This is part two of a three-part series on the dance and choreography in A Chorus Line, the 2019 Upper School spring musical. In part one, we talked with Vlad Derisier — the show’s choreographer — about the preparation that goes into a dance-centric main-stage production. Below we connect with students in the show to get a behind the scenes look at rehearsals and sense of their feelings leading up to opening night on May 16.
And a … 5, 6, 7, 8.
When you take a show that’s all about dance, add in a bunch of complicated and precise dance numbers, get rid of intermission, and — on top of it all — have all the actors on stage the entire show, you get one of the most demanding Upper School musicals Beaver has ever put on.
“A Chorus Line is a lot more physically challenging from other shows I have been in,” said Timothy Fischer ’19, who plays Mike Costa. “This show is very dance heavy and requires a lot of concentration and coordination during rehearsals.”
It’s truly next level — and the preparation reflects that. At each rehearsal the cast does a warm-up and a core workout and then, when their blood is pumping, they run through all the dance numbers they have learned several times without stopping.
“It’s the most intense rehearsals I’ve ever experienced. We all get pretty exhausted because we have a lot of content to learn. In other shows, we’ve been able to take breaks while other people are working on scenes with the teachers, but since everyone is in every scene, we’re working the entire time.” — Noor Jehan Ansari ’19
And all this hard work is paying off.
“At the beginning of this year, I was so nervous I wouldn’t get a role, but I never realized how much my dancing abilities have improved since last year,” said Noor, who plays Diana Morales in the show. “I have more control with turns and I worry less about how I look when I’m dancing — I just focus on getting the technique right and I’ve become a lot more confident in my abilities.”
While Noor and Timothy had some previous dance experience (both have taken dance as an Afternoon Activity this past year), there are also a handful of actors, like Kayla Vinh ’22, who came in with none.
“I have never been a strong dancer and I don’t have any experience,” said Kayla, who plays Tricia. “I was prepared to mess up a lot — I still did — but I improved a lot and we have opportunities to practice all the time.”
As the cast continues to perfect and sharpen each and every dance move, many of them — especially the seniors — are recognizing the bittersweetness of these final weeks.
“I feel like the past few weeks have gone by really fast,” Noor said. “It doesn’t feel like [the show is] right around the corner but it is. This is the point in the process where I really get excited because the cast has bonded and we’re really working to make to show the best it can be.”
So while it can be “stressful” and “nerve-wrecking” it’s also the time everyone is in it together, Timothy said.
The relationships and bonds we have as a cast always come through to push us to the finish line. — Timothy Fischer ’19
Get in Line, BVR!
A Chorus Line is May 16, 17, and 18.
Click here to purchase tickets.
Up next: In part three of our series, we’ll reflect with the cast and crew on the full experience.
More about dance at Beaver: