Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Am A Competent Tapper!

Now some of you might be saying, "DUH!" But for the first time today I believed it and felt it. I spent 2 and 1/2 sweaty hours in the studio today. I am actually off from rehearsal tonight so I decided to go in early so I can spend the evening with my wonderful husband. I started to work on Go In To Your Dance and that darned military time step. Still heavy, I went to youtube to check out the pros and I saw this lightness about them. I tried to mimic it and voila, I was getting better. It's definitely a work in progress.

I attempted pullbacks for just a bit but I just cannot get my right foot to make the 2 sounds that I need it to make. The left is great but the right just goes up and down. I NEED HELP!

I worked on We're In The Money. The great thing about this dance is that nothing is particularly hard but you do have to practice it and know the sequence very well. I started slow and then got faster and faster. It was a great review.

I did the Opening Number once and I found a few things to work on. I worked on them and did it again with a sense of abandon and relaxation. It was much better. But still hard to get through with a smile on your face. Can anyone say CARDIO?

All in all I feel really good about today. Every day that I work I find out something more about where my weight should be. That is the most difficult thing. Trying to think up and down at the same time. Trying to be light on your feet but slam that ground. It's not something one can learn in a day, a week or even a month. But I am getting there and that makes me feel so accomplished.

I wanted to work a little bit longer but I was getting tired and was unable to do even simple moves. So I knew it was time to pack it in for the day because I didn't want to get frustrated with myself. It's all about balance (new mantra).

I am excited about my progress and looking forward to learning the final part of Go In To Your Dance tomorrow.

Well it's time to make some homemade pizza.


Your finally starting to believe in herself tapper.

30 Working Days Until Opening Night!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pound That Ground!

Worked for an hour today. It's very hard to go in to the studio and decide what to work on. I want to work on everything but I have to have a focus. I equate it to going to the gym. I like to go with a game plan so I can get in and out and feel like I have accomplished something. So I started working right away on the military time step. I was trying to incorporate tips from Dawn and every one else who has been helping me but I was getting frustrated because I still feel like my body is out of control and it feels impossible to get all the sounds. I attempted to work on pullbacks but I don't want to hurt my pinched nerve too much. After that I just decided to do all of Go Into Your Dance for a review. It wasn't great, but it was ok.

Then I moved on in to We're In The Money which has a couple moves that really confuse my entire body. One is the New Yorker, Flap-Heel-Heel-Brush-Heel-Toe-Heel. My feet just go in their own rhythm and do not take any direction from my brain. I go over it slow with just the feet and I master it. Then I add the arms and (insert loser sound from Price is Right) my body just breaks down. So I worked on it slow and then a little fast and it came and went. I took whatever success came from it and moved on.

Then I decided that I was going to work on the Opening Number and really try to serve up the acting. The first attempt was just that, an attempt. My mind gets so wrapped up in the moves that I forget to act at all. I stopped half way through, took a breather and decided to start again not worrying about the moves but trying to act, loosen up and think in to the ground. It was better. Not where I would like it to be, but better. So I have decided that today is Day 1 of doing the Opening Number every day. Each day I will work on my acting in the number, not my feet. This is what I am good at and what truly makes me feel alive on stage. All this thinking and worrying is really draining my energy and leaving my devoid of any life at all. So not cool.

For the last 10 minutes in the studio I decided to work on Go In To Your Dance and my solo in that. I threw my brain out the window and thought, pound the ground. Just think ground. Hit that ground. Take all your frustration and put it in to that ground. Everyone has been telling me that I am thinking too up and I need to think down but you can not imagine what a hard concept this is to get in to your body. Well with this new focus I have to say I started feeling where my body weight is supposed to be. It started clicking all over. It was just for a blip of time but that will keep me motivated throughout this process. I will cling to any success possible.

The good news is I have learned all the tap that I will be doing in the show. I only have one number left to learn and it does not involve tap. That is comforting because there will be no more surprises. I know what I need to work on and I have the time to do it.

