For eight weeks, students from four schools—many of them encountering dance and classical music for the first time—will blog about their experiences during rehearsals with choreographer Royston Maldoom and his team in preparation for their performances of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on November 17 and 18.
Students from The Dance Project prepare for their debut November 17, 2007 at the United Palace Theater.
"A Project That I Will Never Forget!"
The Rite of Spring Project will never be forgotten. Because of this project, I learned a lot of things. For example, I learned to not talk when someone else is talking. This project was one of my favorite projects ever, because it helped me learn about new things that I thought were so easy, but really were not easy. For example, I used to think that those people that worked on Broadway shows just "acted." Now, I have learned that this kind of thing is much more difficult than I thought it was. It takes a lot of work!
I will never forget this project because it helped me work as a team and also work with people that I didn't know. For example, I learned to work with people from Germany like Vogar and Anya. I learned that they are great people, even on days when we had more of a bad day (because people didn't always listen).
I will never, ever forget this chance that I had to be in The Rite of Spring Project.
"The End of The Rite of Spring "
When the curtain closed after our performance on Sunday night, everyone was cheering and saying goodbye to all the staff and teachers. I was happy but also sad that this experience was ending for us. When I was cheering and jumping everywhere, the only thing I was thinking about was that The Rite of Spring was over and that I would never see the staff and teachers again. I also realized that I would not see the kids from the other schools again either. When we were performing, I was also thinking how everything was going to change when this program ended. These thoughts were swirling around in my head.
The next day when we went to school, many people were saying how good we were. That made me happy. My teacher gave me a big hug. A lot of us kids who performed were missing it already.
But I know I learned a lot. The Rite of Spring Project gave me such a great opportunity to dance. I want to thank the teachers, Carnegie Hall, and PS 161 for taking me to this project all those weeks. I will always miss "The Rite of Spring."
"The Rite of Spring-Opening Night!"
I was backstage on Saturday night, Opening Night for The Rite of Spring. I walked up to the backstage manager and said, "Nicole, how many more minutes do we have left until we go to stage?"
"30 more minutes because the singers are just starting to sing and they perform for about a half hour," she said.
I was so nervous because I had been waiting and waiting for this show to come for so long. My friend Soribel was playing with Crystal and all the other kids were so loud in the dressing room. It was so loud that Nicole just told me about the time. It was too loud in the dressing room to tell everyone. I love Nicole so much because she was very nice to me and she has a heart like a kid.
I didn't have anything to do in those 25 minutes, so I started drinking a lot of water. I did this because I wanted to be sure that I'd have time to go to the bathroom before I went on stage. I didn't want to need to go when I was on stage! This ended up taking up all the time I had before I went on stage because there was such a long line for the bathroom. Before I knew it, it was time to go on stage.
When we got down to the stage, the curtains were closed and the orchestra was in place, and someone was talking to the audience ... like for 20 minutes! We were all waiting backstage. I was so nervous!
"Relax Ana, just pretend we are in a rehearsal," one of my friends said.
"I will," I replied.
Now it was time to go on stage and we got in our starting positions. The curtains opened and everybody started to clap. The conductor of the orchestra started to move his stick and everyone in the orchestra started to play. The whole show went very well and everybody was clapping like we were famous. When the curtains closed we all started to yell and we were so happy that even God could not stop us from jumping around!
When we went up to the dressing room to change, I changed very fast and went outside. My parents and my cousin were there waiting for me with big hugs. My cousin told me that she heard the sound from behind the curtain after the curtains closed! It was us yelling for joy!
"The Rite of Spring- Sunday performance"
I was not so nervous on this day because I knew that the performance was going to be good, since it had been so good on Saturday. I was not so nervous because I knew I could try my best just like I'd tried my best on Saturday. I remembered to think "this is just a rehearsal" like I did Saturday.
The Sunday show was as good as Saturday, but on this day some people did make some mistakes.
My friend Soribel was suppose to jump, and she fell, but when she fell she got up as if nothing happened and the audience didn't even notice. Also, another friend was supposed to be at the back and we went to the front instead. But, since we acted like nothing happened, the audience didn't notice that we had made a mistake. They just thought it was part of the dance.
It was very difficult to say goodbye to Anya and Volgar because they were such good teachers for us. They always tried their best to help us do our show the best. It would also be very difficult to ever forget about Royston because he was always yelling at us so we could do the right thing.
We wrote letters in a big card to each of the teachers and the stage and music players so they would never forget us.
When I got out of The Palace on Sunday night, my mom, aunt, and cousins were there waiting for me again. We went to McDonald's to eat because I was very hungry.
When I got to my house, I took a shower and I started writing in my notebook about the great moments I had these two days. I didn't want to ever forget what I had experienced. I wrote it all down so that I could always remember.
And I will. In the future, I will always remember these moments just like I can think about it and feel it today.
"The Rite of Spring"
Performing in The Rite of Spring program was one of the best experiences of my life! I liked the dance moves, the song, the teachers, and meeting new friends. I also liked being interviewed. But one of the most important and best parts of the experience was the audience!
The way that the audience clapped for us-it was awesome! It really sunk in to me that they were cheering for us! I felt that I could see the gladness in their eyes when they were cheering. I said to myself, "We are dancers! And we are awesome!" It was all for us.
Film still from the 2004 documentary Rhythm Is It! © Boomtown Media
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