We love having student showcases so everyone can show off all of their hard work to their families and friends. We try to make them inclusive and a special event for the students. Even though they always appear to run smoothly there is a lot of hard work that goes into them. Here's a taste of just a bit of the madness and magic in the weeks before performance night...
It's time for our summer showcase!
So are we going to do a play or stand alone, yet themed performances? A play works better for everyone in the winter - themed showcase performances it is. Pick a theme...hmmm maybe Sci Fi . Yes sci fi works well for us.
Announce to students - they love this theme - good!
Sign students up for showcase.
Students start claiming songs - I've already claimed Space Oddity for my partner & I - she will be Major Tom to my Mission Control - fun!
Pick a date.
Pick another date because that date doesn't work for everyone...
then pick another frigging date!
Enough - lock date.
Try to figure out how to fit the showcase into our beautiful new studio.
Realize - there's no way in hell the showcase will fit in said beautiful new studio.
Stress over finding a showcase space that is affordable but will also support all of our rigging needs - preset points would be a godsend.
Come to the conclusion that most of the affordable spaces in Los Angeles don't actually have the rigging points or height that we need and we'll need to find a big, high, empty space plus bring in stage poles and a portable aerial rig.
In a moment of genius locate a space that actually has two different stage areas and allows us to have a separate aerial rig set up and a separate stage pole set up - do that little happy dance!
- Negotiate and pay for space.
- Lock dj
- Lock videographer
- Lock photographer
Decide on ticket prices.
Decide performance order. This is tricky as rigging point is not on a pulley and as much as I would like to break up apparatuses - it is way too much climbing for our rigging girl.
I selfishly want my partner and I to go first so I can enjoy the rest of the show (and maybe even sneak a beer) but we will start with pole. Okay then after intermission can we go 1st - nope. The cube is crazy heavy and it makes more sense to be preset. Hopefully I'll stay warmed up enough and relaxed until my routine - the beer can wait.
Start to promote showcase - I guess we are really doing this!
Set up free open practice time for students and have students start working with their instructors on their routines.
Start working on my hammock routine with my partner...oh and did I mention she's going to be away for a good deal of our practice time - stress over this.
Practice as much as I can with my partner - practice on evenings after work, practice on weekends, practice whenever we can, end up tweaking my back and bruising ribs but dammit - continue to practice! #aerialistproblems
Order really cute custom made costumes for me and my partner.
Struggle with our hammock set up - it has to be just high enough for me to be able to do a drop without slamming my knees into the ground but low enough that my partner can climb up on me and reach the secondary hammock. Finally come up with the perfect height combo.
Watch student rehearsals - it's a nice start but come to the realization that some of the routines still need more "story".
Plan a run thru of setting up the aerial rig and have students practice on it so they are used to the height & feel of the portable rig (much less bounce than our studio pulley system).
My partner wants to wash our double hammock - I don't. Break down and wash hammocks - but still think this is a bad idea as we have finally got the length correct and now we will have to re-tie everything.
Re-tie hammocks and realize you. were. right.
Where the fuck are our costumes?
Continue to rehearse...
Watch more rehearsals and beam with pride with all of the hard work everyone is putting in - routines, costumes and stories are really starting to come together!
Studio manager's boyfriend is going to do lighting - thanks!
Students ask to come in at ALL hours to rehearse their routines - I act just slightly semi-annoyed but secretly I'm actually very pleased with this. Oblige and schedule more rehearsal time for everyone!
Have a brilliant idea to change my costume, buy new costume - and am unilaterally told by everyone "NO that costume sucks" go back to cute custom made costume but refuse to wear "helmet" can't really hear music cues with it on anyhow.
Help instructors find Space Kitty costumes...this is not easy.
Find cool Space Kitty costumes on line and on sale score!
Sit down and make a list of everything that needs to happen the week before the showcase. I got this. Hell I do production for a living, we are in a good space. Make production schedule. I'm feeling super calm.
The week before the showcase...
Why hasn't everyone sent in their music yet? DJ is asking for music. Everybody send in your music!
Chairs - did you order chairs? Shit you did NOT order chairs? How could you forget chairs, that's like production 101. Student overhears your chair woes and has a great chair vendor!
Make arrangements, order chairs and plan to have them dropped off and picked up day of.
Videographer falls out...
Secure fab new videographer... yes steadicam is cool but um no - I don't think we REALLY need drones...thanks Trevor!
Make sure photographer is still avail - she is! Thanks Jazmin!
Crap when we moved we changed our insurance - pretty sure the new studio insurance only covers in studio student showcases...
Call insurance company and realize, yes you are correct, order additional "out of studio" showcase insurance coverage for the day.
I really just want to start drinking now but already feel like I look too large in my costume - which has finally showed up, is super cute but somehow a bit large on top???
Have one of your students alter costume for you - thanks Noelle!
Call performance space and make sure they can black out skylights in space so it can be completely dark - they say yes they can - no problem it'll be done before we get there day of.
The day of showcase...
Meet at studio early with hubby/co-owner and hammock partner and load up truck with all supplies rigging and apparatuses.
Drive over to space and secure parking...start unloading.
Sweat to death unloading items why is it so hot? Right because it's July, why did we do this in July? It's like 100 trillion° next summers showcase will NOT be in July!
Where is everyone? Ugh people are late & oh my god where is Tamysen with the aerial rig??? LA traffic is killing me we need to get that rig up!
People start to show up, aerial rig and poles go up. Chairs are being placed, chair vendor helps us unload all of our vehicles - Thanks!!!
Rigging heights are set - seriously why can't all the Lyra people use the same Lyra at the same height...
Lighting starts to go up - any color choices that weren't previously decided are locked. Lighting is beautiful! DJ is setting up.
Skylights that were not blacked out when we arrived are being blacked out.
Lounge spaces start to be created, furniture and wall flats are being moved.
Final run through and camera blocking happens. Things are smooth until MY routine - audio cable craps out and is only playing the melody??? For the record...Bowie sounds weird with just the melody. I guess it's better than during the show? I stop mid routine stressed because I can't really hear my music cues. DJ fixes problem and we continue - but now I'm "off" - just deal with it Lea...
Ticket area is finished - thanks for the offer but no - I don't think we have time to paint a flat with our logo...ticket girls work out kinks with mobile credit card swipper.
Dinner is ordered, space is prepped, we start to relax and snack on some protein and veggies...
Food and wine is put out for guests (& who knew they made star shaped cookies covered in chocolate with Pop Rocks on top - too fun!) Our secret stash of PBR for after our routines is hidden - um NO that is not for the general public s consumption please take it off the bar. One of the space rep stays and helps our pole cleaner/bartender with the bar/food area - so sweet (and yet i'm pretty sure it's because our pole cleaner is super cute) - thanks!
The stretching/dressing room is buzzing, last minute costume adjustments (for the record LED costumes can be tricky with hard apparatuses) makeup, glitter and lashes are everywhere.
People start filing in - lots of people. The turn out is great! The energy is amazing, the students are excited and ready! We've hit the calm AFTER the storm
It's time. It took a village but we are here. Lights dim, show starts, performances are beautiful and students are shining! Everyone is truly Floating In The Most (fabulous) And Peculiar Way!
At the end I am exhausted. I am ridiculously proud of our students and everyone who helped this night come together, we could not have done it without everyone's help - but I'm glad it's over. I sneak outside to the patio to have a few minutes alone, to reflect on the beautiful evening and of course can't help start planing themes for the next showcase - all while drinking my beer...