Well it's time to go out and party it up a little bit. Goodnight!


Your pounding the ground tapper.

33 Working Days Until Opening Night!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No More Being Timid!

I am writing this with my feet in a vat of hot water and chamomile epsom salt. My feet are happy.

We learned the rest of We're In The Money tonight and I am overwhelmed with more tap steps and now we are dancing on wooden dimes. In the dance we are doing stomps into brush backs. These are my least favorite things. I have a hard time figuring out how to stomp my foot and then get the brush back in immediately. It seems impossible in these shoes, they have absolutely no bend. And then my toes are scrunching in my shoes and that is causing tension and then I get annoyed that I can't do it and that causes more tension. It's a vicious cycle. Also, we are doing bombershays which are a complicated flap step that invloves what? You guessed it, brushes! Ahhh! Breath Jessica! I just have to step away from it and go over it on my own. I need to give it time to sink in.

I am meeting with the Dawn tomorrow (director/choreographer) for a personal session. The things I really feel I need to work on are flapping and shuffling under my body. This will make faster moves more clean, like the military time step. I also want to work on pullbacks, of course. And just overall placement of my weight.

Megan said something that stuck with me tonight. I was having a hard time flapping under myself (as opposed to out to the side or front) and she said that I was being too timid. As soon as I decided not to be timid, the steps got better. I have to apply that to all of the dances and even the entire show. So my new motto is, "No More Being Timid!"

Well times up on the epsom salt! Gotta go to bed, goodnight!


The tapper who wonders if you can purchase loose ankles online.

36 Working Days Until Opening Night!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

With Me It's All Er Nothin'!

Today I am singing a tune from Oklahoma, feel free to sing along with me if you are familiar;

"With me it's all er nothin'. Is it all er nothin' with you? It can't be in between It can't be now and then No half and half romance will do!"

Allow me to explain. Being a runner, Sunday is my long run day, which means I run anywhere from 6 - 13 miles depending on where I am in my training. Well I have been having a little trouble with a pinched nerve in my big toe on my right foot. It doesn't really hurt but I definitely feel it tingling. In the interest of not hurting myself I decided this morning that I was not going to run because I thought the constant pounding would not be good on the toe. So I went for a nice 14 mile bike ride instead. Although, it still doesn't feel like enough.

What is the lesson to learn here, I have a hard time finding a balance in things. I am either in it to win it or I am not doing it at all. There has to be some sort of middle ground that will make me feel comfortable.

Anyway, I went in to the studio yesterday and with my toes wrapped with athletic tape, I went to work. I knew that I really had to work on Go In To Your Dance. I broke it down slowly and was feeling pretty comfortable with the dance by the end. This show is just one of those things that requires constant practice to get the muscle memory. You can't do it in just one session.

Here are some issues that are still arising:

1. I am not shuffling properly. I am doing it more with my leg than my ankle. This is preventing me from doing the military time step faster and cleaner.

2. I know my hips and ankle are not supposed to be tight. But what is supposed to have tension. Something has to be working. When I go all limp everything gets sloppy. My taps start to sound scrapy. How can I get those clean sounds and still be relaxed?

3. I am still having issues with how low to bend and how much to be up. I think this is just something you begin to understand with time. I have a deeper understanding now but I need more.

My plan this week is to work as much as my toe allows. I am really trying to listen to my body and not break myself. But I have talked to several dancers and they said as long as I am careful it's not a threatening issue. We are finishing Go In To Your Dance on Tuesday and we are doing We're In The Money tomorrow. I am not really sure if I have any other tapping to learn after that because Anytime Annie is not in the 42nd Street Ballet number. So it will just be regular dances to learn which comforts me. Don't get me wrong, I am having a blast with the tap, but I don't want to overwhelm my brain and my body.

