Yet again, please don’t be misled by the title of this week’s blog post. It is not going to be a gushing post about how much I love dancing (or ‘Wicked’), it was merely inspired by it. I do hope that by the end of the post you’ll agree with me that it was an inspired choice of lyric (thank you Schwartz). Just a short one this week…

On Monday I went to a class at The Place as it was being taught by Drew McOnie. 

ASIDE: I have to do a bit more than the usual ‘*’ here because it has been an exciting week for Mr McOnie and I think you should all know about it. He has launched ‘The McOnie Company’ and you should definitely keep an eye on it/them (aka FOLLOW or LIKE). As ‘The Stage’ reported, they are exploring “just how far musical theatre choreography can go” and Mambo McOnie is definitely one to watch. I’ll be at the Bridewell in February. See you there. 

Back to class…

This week’s post is not to profess about how important it is to go to class or how much I love dancing – both of which are very true. It is about an idea that Drew put into my head on Monday evening. It struck me then as brilliant and has since struck me as rather profound (whilst staring out of a train window at the pouring rain – I swear my life is one big cliché at the moment). Drew, in all his wisdom, spoke about how dancing these days is just seen as photographs – the images you see on the front of the ‘Dancing Times’ or on advertisements. When you think of dance you conjure images of incredible still moments (eg. the classic ’tilt’ that makes your hamstrings want to cry) and that, quite simply, isn’t dance. Dance is the beautiful way in which you get between one image and the next – that is dance. You don’t have to be the penché pro you imagine, you just have to give it some on the ‘in between’, to dance beautifully. Snap back to class and I then tried to ooze every last ounce of passion out of a pas de bourrée. Man, did it feel good. 

Two days later it struck me that Drew’s idea could be applied to my life (or, indeed, anyone’s). Your life can be measured in a series of still images and in this profession, more specifically, production stills! Your career to the outside world is seen and can be measured through a picture of you in a production and the next one that follows, and the next etc etc… (“Etcetera. Etcetera. That’s a very pretty name…Etcetera” Sorry. I couldn’t resist.) Getting a job is all that is focused upon and it’s all we feel we have to show for ourselves. No one gets to see the beautiful way that you got (or are still trying to get) between the two. Ultimately, the ‘in between’ stage in this industry is how you will spend the majority of your working life and you have nothing to show for the hard work that goes on. Sometimes, like a pas de bourrée or a combination of dance steps, the ‘in between’ can be messy but if you give it everything you have then it should be incredible to watch. Passion is what separates good dancing from great dancing – so why not apply it to every aspect of our day-to-day lives? 

Blimey, she’s gone a bit deep this week. What can I say? I think it’s the change in the weather. All I want to do is sit inside, wrap up in a blanket and pensively watch the rain. It’s just a little food for thought. Even if you’ve got a load of auditions, no auditions, drama school applications, classes on top of coursework or juggled commitments, and consequently straying priorities, do not worry. Just use your plié and get everything possible out of what you’re currently focusing on – that is dance and that is life. The still images, which are just captured highlights, will be breathtaking as a direct result of what goes on ‘in between’ (much like the shots of The McOnie Company). 

Image

Dancer: Jaslyn Reader
Photo: Pawel Piotr Niemczyk
Styling: Imogen Loveday-Brown

 

I think Jaslyn (pictured above) wouldn’t mind me saying* that in her downtime she likes to wear tracksuit bottoms with one leg pulled up to the top of her thigh and one down as normal – she also teaches an incredible dance class and makes a mean coffee. What I’m trying to say (at Jaslyn’s expense via the internet) is that she is human and doesn’t fly through the air looking fierce 24/7. Jaslyn gives passion to her ‘in between’ and she was beautiful in whatever she was doing before that photograph was taken and will be beautiful in whatever she does before the next. Give the ‘in between’ your everything and make it something to behold – even if it’s for your eyes only. 

*I hereby give Jaslyn Reader permission to humiliate me on the internet if this is not okay. 

Happy chewing over that!

“And the strange thing: your life could end up changing while you’re dancing through”

– Rebecca Ridout

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