Glenn Wilkinson (Associate Choreographer) described how he had been inspired while in Africa to change the accent of the dances by using a different beat to begin the dance and add a pause to the routine for an added extra wow factor. He explained that there were over 90 different routines throughout the show and described how he and Jacquie Biggs (Assistant Choreographer) had spent two weeks teaching the choreographed steps such as the "sunbed" and "koala" to the cast.
The cast rehearse for 5 hours every day for 4/5 months and then in the final two weeks before the show opens they run the technical rehearsals. This process is almost as fast paced as the demonstration by Jacquie Biggs and Tim Hodges.
In a Q&A session Glenn explained the progression from auditioning to the technical rehearsal. He detailed how over 2,000 people had auditioned and how they had narrowed them down to three times the total cast (26 cast members). This enabled them to have a first, second and third choice for each part.
During the master class we were given the opportunity to learn a short routine. We were then split in to three groups and we all had a chance to show off our sexy mambotastic styles. Once we had all shown our "unique" dance moves. Jacquie and Tim took to the floor and demonstrated a fantastic, high energy dance to "I'm a love man" and we were asked to pinpoint the aptly named "sunbed" and "koala" moves.
Jacquie and Tim described the parts that they had played in the show and on occasions they had been asked to understudy someone during a show due to injury. They explained they always had to be ready to play the different roles within the show: Jacquie having played, Penny, and baby with Tim having understudied and played the parts of Johnny, Mr Kellerman and Mr Schumacher.
I found the evening very informative and a brilliant lead up to the forthcoming tour of Dirty Dancing. I could have stayed there all night listening to Glenn, Jacquie and Tim about the show and the training they had done. Having watched the production last year and being fortunate enough to have attended this masterclass I cannot wait to see the show again this year.
Dirty Dancing is at the Palace Theatre from 21 May - 15 June.
- Louise Braine