But I will say that I am proud of myself for striking a balance today with my running. I think that shows how dedicated I am to this. I just have to be careful with myself for the next couple of weeks if I want to practice on top of rehearsal. That is a lot of physical output that is tough on the body.

So on that high note of praise I will leave you! Have a lovely Sunday!


Your Tingling Toe Tapper!

38 Working Days Until Opening Night! (YIKES)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My New Address: Relaxation Station, Positive Town, USA

Well, with my take no prisoners attitude on pullbacks and my insane need to continue exercising on top of everything else I am doing, it's no wonder my quadriceps are screaming at me. And getting up at 3:30 AM every morning isn't helping either. Needless to say, I was pooped today. However, I went in to the studio anyway. I know, I am a glutton for punishment but any practice is good practice. And I always feel better going in to rehearsal having worked that day.

Since I was tired, and I am listening to my body, I decided to put an hour and a half cap on my time. I started working on that darned military time step. At first my tired legs couldn't keep up, but then I applied something that Crystal said last night which is use your big toe. That kind of clicked for me and it was getting cleaner and cleaner. Then I attempted some pullbacks. I was getting them but then I noticed that I was still kicking my left foot out too far. I think I need some one on one time for these now that I have a new understanding of the mechanics. I decided to stop because I didn't want to hurt myself. I went over Go In To Your Dance and when I got to my solo I realized that my legs were so stiff, as if rigamortis had just set in. I told myself to relax and just think in to the ground, use my big toe for the shuffles, and the solo instantly got better. I have to always remember to breath and relax now that I am improving.

I started working the opening number, however I was feeling so draggy so I decided to do the moves slow and really solidify them. This was helpful but I really need to work on them at pace.

I was glad that I had worked on Go In To Your Dance because we had extra time tonight and so we moved on in the dance. It felt different learning the steps tonight. I felt less overwhelmed. I am really just trying to have fun and tell myself that I am going to get it, because I AM DAMN IT (that was for you Dawn)! It was actually fun to learn the choreography and I was really getting excited about the number. It is going to be a blast every single night. I just have to practice, practice, practice.

I am so happy that I am still residing in Positive Town! It's such a nice place to visit. I think I'll stay.

Well Goodnight,

Your tapper whose feet feel like they are going to fall off. Yay!

41 Working Days Until Opening Night!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Umm...Was That A Pullback? BOOYAH!

Today's blog is dedicated to all of my teachers and castmates who try to help me in any way. And especially Sulley who was able to make me understand what everyone had been telling me. That's right kids, Mama did some pullbacks today.

Last night, Sulley helped me to figure out how to practice my pullbacks (going from double pullbacks in to syncopated pullbacks). She was pretty much telling me the same things every one else was telling me but it just clicked at that moment. So I went in to the studio today on a mission. My mantra was,"I am not leaving until I get this." I started with the double pullbacks trying to think up not back. I was not satisfied with the lame sound my feet were making so I plied a little more in to the floor then lifted up, came back down in to a nice plie and up again, all the while remembering to have loose ankles. And the sounds were more pronounced. So I tried to separate my feet and do my right foot first then my left in order to get 4 sounds instead of 2. At first, I encountered the same trouble as before but with what I had learned previously from my double pullbacks I was able to start scraping my right foot and before I knew it I was getting 4 sounds. Sometimes I was getting a scrape, but I was working on them for an hour and a half so my legs were a bit tired. I was sweating so profusely and my quadriceps are screaming now as I type, but I was elated. I had done what I had set out to do. And they are only going to get better now that I understand the mechanics. I immediately texted my husband to come up and see. I couldn't wait to share my success with him, especially after the breakdown he saw me go through. It was a good moment.

Then I was feeling full of piss and vinegar, so I decided to tackle the military time step sequence that goes with the pullbacks. I have been having trouble with getting my body to move quicker with this one. But I taped Sulley last night and I was able to see where her weight goes during the step and I was able to apply that. I am getting close to putting the whole thing together.

