why I love working with dancers

men in circle

It’s true. I love working with dancers.

They’re humble, they’re prepared, they’re disciplined, they’re always working at improving themselves, they’re punctual, they’re both obedient and creative (e.g., if given a bit of blocking), and, frankly, they’re beautiful to look at.

Taylor Mac had this to say:

In my play The Lily’s Revenge the third act is dance theater. Its premiere in New York, at the HERE Arts Center, was my first time working with a group of dancers (as opposed to actors who move or musical theater performers). They flabbergasted me. They were so… professional. I’d show up twenty minutes early to have quiet time before rehearsal and they’d already be warmed up, focused, and privately working on their roles (I want to write a full-length dance theater play because I love working with that level of professionalism). I had to ask myself why all these actors I’ve worked with, whether paid appropriately or not, and regardless of the status of the venue, show up late, rarely remember their blocking from the day before, and wait until tech week to get off book. Why aren’t they as disciplined as the dancers? I have a couple theories.

Gotcha! I do indeed love working with dancers, but there’s more to this method than my madness.

I’m continually asking other directors and playwrights how they get their actors to pay attention, to show up on time (if at all), to have the wonderful fun of rehearsing off-book while there’s still time to play. I’m not referring to many of the terrific folks here in the Land of Cleve, but I am referring to some. Yes, I said it, and will likely be vilified for that but you know, if the shoe fits, take a walk in it, and if it doesn’t, well, you know that it doesn’t so please don’t go getting upset.

Want to read the rest of Mr Mac’s very good column? Go here.  And yes, this is a bit of a response to my previous column.  As he says, if we the “creative team” have the opportunity to work with actors as co-creators rather than hired help, we all benefit.


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