Dancing Tall

It’s Monday and I’m feeling surprisingly great — the show is over and overall it was a huge success!

Saturday was a blur. We gathered at the theater at 1 p.m. for tech rehearsal, a run through with musicians, working entrances/exits, tweaking choreography and all the other odds and ends that come up with this kind of production. Amazing how those hours flew by and suddenly it was 7 p.m and were scrambling to get pretty for the show.

I’m not going to lie — I had some big-ass butterflies. We three back-up dancers were the first to take the stage, so there was definite pressure to kick things off right. But after that number, I felt calm. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that calm in a show. Even coming out to do Sevillanas — a dance for which for whatever reason always makes me tense — I felt so calm. Happy, even. I was loving it!

No need to give a play by play, but there were many highlights of the show — the final one being the fin de fiesta, where I found myself looking around and thinking, “Holy CRAP! I am actually up here with this amazing cast of professionals!” A few years ago I never could have imagined it, and I certainly couldn’t have imagined it six months ago when I seriously considered taking a break from it all.

It was an honor to work with Juan Talavera. I'm a lucky gal!

It was an honor to work with Juan Talavera. I’m a lucky gal!

I learned many things from J.T. over the last few months, but one thing he told me often was to “dance tall.” He’d say things like, “Marissa! Stop pulling yourself in! You look scared … Dance tall … stretch your arms out … hold them high … you’re very tall… use that … it looks beautiful when you dance tall.”

In reality I’m not that tall, although I do have freakishly long arms and I guess I appear tall among a group of petite women. But it’s great advice, both in the physical and figurative sense; like saying “Stand up straight and dance with confidence, woman! Be proud of what you DO bring to the dance.” I know Rina has told as much in the past as well, but somehow J.T. was able to beat it into my head.

So simple, yet so powerful. Dance TALL. Thanks for that, J.T.

And you know, I felt like I DID dance a little taller that night. Not sure how I looked, but I sure felt it. I felt all tall and warm and fuzzy inside.

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Backstage right before the first number. We were so excited!

Juan Talavera, thank you for allowing me the honor of performing alongside you. And to all of the other cast members, thank you ALL for being so kind, helpful and fun.

To my sister wenches, Kristine & Nancy: I’m so happy I got to experience this with you! We make a good trio, no?

And a special shout-out to Victoria Romero Koh for hooking me up with J.T. in the first place.

My only regret about all of this is not taking more photos! If anyone has any, I’d love to see them!