After that I drilled the Opening Number a bit and then finally decided that I was done for the day. I left feeling invigorated and proud and dripping in sweat. There is no better feeling than accomplishing something you've worked so hard to do. I really feel like I earned it.

I cannot wait to get in to the studio tomorrow and work it all over again to get it perfect. I am feeling more confident by the day which definitely helps with my character, who isn't afraid of anything or any tap step. I guess this process will really inform me for my part.

One of my acting teachers once said,"Hard work and patience never fail." I really feel that today. Thank you again to all of my wonderfully talented and patient teachers. You are the reason for this success.

Alrighty, time to get the hubby to give me a foot massage. Goodnight!


The proudest little tapper in the world!

44 Working Days Until Opening Night!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Role Reversal = Realization

Today was the teen auditions for 42nd Street. For those of you who are not familiar with The Naples Players, we have an excellent KidzAct program and some times in the summer the teens do the same show as the adults. It's a great idea because the kids get a fully realized show and since the creative team (which consists of almost all the same people as the adult cast) don't have to worry about working on a completely different show, everyone is able to focus on the work and getting these kids to really work hard and serve it.

So I was teaching the audition choreography to the teens today. I thought it was funny that I was teaching tap but since I am familiar with all the steps and the entire process I guess it made sense. I felt a responsibility to these kids to give them as much information and advice as I could. Coming from someone who is still in the process of learning I thought it was good to explain to them that this is hard and it takes time. I actually found myself saying these words. These words that everyone has been saying to me. I really started to take it in today and believe it.

Throughout the process I found myself getting extremely comfortable and serving up some serious face. I was doing exactly what I was told to do when I auditioned and in rehearsal, which is to relax and trust that it will come. But it wasn't until I was in the position of teacher, did I get it. It's funny how that works out. I do the same thing with acting. If I am teaching an acting class or directing a show everything is crystal clear and I give great advice. But as soon as I get a role I make everything so complicated. It's odd how we just fall in to these roles.

So as the teens were auditioning I was watching like a hawk and seeing tense, straight legs, very tight ankles, no breathing and extreme thinking. All the things that I have been doing and still do today. But by seeing this I was able to see how much I had progressed from the adult workshop that I took just a little over a month ago. It was so hard to see and feel that progress until now. I was there, tightness and all and I have really improved in such a quick time. Some times hearing the words from others isn't as helpful as seeing and feeling it for yourself. But I thank everyone for their words because it all adds up in the end. I wouldn't have come to this realization today without those words, and for that I cannot thank you enough (you know who you are).

And as I was driving home with my husband today I was talking about the auditions and I said something that really helped me put things in to perspective. I said that it's a process, just like my singing and just like my acting. It takes time and it may not be perfect but it will be the best it can be at that moment. And I am ok with that. I don't need it to be perfect. A great teacher once said to me,"Artists are always in process." How true that is. I will always be in process of becoming a better tapper and what will be will be on Opening Night. But what I know I can do is serve up a great character with a side of brassy singing. And the tap is getting there.

I so needed this day. I feel amazing. It's been a good couple of days of amazing realizations. It has given me so much hope for the future. I can't wait to keep working on this show.

Yours truly,

The tired and extremely grateful tapper.

47 Days Until Opening Night!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Much Needed Mental Breakdown

So after my last post I was feeling pretty down. But it wasn't long until the positive messages came pouring in, telling me to be patient and to think of all I have accomplished. I called and you answered. And it meant the world to me. Thank you to each and every person who took the time to give me a little boost. It definitely helped.

