So my daughter has had her opening panto performances for this year. Oh yes she has!
As ever, the rehearsal period just flew by – two weeks of after school and Saturday rehearsals, followed by a week of longer rehearsals, including the two days of eight hour tech rehearsals. This year we even saw the addition of Sunday rehearsals, as it looked like things weren’t progressing as quickly as they should. But, by the dress rehearsal, it was all looking good.
The nature of being in the chorus is that sometimes you get opening night and sometimes you don’t (as there are two choruses). And this year my daughter didn’t get it. Usually that would mean your opening performance is a 10am schools’ performance, but this year the theatre went with some Sunday shows. So while the other team got one Saturday evening performance, my daughter’s opening performance was on a Sunday afternoon – followed by a Sunday evening.
She was very excited on the morning. As was I. She did her make-up and got her hair plaited and sprayed. This year, for the first time ever, it was one plait rather than two.
Ideally, I would have liked to see her first performance, but Sunday afternoons are all about my son’s football – and my husband’s coaching. So went for her second performance in the evening – my husband, sons and I.
I’ve seen quite a few of her dances at home when she’s been practising in the kitchen. I know what songs she’s been dancing to. I’ve even watched through the window of the rehearsal venue. But nothing is quite as good as seeing the finished product on stage – complete with costumes and sets.
The opening number is always a highlight. It’s just the sheer excitement of seeing her on stage for the first time. She’s always looked very good on stage, but now she’s the second oldest on the chorus, so she really stands out in terms of both her size and her ability. She looks very, very good. Her moves are perfect and her face is perfect. She smiles when she’s supposed to smile, looks sad when she’s supposed to look sad and looks shocked when she’s supposed to look shocked.
She’d told me her main costume was awful, but it really wasn’t. I saw one or two of the girls have to discreetly pull their trousers up a couple of times. Another thing with having two choruses is having to share a costume with the child in the other chorus who is most similar in size to you – and sometimes they’re actually not that similar at all!
This year, the chorus were on stage little and often. After the big opening dance, there were a lot of short dances. My daughter (who has timed this carefully) said they were on stage approximately every seven minutes! Which for a chorus parent is perfect. Of course the panto itself is very funny and well worth a watch anyway, but it’s nice to see my daughter regularly.
It felt like this year the dances were easier, but maybe that’s just because my daughter is so much older and it comes so much more easily now? She’d told me that a couple of the younger ones were struggling with the routines – to the extent that she had to remember all the positions for one girl, so she could remind her just before they went on stage every time. She says this is a weird thing about being one of the oldest ones, because she remembers clearly when the older girls were helping her like this.
There was a brief ballet dance, which was beautiful – I know my daughter’s teacher will love it when she sees it. And there was a fabulous UV scene, where the girls’ costumes glowed in the dark as they danced across the stage.
I felt like I couldn’t always see the chorus that well, as my daughter seemed to always be stuck behind a main cast member. In the original choreography of the opening number, she was front and centre, and seemed to be dancing the lead. But when the main cast were integrated into the dance, she almost disappeared altogether. No doubt I will get a better view if I sit elsewhere next time.
So that’s two performances down and approximately 26 still to go. There will be a few days of crazy schools’ performances, before getting on to the packed auditoriums of the real Christmas period. My daughter loved her first performance and so did I.
I can’t wait to see it again! And I know from past experience that I will love it more and more every time I see it. Oh yes, I will!