The theatre house lights are on. Six dancers are on stage running a difficult dance number under the watchful eye of Heather Clark-Warner.
“Send it!” Clark-Warner calls over the Little Shop of Horrors broadway musical song ‘You never know’. A dancer quickly turns out of a pivot and runs in an oval around the stage, fellow dancers in tow.
As with most musical theatre, Clark-Warner’s choreography and dance is a vital part of Little Shop of Horrors.
“I first need the script. I need to see what the show is about then I need to hear the music,” Clark-Warner says of her choreography procedure.
“I love seeing the process,” she says. “I love putting [my movement] on other dancers and seeing them take it to the stage.”
Kaisy Wheeler, one of the main dancers, started dancing in heels yesterday.
“They hurt like a bitch,” she said. “And they’re cushioned so they shouldn’t hurt, but they still do.”
“Going into Stage 32, never knowing how to dance, and then all of a sudden doing all this,” said Jacob Lane, “it’s kind of difficult, I’ll admit.”
With nine dances in the show, the dancers must push themselves. Physically with the movement and singing as well as mentally, remembering their choreography.
“I think the hardest part is not learning the dance,” Lane said, “but remembering the blocking for the dance once things have changed.”
After ingraining the choreography into their bodies one way, the dancers must fight their first instinct and remember the new steps. For example, a dance with four pivots might turn into three and a pause. The small change is difficult to remember, especially while jumping and keeping steady breath control.
Both Clark-Warner and director Erin Galligan-Baldwin have mentioned that the other can change their blocking at any time.
“We’re in constant communication,” Clark said. “It all has to weave together to make a story.”