So I had a renewed sense of determination when I went in to the studio today. I kept telling myself that I could do it and to be patient with myself. I vowed not to cry and to just keep working. And it came to the point where I was trying to conquer those dreaded pullbacks and I kept saying to myself that today was the day. But before long I was getting frustrated with myself. I was making the same mistakes over and over and it is so hard when you are alone. There is no one to vent to or get advice from. Already annoyed I moved on to the military time step and getting it as quick as possible and my body kept feeling disoriented, like it was working too hard. And soon I was feeling like it was impossible to get any quicker (which is a necessity). I couldn't take the lack of progress and I just fell to pieces right there on the floor. I fell to my knees and just cried. I begged for help and guidance. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to quit (very unlike me). I kept trying to break through the emotion but I couldn't. I texted my husband and asked if he wanted to go for a drink. As soon as he met me in the room I crumbled in his arms and went in to full metal breakdown mode. I started venting all of my frustrations with this process. And then it turned in to venting about my dissatisfaction with my life and my resentment towards my Dad and everything just came out. I cried so long, I got a headache. It felt great to get it all out. As a side note, something you have to know about me, I have to feel my feelings and express them and get them out. Otherwise they just hang around and bring me down.

So we went over to Trulucks and I had the most delicious Lychee Martini. It was much needed. We talked a little more about what I should do and he was so supportive and loving as usual (I am so lucky). And then it was getting close to rehearsal time. I didn't want to go but I knew I had to. When I got to rehearsal I realized that rather than learning the next part of Go In To Your Dance, we were reviewing together. The girls and I went over what we knew over and over again. I was feeling very warm and relaxed (and no it wasn't the martini). I stopped thinking for a while and it just started coming like everyone said. Now it wasn't perfect by any stretch, but even I started believing that I was a tapper. I got so comfortable I was able to explore my character choices a little more and I was actually acting rather than dancing in straight fear.

It was just the night I needed to get me through. And the breakdown didn't hurt either. I needed to get those toxic feelings out. I feel so much better and ready to tackle all the steps that are to come my way. I am not saying I won't get down again but I am glad I am on an uphill swing.

Thank you to you all who are following me and giving me support, advice and guidance. I couldn't do this without you.

Have a great night!

For the first time feeling like your,

Anytime Annie

P.S. 48 Days Until Opening Night!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Personal Struggle

This is sort of a personal post for me. I left rehearsal last night feeling a little dejected. Now it's not that the choreography is super hard for Go In To Your Dance, because it's not. It's just that I feel that I am always playing catch up. I am never that girl who just knows what she's doing and makes people go, "Wow, she can really do that!" Now some people may disagree with that statement, but the trouble is that I don't believe it. My acting is never good enough, my singing is never good enough, I'm never thin enough. I spend my life comparing myself to other people and trying to compete with what I think is their perfection. And in looking up to all these people I worry constantly about what they think of me. For example, I worried all night last night that the choreographer was wishing she just had someone who already knew how to tap because then she could move through the dance so much quicker. Now there was no indication given by the choreographer that this was actually what she was thinking, actually she was very understanding and patient. However, I made up this whole scenario in my head that if I had just gone to dance school when I was young this wouldn't be a problem and I wouldn't be slowing everyone down. But I am worrying about things that are entirely out of my control. And in the process, completely exhausting myself.

The funny thing is the choreographer will ask me if I know what I messed up and I know every single time. I feel and hear every missed tap and it is so frustrating. I do realize I am looking for instant gratification and have ridiculous expectations of learning in 3 weeks what these women have taken years to learn. But that is only because I want so badly to do this right. I want to make all the sounds with ease. I want to look natural. I don't want to look completely freaked out (which I did last night).

So the question today is how do I get there? How do I stop looking afraid? How do I believe in myself? How can I continue to be positive?

I am so scared that I won't be able to do this. But with that fear I am reminded that as usual I am taking myself out of my comfort zone and taking a big risk. I am always doing that which is probably why I always feel frustrated because I never just stay comfortable in just one thing. I want to learn it all and be great at it all (not good, great). And the question is, is that a good can-do attitude or just way too much pressure to put on myself?

I need your words of wisdom and encouragement today.

Thank you for stopping by.

