Day 4 AMTA on Broadway!

Posted: February 27, 2015 in New York

What a great day. Again with Alex and James, dancers extraordinaire.

Day 4 is dedicated to our student Marcelo who has quite a lot to say but all worthwhile.

Hey Ken! So here goes:

It’s insane how much I learnt these past 3 days. Day 1 there were 4 major lessons.

1) The difference between Broadway and the West End: while the Brits admire the internalized specificity of the thought, action and decisions of the actor, at the same time appreciating that one doesn’t need to move too much in an audition – the Americans go for physicality. I literally have a note that says: ‘In America, go for it!’ It’s not just in terms of figuring out the physicality of your character, but also about the amount of energy that you have to match on Broadway.

2) Speaking of specificity; it is so important! But, I learnt that it isn’t just the specifics of your decisions as an actor for your throughline in a monologue, scene or song. The same applies when you’re dancing! Specially when you’re dancing Bob Fosse! The details are what make his Choreographies really special!

3) NEVER underestimate the importance of the cut of your song in an audition. I used to think, I’ll just sing until they stop me… No! If they say 16 bars, find a decent cut that fits within 16-20 max (finishing a phrase is the priority of course) AND work your way backwards. Some practitioners don’t like it if you skip the beginning, so be mindful, but it is even worse if you cut the money note and/or the end of the song – I learnt the hard way.

4) Your rep folder should include a song from every style:
60’s – ‘Grease’
70’s – ‘Saturday Night Fever’
90’s – ‘Flashdance’
Disney Song – Newsies
Pop Song
Contemporary – ‘American Idiot’
20’s, 30’s, 40’s – Old School Musical Threatre
And so on…

Day 2 I learnt about major differences in terminology between British and American tap:

1) Tap Step (Britain) = Flap (America)
2) Flap (Britain) = Double Flap/Flare (America)
3) Pick-Up (Britain) = sometimes called a Spank (America)
4) In America a Stamp is when you put a flat foot down with your weight on it.
5) In America a Stomp is when you put a flat foot down but the weight is on the other leg.
6) In Britain a time-step starts with a tap step (flap), in America is starts with a Stomp.
7) The second difference between American and British time-steps is that American time-steps are syncopated.

Day 3 I learnt that during a high retiré, if your focus is on pushing down with your arms in a correct second position, instead of focusing on your ‘core muscles’ (i.e.: abs), you are so much more stable! It blew my mind! It makes you engage your laterals, which is as important as your abs during a a high retiré or pirouette. A second trick I learnt is that you can counter balance your weight with the opposite arm to the leg you’re lifting by simply stretching is out from your shoulders.

Awesome stuff! Worth trying out when you practice!

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