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Pictured (in front) Amy Curtis and (in back, from left) Ryann Jordan, Andrew Archer, Aliya Robertson, Joshua Swasey. (Photo: Justin Lacey)
As many schools across the country do each year, Westbury Christian marked “Arts in the Schools” month in March, to honor and celebrate our school’s Fine Arts program. Students in each Fine Arts class had the opportunity to present their work to the high school student body during lunch. Each year, the Advanced Theater class picks a song from a musical of their choice and creates choreography to go along with it for a special lunch-time performance. Since I am taking Advanced Theater this year, I had the honor of performing with my classmates the title track from “Mamma Mia.”
A three minute and 35 second song requires much more work than one might think. My good friend and fellow classmate, Ryann Jordan, was the head choreographer of the project, but everyone put in his or her two cents in order to make our piece as close to perfect as we could get it. We were constantly coming up with new 8-counts, trying them with the music, and then adjusting the choreography as needed.
The proofing and rethinking of each step - with the goal of most effectively conveying the song’s story - was exhausting. It took a total of four 45-minute class periods to create the complete choreographed routine. That averages 54 minutes of choreographic discussion per each minute of song. 54! Then, it was all down to practice. We would run the performance over and over until we almost didn't have to think about the dance itself.
Soon enough, it was performance day, Thursday, March 28. Everyone was nervous. We knew it wasn't going to be one of the most pivotal moments in our lives, but we preferred making a good memory instead of a bad one. By the grace of God, our performance went off without a hitch. Everyone knew their choreography, and we got a large portion of our cues. We didn't get a standing ovation, but our peers seemed to enjoy the number, which was a satisfying enough result.
After the fact, I’m happy I was able to be in the dance. It was a nice experience to file away in my memory. Also, I was proud to showcase the art I love to people I care about. Although I most likely won't be pursuing theater as a vocation, I will always be a “theater kid” at heart.