49 Days Until Opening Night!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I have been a little side-tracked by a chest cold and have not been able to get in to the studio to rehearse in 2 days. However, I have been going in to rehearsal an hour early and going over the opening number over and over again with my castmates. And yesterday I had such an epiphany. I realized that when I shuffle I am trying to point my toe and I should be flexing. This opened up my ankle and I was able to think loose and they were loose. It was an amazing feeling. I was a shuffling machine. Except for those darn rolling shuffles, they are way too fast.

Tonight we did the choreography to Shadow Waltz and I am in love with it. It's very flirty and cute but also graceful. It was fun to do a number that I felt I could do and do well.

Now tomorrow night is the big night. We are choreographing Go In To Your Dance and that is my big number. It's the one with those dreaded pullbacks. I am very nervous but I am going to do the best that I can because that is all I can do. I hope I come out of it feeling like it's possible.

Well, I don't really have much more than that. I must go to bed and rest this weary body. I'll let you know how tomorrow night goes.


50 Days Until Opening Night!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cramp Rolls, Consider Yourself Conquered!

I was in the studio for and hour and a half today. I have to say, I find it hard to figure out what to work on. There are so many steps right now that need attention, I find myself falling in to ADHD mode! I move from step to step, not really perfecting one, but just getting fed up and moving on.

But today it was different. I was working on the opening number and was trying to clean up my problem spots when I realized that I have a very difficult time with cramp rolls. So I decided to stop and really try to figure the mechanics out. My feet don't want to make to the fluid sound. I kept thinking jump up and come down but it wasn't working. But then I really concentrated on relaxing my ankles and I started jumping off of one foot sooner than the other and low and behold, I did it, and kept doing it. I hope this is the correct way because it felt good to move from left to right cramp rolls with ease. I think this is a big step towards looser ankles.

So on to the sticking points of the afternoon. I kept trying rolling shuffles but I know that I am moving my leg too much. I know it's only a slight movement but I am not sure what else is working to make the sound. I am also having a hard time constantly hopping. I mean I work out my quads a lot but I just get too tired when we are constantly hopping. Also, anytime I lean to a side my leg comes up off the ground and won't tap. I have this problem a lot.

Another big issue I have is trying to keep my feet under me and being able to actually make the proper sound. I am tapping more in front which I realize is incorrect, but it is almost impossible for me to make the proper sounds with my feet under me. Also, whenever I am tapping to the side I feel like my legs are going too far and that is making it very hard to speed up the step. I think of trying to keep the steps contained but then I can't make the sounds.

But I did master cramp rolls today which makes me feel very successful. If I can have one realization a day, then I am that much closer to my goal.

I am very anxious about learning Go In To Your Dance this week but I am also looking forward to having a long time to work on it.

Today has been a complete success. And to celebrate I am having Mimosas! Woohoo!

Happy Mother's Day.

53 Days Until Opening Night!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Feet Hate My Guts!

All I can say is OUCH! My everything hurts. And I couldn't be happier. I am very proud of my war wounds, it makes me feel like a real dancer.

Had a great rehearsal last night. We finished the opening number! So I went in to the studio today for a little while before I was scheduled to to volunteer for Derby Fest on 5th Avenue. I went over the number and broke it down and tried to fix my problem spots, but I realize it is just going to take time. This isn't something that is a quick fix. It takes many hours perfecting. Speaking of which, I read a quote about Eleanor Powell that is my new inspiration. It was from when she was in Duchess of Idaho, starring Esther Williams and she said that she was so touched watching Powell rehearsing until her feet bled in order to make her brief cameo as perfect as possible. Now, don't get me wrong I am not a masochist. But I realize that just because she made it look easy, doesn't mean it was easy. Practice, practice, practice.

