This is a long post, so be warned!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved the performing arts. Dance, music, theatre. At some point in my life, I’ve been involved in all three. I love them all, and it’s the performing arts I have to thank for having the confidence to get onstage! So here’s a (sort of?) brief overview of my history in dance, music and drama.
At the 2008 Showstoppers East Coast National Competition at Myrtle Beach.
I’ve been dancing since I was two. I started with ballet at the local dance and modelling studio my mom went to for modelling classes when she was my age. Later on, I started tap as well. This past year, I took lyrical, tap, ballet and jazz. When I was about seven, I was recommended for the pre-competitive jazz team. That year, I started with pre-comp, and now, eight years later, I’ve competed around 20 times in Toronto, New York, Myrtle Beach and Anaheim. Thanks to dance, I found my passion of being onstage and performing. After 13 years of dance, I never have to worry about being nervous when I’m onstage and the centre of attention.
I’ve played four instruments in my life (not very well, I might add). Instrumental music isn’t quite my strong suit, but it’s never stopped me from trying. I can barely count this, but when I was in grade one, for about four months I took recorder lessons every Wednesday for half an hour at 3:30. A recorder is that little squeaky front ways flute looking thing. I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it. However, needless to say, I’m not the recorder prodigy my family planned me to be. When I was about 10 or 11, I started taking piano lessons from one of my mom’s students. I kind of liked piano, but halfway through my mastery of piano (yeah…. right), my instructor went to college. So that was the end of piano for me. I still know a bit, but not very much. In grade nine, I took a huge leap of faith, and took a music class. I really wanted to play the saxophone. And I did. Tenor saxophone, and all I’m going to say is I am lucky to have passed the class. I actually really enjoyed it, but music theory and reading music was not a strength I had. At the beginning of grade 10, I really wanted to learn the ukulele. I still want to. I love the way it sounds and I love the fact I can buy a pink one. Unfortunately, I love having long manicured nails, and most instruments don’t go well with that, especially my little ukulele.
Drama and Theatre
Ahhh theatre. I love theatre. I first fell in love with theatre when I saw Fiddler on the Roof at the Stratford Festival a few years ago. When I started high school, I knew I wanted to be involved with the musicals. Unfortunately, the rehearsals would interfere with my dance classes, so I didn’t audition for either grade nine or grade 10.
Our group shot for Sears.
At the end of grade nine, I heard an announcement about auditions for the Sears Festival plays my school would be doing. There were two plays being put on, a student written original and another one that would be a cast collective. So a friend and I put our names on the audition list for the latter of the two, and showed up to the first of two auditions. Just let me say, it was awful. I had never actually acted before that, so it was a whole new experience. I hated it, but for some reason I still really wanted to be chosen. The next day, the callback list was up, and my name was on it! My friend didn’t get through, but she was happy about that since during the audition she realized acting was not something she wanted to do. I went to the callbacks, and hoped for the best. About a week later, the list was up. I was super nervous to look, but I scanned the list, and my name was there. I couldn’t wait to be apart of something like that.
Before going onstage at Sears.
The next school year, for six hectic months, the cast and our amazing student director and stage manager worked our butts off so we would be able to perform at the District Sears Festival. We originally started with a collective called “7 Deadly Sins” and then we started a new one titled “Masked”, which was about insecurities and overcoming them. Around two months from opening night, we were given a whole new script, “Skin” by Dennis Foon, about racism in Canada. I was given the role of Jennifer, a Jamaican teen who had to face a racist teacher. We worked hard with that, and about a month from opening night, we had to be given a new version of the script. So this meant mostly different scenes, whole new characters and new monologues. And yet another wrench, two weeks before opening night, one of our main characters dropped out. Most of us were given new roles, thank god I wasn’t one of those people, but I did have new lines to learn either way. My new role was actually a native girl named Karen, who still had the racist teacher to deal with.
About to give our final bow.
When opening night came, we were all surprised we actually pulled it off. A week or so later was Sears, and we had our best performance that night. We didn’t move on to the next festival, but we were all still so happy with how we did and everything we accomplished. With as much that went wrong (you just got an overview), we still did amazing. It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to audition for next years play!
Kudos to those who read this whole post! I hope you come back 😉
With lots of love,
Aleria (aka Karen)