Wednesday, January 22, 2014


(Yep. It's been ages. But -- here, I shall just launch in and catch up and all those January things.)

One Saturday rehearsal, not so long ago, when things were not going so great -- the baby had kept me up for hours the night before, I was half-sick, everyone in the cast and everywhere was full-grumpy -- suddenly I was learning lifts. CRAZY lifts, ya'll. Like ok, he'll hold your left leg at waist-height, and you throw your other leg around his neck and swing the other down and around his torso then wrap it over his shoulder, hook your feet and drop your head toward the floor and he'll spin you and then you do a handstand out of it, ok? kind of lifts. Way out of my low-fast-and-alone sort of dance comfort zone. And it was hard. And I kept getting stuck and cranking my poor partner's neck with my leg, which suddenly felt like it was made of concrete. And this was only the first lift of the section which was made of lifts and I was going to break my partner's neck and oh-did-I-mention he's the lead and it would be really bad if I broke his neck?

My partner from Act 1, who happened to be great at lifts, noticed our struggles and said: It's a lot easier with momentum. Stop stopping.

And, lo, it was so. I stopped stopping. And though the lift never was perfect, even through the run of performances, it was better.  It was OK. And it was the tiniest moment in a huge wonderful thing.

And thus I got through the insane rehearsal and performance schedule, in spite of three colds, strep throat, and rotovirus (and those were just the times I got sick. The girls got milder versions of everything). In spite of major baby-daddy drama, up to and including retention of an attorney to sort through custody and contact issues. In spite of a messy house, a bum knee, extreme fatigue, bad moods, ice storms, Christmas preparations. I just stopped stopping. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I just didn't stop. I made lists, I made plans on the fly, I learned another piece the week before opening night, I paid a million dollars to a babysitter. I live like a waitress works: I never ever go anywhere without something in my hands. I never make a move unless I can accomplish two tasks along the way. Exhausting, yes.

But also: worth it. All seven performances sold out. I was terrified the first night, and I am sure it showed. But by night seven the stage manager had to mop my sweat and my heart off that stage floor, because I remembered how to leave it all out there. I remembered what it feels like to play off a crowd, to feel applause in your whole body, to lose yourself in a moment for two hours, the intense camaraderie of backstage life, and the adrenaline, adrenaline, adrenaline.

And I have been peer-pressured to audition for the next show. It'll be another extreme scheduling and physical endurance challenge. But screw it. I am 40, and if Louis C.K. is right and each year will be worse than the one before, I'd better take advantage of the now. I won't be able to wear gold lame leggings and bustiers forever. But I DID. Maybe my grandchildren will be APPALLED some day.

And maybe someday I'll be like this awesome lady.

And with that. A Happy New Year to you all. May you find just the right momentum for all the insane lifts in life.

xoxo, A