Still trying to figure out how to keep my ankles loose and have some control over my sounds. I mean rolling shuffles are the bane of my existence right now. There is no consistency in them and that's because I can never tell when my ankles are going to tighten up. I don't know how to control that. I also still have the most annoying problem of not even hitting the floor at times. I am trying so hard to bend my knees while keeping my rib cage up. But I think there is a feeling to the body that I have to feel and be able to automatically go in to and that is going to take time. Nothing in life is easy.

The great thing about last night was that in the middle of dancing, I realized I am in a show. I have been working so hard that I kind of forgot that fact. It's weird how things just hit you. And I am so grateful and so lucky to have a place to perform and have amazing opportunities like this to grow and meet wonderful people. A big thank you to all of the continued support and advice. I am loving life.

And on that note, I must bid you adieu because I have a 5k to run in the morning.


54 Days until Opening Night!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ankles, Listen To Me...Loosen Up!

Tonight was the first tap rehearsal for the show and we did the Opening Number. I was so thrilled I knew the choreography from taking the audition workshop. I tried to have fun and act my face off and it seemed to work. But I know that my feet are not making 75% of the sounds and I desperately want to fix that. Some people say to me that it doesn't matter as long as some people make the sounds, but I don't operate like that. I want to learn how to tap. I intend to continue learning when the show closes. I want to be as precise as possible. But I decided to just have fun and smile my face off and I feel great about it. I will say there is one thing that I have been preparing for and that endurance. I am happy that I have been running for the past year, it definitely is beneficial for this show.

I really need to work on rolling shuffles. My ankles are tight and I know that but I cannot get them to loosen. I think loosen them, I shake them, I even yelled at them tonight and nothing works. Where is this tension coming from? My pelvis? My legs? My entire body? If I can figure it out it would definitely up my percentage of precise sounds.

All in all I had a blast tonight. My plan is to work on the choreography in the studio tomorrow and keep working on my pullbacks because we are working on Go Into Your Dance next week.

That's all folks from this very tired tapper. Thanks for tuning in.

56 Days Until Opening Night!

And So It Begins...

Tonight was the first rehearsal for 42nd Street. The first night is always so exciting. You get to meet new people and reconnect with friends. As I sat down next to a wonderful friend and looked around the room, I had a bit of a sigh as I thought to myself, "here we go." And after we all introduced ourselves and cracked little jokes here and there we were ready to get to work and sing.

Now, some of you may not know this, but I have never been very confident in my singing voice. Many things contributed to this feeling, but mostly it was people telling me that I couldn't and me believing them. But I was always singing. I went to several vocal coaches who each criticized the technique of the other. No one really caring about my intense desire to sing and to sing well. So I sang in the car, in the shower (best acoustics ever), karaoke bars and basically anywhere there was a song I knew. And all the while I would be adjusting my instrument trying to make it work properly, trying to have a smooth transition from chest to head voice. I would listen to singers I admired, Linda Eder being my favorite, and believe it or not I could hear what was going on in their throat, chest and even diaphragm. I so desperately wanted to be a better singer. And without realizing it I was doing some hard core vocal training any chance that I had. I had worked without it feeling like work. Why? Because this is my passion. So when it came time for me to audition for 42nd Street I felt confident. And then in the callbacks I was hitting notes I never thought possible and doing it consistently. That old fear was gone. So when we started with music last night, I was ready. I had listened to the cd and went over my music and I was excited to sing. And to my surprise I was actually asked to sing soprano at certain places in a song. That has never happened to me. I was always relegated to the alto section (a place I have come to love) because of my low voice and harsh break. But last night I was belting out high notes with confidence and it felt so good. I have worked so hard for so long and it has finally paid off. I was even holding my harmonies on my own. It was a proud moment.

How does this relate to tap you ask? Well, I realize I am going to have to go through the same cycle with this as I did with singing. There will be times of frustration and trial but they will be balanced out by times of triumph and success. As long as I work hard and keep my passion I can do anything. And it doesn't hurt to have a very supportive director who believes in you and a stellar cast and crew of new and old friends who share my passion and excitement.

