reciproskill

20 May 2009 at 11:23 am 2 comments

I was recently cast as one of four follies girls in the musical “Crazy for You”. This role requires me to sing and dance like I belong on the stage of the Ziegfeld Follies.

This is the type of girl I am playing: feathers and legs.

This is the type of girl I am playing: feathers and legs.

The other three girls all have slim and firm typical dancer bodies with long legs and limbs, and I immediately felt as out of place as a Fantasia Hippo amidst graceful, arching swans. The first day of dance rehearsal, our choreographer, Indrani, started showing us moves and saying words completely foreign to me like “shuffle”, “single time step”, “flap step”, and “step ball change”. I was a baby in the ocean without a life preserver. The other girls seemed to get it so easily. They were already moving with the music in something that was performance worthy, while I was still fumbling with which leg I should stand on. At one point Indrani looked at me and asked, “Are you alright? You look like a deer in the headlights.”  I smiled and determined to spend every evening learning dance steps.

To their credit Indrani, Lisa and Stephanie treated me kindly despite my lack of abilities, however I could tell that the other girls were being held back by my slower pace. As the week passed, I began to wonder why I had been cast in the first place…

Then came the first night of singing rehearsal. I have sung my entire life. I may have even come out of the womb singing. And because of my church, I have performed in front of people since I was able to walk. This was a familiar territory: a well-traveled road, where I knew all the landmarks and turns in the road. It didn’t hurt that all the music was written by George and Ira Gershwin, so I already knew the vast majority of it.

We were going  over a fairly simple piece titled “Bronco Busters”, when one of girls leaned over to me and whispered, “How do you already know this song?” I laughed and responded, “The same way you already know how to do a triple time step!”  We laughed with eachother, and I immediately felt ten times better.

She came to me afterwards and asked if I would help her with the music, because she felt so uncomfortable singing in front of an audience. I told her we could trade. I’d help her with music, as long as she promised to help me with dance.

It suddenly became clear why we’d each been cast. She can dance. She can dance well! And I can sing. I can sing loudly! The other follies girls were cast for their legs and I was cast for my throat, and “with our powers combined” we’ll create a great show!

Sorry, I couldn't resist the Captain Planet reference.

Sorry, I couldn't resist the Captain Planet reference.

I realized that we have reciproskills in every relationship we encounter from co-workers, to friends and family. I have something to give, and everyone else has something to give and together we compliment each other and make something better than we could have ever done separately.

And thank goodness everyone isn’t like me, otherwise the floors would never be cleaned!

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Entry filed under: word of the week. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

sweet to hannah

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elizabeth Hansen  |  21 May 2009 at 9:42 am

    When are you going to be in Crazy for you? By the way congrats on not only getting the part but being smart enough to barter dancing and singing coaching.

  • 2. hazelnutmegan  |  21 May 2009 at 11:45 am

    We will be performing the last three weekends in June. And I am truly enjoying learning to tap — Indrani is a great teacher, so I did luck out!

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