain is an illusion.


With one minute left in rehearsal, the choreographer says: “Do we have time to run it again?”


“Of course,” you say, with a great big smile on your face. But it’s the kind of smile you reserve for your mortal enemies.


You can get through this if you simply forget that your feet are blistering and all your muscles are trembling. In fact, if you smile a little bigger, maybe the cramping in your cheeks will distract you from the cramp in your hamstring.




4. “Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I. I will survive!”


Like Diana Ross, you started the run afraid and petrified. But no matter how tired you were at the beginning, by the end you’re conquering each moment step by step. You’ve got your game face on, you’re in the “zone,” and it feels great.


It’s empowering to make it through a long day. You did this. Now you can do anything.





5. Dinner.


“Remember to review the movement tonight,” the choreographer says as you put on your shoes.


“What? Oh, yes. I will!”


And you will. But not until you’ve fulfilled your daydreams of inhaling a burger, fries, and milkshake, preferably as fast as possible. A chocolate milkshake. Or maybe vanilla. Come to think of it, you’ve been craving strawberries lately, so maybe…





Something tells you that the choreographer knows exactly where your brain has gone. You grin sheepishly and wave good-bye.


Elizabeth Shew is a Portland, OR native and a New York-based dancer, writer, and creator. She is a graduate of The Ailey School and Fordham University and holds BFAs in Dance and English/Creative Writing. She has danced for choreographers Cindy Salgado, Jae Man Joo, Brice Mousset, Christopher Huggins and Taryn Kaschock Russell, among others. Recently, she participated in Cherice and Charissa Barton’s summer program, Axis Connect, and performed alongside the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in their annual piece *Memoria. *She is a current apprentice with BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance.

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