The Apollo Dancers in costume for “Miss Transylvania” routine “Queen of the Whole Universe”
Last night while I was on stage dancing my heart out, I felt again that amazing buzz you get when you are performing that is like no other feeling on Earth!
It’s that feeling when you are so amped up with energy and the adrenaline is pumping through your body, and you are giving yourself out to the audience with no reservations. It was a great feeling made even more perfect by the reciprocating cheers, clapping, and roaring from the audience. That’s when dance is at it’s best, when you know you have captured the audience and taken them on a journey with you, you can hear it in the applause.
I have been dancing and performing for a long time, but this “gig” will be one to go to the top of my list because it was so professionally done on all levels. The dancers were well taken care of, we had fantastic dressing rooms that were so huge I could’ve camped out there quite happily for days of rehearsals and performances if need be. We were at the Aotea Centre in the heart of Auckland, and the rooms were clean, bright, and comfortable. Large mirrors with lights on all walls, a lounge and table in the center and our own toilets and showers attached to our room. It was wonderful to have such great facilities backstage. So many times you are cramped back stage into a tiny dressing room, and sometimes no dressing room at all! Trying to get a tutu or awkward costume on in a toilet is not very desirable. So when you do get the opportunity to work in a lovely space, make sure you enjoy it, look after it and clean up your mess, and make the most of it!
The Queen of the Whole Universe is a show that raises money for Aids, such a great cause, and it was a pleasure to work with everyone who made it happen. Our hosts “Buffy and Bimbo” were amazing right from the start, and were so friendly and calm to work with. I’m sure that they had a lot of pressure and a lot on their plates dealing with a beauty pageant full of drag queens, but as far as I saw they were always smiling, positive, and a pleasure to work with.
As was Sarah Boocock our choreographer, always a positive influence, giving us great feedback and directing us all in such a professional yet friendly and caring manner. It has been a fantastic experience working with her and I hope to do so again in the future. These are the kind of people that dancers, teachers, and choreographers should look to for inspiration. No negativity, no power trips, just getting in there and getting the job done while having fun at the same time. Sarah was always encouraging people and has a balance with being firm as well, so she has a lot of respect.
The other cast members were fantastic dancers to work with. We all come from different backgrounds and different training, but worked really well together as a team on this show. Everyone came at this performance with a real positive vibe, and no-one had any ego drama to deal with which was so refreshing. These dancers are very, very talented, great technique and amazing performance ability, and not one of them ever acted like a diva. Everyone was eager to work hard and make the show great.
I met the dancer that I was to do two lifts with only two days before the show, and instantly we hit it off. He was very professional about rehearsing the routines and within five minutes of meeting each other he just got into the lifts and had me sitting on his shoulder and balancing above his head with ease! The way he took charge with the lifts but was easy going and friendly made me feel that I trusted him straight away. Every time we did the lifts they went well and felt effortless. Because of that ease and trust we had between us.
So many times in my career I have dreaded doing lifts with partners, because on some level I didn’t trust them and there was always some sense of fear in the back of my mind. But not this time around, and we pulled them off perfectly in the show last night as well. When you are a positive, happy person to work with, things always go smoother and you get the best out of your own dancing and those you are dancing with.
“It’s Raining Men” with Buffy and Bimbo
Afterwards the contestants, cast members, crew and audience were treated to an after party in the upstairs foyer, and it was great to see everyone having so much fun, laughing, chatting, and dancing the night away. If you ever have the opportunity to work with these fabulous people here in Auckland, go for it. It was an amazing experience and one I’ll remember with a smile for a long time to come.