On Friday December 2nd, I had to make a judgement call to bring in a replacement dancer to cover Derick McKoy, Jr, after learning of his sickness. It was a tough call to make, considering the concert was just three days away. Erring on the side of caution was the best measure; however, and so within a few short hours and after a few phone calls, I found a new dancer to cover Derick’s role. Thankfully, I was in the know of this new dancer and he was ready, willing and able to be a quick study.
And quick study he was! It was the day before the show, and DaJuan Foley jumped in with full gusto, and within two hours, learned the whole piece! Unbelievable! I was with Payton, the female dancer, and DaJuan the whole day, as after the rehearsal we quickly jumped in a cab and got to our tech rehearsal at the Aliey Center where we went into the early evening — whirlwind!! Our tech ran smoothly and the dancers felt pretty good, albeit exhausted. We planned on one more rehearsal the following day before the show. OMG!! No stress here!
With our last rehearsal Sunday the 4th during the day, we were able to whip up a fairly decent run through, though I barely got through giving notes before we were called to stage for ten whole minutes of last minute spacing. I sent the dancers home for a few short hours after that to gather their wits, and then we met up that evening for the concert. Needless to say, I was a tad nervous, mostly about getting the sewing done on the costumes last minute. Relief came when the dancers were dressed and I saw the costumes were going to function properly. I hugged them, and as I do before every show, I bestowed the piece to them — it’s now yours… go make magic on stage, I said!
And, magic they did make! From the moment they stepped onto to the stage, I was blown away by their beauty. Good things come in small packages, as both dancers stand just a wee bit over five feet tall! It was so fun looking at them eye-to-eye while working together! Magically, their statures appeared to look larger on stage — a comment I often got in my professional dancing years. The immense joy I felt as they took their final bow, made all the last minute changes worthwhile. I Will Show You An Ocean, had its second run on the Ailey Citigroup Stage — this time on the festival bill of the American Dance Guild, for which I was so honored. These two talented dancers are sure to be turning heads for years to come!
Feature Images by Robin Michals