This past year Miss Mary and Miss Molly took on the daunting task of remounting an extremely “chill” precision tap number from a previous recital. If you remember the extra fun and entertaining tap number with all of the penguins, then you know exactly the number I’m talking about. This number has traveled all the way to Walt Disney World with our Competition Team to entertain their guests, it was definitely one of the crowd favorites at this past year’s recital, and has been a crowd favorite before. It took a lot of work during the year to get Arctic Blast to look as good as it has before, maybe even better!
All three recitals were lucky enough to see the performance, as it included two different classes of advanced tap students. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I was fortunate enough to watch both classes work toward tackling the difficult and complicated routine. Putting together a routine that has previously been on stage starts with reviewing the recorded number to refresh any gaps in the routine and make sure the choreography is true to the original. In certain cases some the steps will be adjusted to fit the level of the current dancers which may even mean giving them something more challenging than what was previously choreographed. Once that was complete, each class began breaking the number down into sections and working on mastering each.
While the students were hard at work on the choreography, it was time for Miss Mary, Miss Molly, and Mr. Joe to get to work on costuming the number. They wanted the penguin costumes to be made for each dancer specifically, to make sure they would be able to move properly in them. Store bought costumes never fit perfectly, and with a dance like this it would be challenging enough for our students without adding an uncooperative costume to the mix. They contacted a costuming company and sent a draft design with the measurements for each student. It took several weeks for the costumes to be specially made, but in the end it was totally worth it! They fit perfectly and the dancers were able to move exactly the way they needed to. Now all that was left was to put the costumes together for the “frosty friends” who began the dance, which involved buying furry hat & glove accessories and making leg warmers from scratch with some furry fabric they had picked up.
As we got closer to recital, the two classes merged and started coming in twice a week so the whole group could rehearse together. They were able to determine who would dance which sections, time their entrances, exits and crosses, and begin to work with their iceberg set pieces that were brought back from the original number. In the last few weeks every penguin had to choose their character and accessorize their costume. We had all kinds of penguins from a birthday penguin, to a hip-hop penguin, a graduate penguin and even a unicorn penguin!
With some last minute cleanup and reviewing the previous version of the number, Arctic Blast took the stage for recital and quickly became one of my favorite tap numbers I have seen our studio perform. It took a ton of effort but I know that everyone involved was really proud of the result, especially Miss Mary:
“You can really see the amount of work that everyone did to bring back this routine, and the result looked great and was really entertaining for everyone at the recital. I’m so very proud of how our dancers came together to really put this number over the top.”– Mary Naftal
With this year being Dance Connection’s 30th Anniversary, there will be a lot more crowd favorites coming back to the stage. I can’t wait to see which ones make it to this year’s recital!