When I got home last night, I sat down on my bed and noticed that I hadn't stopped smiling since I left the theater. I looked at my husband and said,"you know what, I love this." And he sweetly looked back at me and said with a smile,"I know."

Who has 2 thumbs and is the luckiest girl in the world? This girl!

Until we meet again, which I trust will be very soon...57 days until Opening!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When Does It Get Easier?

Being alone in the studio, I returned to my old habit of getting frustrated with myself. I feel like I keep making the same mistakes. And the biggest problem is that I feel like an elephant in tap shoes. I just feel so heavy and feel like I look like I am working so hard. There is nothing effortless about it right now. How can I feel light? I am lifting my ribs but I still feel like a tapping Mack truck, now there's a visual.

I was very excited about working today because of the new shoes and they are lovely. I don't mind the taller heel because it reminds me to stay up on my toes. I warmed up and then started with pullbacks as usual. And they are getting very consistent across the floor. But now I am having trouble doing them without prepping first. I have to do them coming out of a shuffle-hop-step-step-step while turning and I can't do it instantaneously. In addition my legs feel tight. Almost like I am extending too much. I know I am supposed to bend but sometimes it looks like it's too much. And when I watch video of really polished tappers they aren't really bending that much. I just cannot get the pullbacks to feel comfortable. I am tightening the muscles in my legs so much.

Also, my shuffles are still inconsistent. They come when they want to. I am going slow but I just don't feel like I am getting clean sounds.

I am very scared about starting rehearsals because I don' want to be the only one not getting it and I don't want to get frustrated with myself. I know I will have time to work on it but I fear I won't get it perfect.

And after sounding like a Pessimistic Pam I will leave you with a positive thought. I realized during practice today that I want so bad to do this and do it well. And I am so happy to have something in my life that I want to work for. I can only do what I can do and I will do it. I know there will be days like today, many of them. But they will inevitably lead to a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. The journey is not always going to be easy. But the destination is so worth it.

I am so excited about starting rehearsals tomorrow night.

58 Days Until Opening!

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Tap Shoes!

So after having 2 days off for a Disney getaway I was eager to get back in to the studio. But of course life is always crazy and I had many things to do today. I worked early in the morning, had to take a nap, went to return the 1st pair of tap shoes up in Fort Myers and then I wanted to go to a fitness boot camp with my sister at 5:00 pm. As the day went on I could see that I wasn't going to be able to jam everything in. So when I got to the theater I made a decision. I chose to tap over working out. Those of you who know me will now realize how deep my commitment runs.

I did not have any tap shoes because the new ones I ordered online had not arrived yet. So I borrowed some from the costume shop and headed in to the 3rd floor rehearsal room. I warmed up and started right off with pullbacks and I was surprised I could still get them. And then I went on with the things I went over with Crystal and Megan. But I soon found myself very frustrated working alone. I had some of the same old problems with my shuffles not always happening. And I was struggling to stay lifted but also hit the floor. I want to make all the precise, light sounds but it's just not all clicking yet. And I guess I am feeling some pressure because rehearsal starts on Wednesday. But I kept on trying to be patient with myself and I did alright. I worked on double pullbacks and decided that I didn't care if I got them or not, I was just going to keep trying. I didn't get them, but I am closer.

So after feeling a little disappointed in my progress, I went home with my wonderful husband and on the table by the door was a package. It was my beautiful new tap shoes! I quickly put them on and instantly fell in love. I went right outside to my make-shift tap floor and started making noise immediately. "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." (What movie is that from, anyone?). I was so happy to have my very own beautiful, not touched by anyone else, tap shoes. It gave me a new found excitement for this process and I am practically giddy about going in to the studio tomorrow to try them out. I mean these are the shoes I will be performing in. There is something very cool about that thought.

I shall leave you with the most glorious picture (can you tell I'm excited?)...oh and 59 days until Opening!