One of the most challenging things I have been sketching lately is the dance rehearsals for the Trees. Here the core group is rehearsing to the Winter Medley. On this evening of rehearsals began on the main stage in the worship center of the First Baptist Church. The stage must have been smaller than anticipated because the dancers looked like they were about to run into each other. After several run throughs the director finally stood up and stopped everything. She said "Sometimes we try things and they just don't work. We should re-think this. Lets take a break from this piece and move onto something else. If we didn't fail sometimes we wouldn't be successful." To keep the rehearsal moving forward it was decided that the dancers would move upstairs to the mirrored dance room and work on the Winter Medley number. The choreographer in charge took the notes in stride and this second half of the rehearsal was lively and fun. At one point Gretchen, one of the dancers, did a dance move that the choreographer really liked and that move was incorporated into the final dance routine. Creative ideas have a way of appearing sometimes as if by accident. The director entered the dance studio after several sections of the dance were polished and refined. She sat on the floor in front and watched the improvements with joy and pleasure.
I wedged myself up against the back wall to keep out of the way while I sketched. During a break several of the actors came over and wanted to see what I was up to. It is a rewarding feeling to be a witness to the hard work that goes into making a huge show like this work. I would sketch every time the dance troupe were being given notes. These relaxed moments between periods of fast action are the windows I need to find a composition and pick out the personalities from the dancers different body types.