• Emily Running

The Greatest Showman - First Rehearsal

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

I was recently hired for a new choreography gig and I'll be sharing the creative process with you here.

This gig came from a website called Gig Salad. It is a vocal performance studio doing a production of The Greatest Showman and the owner/director reached out to me to choreograph 7 numbers in their show. These are vocalists not dancers so what she actually asked for was "choralography".

Before this first rehearsal all I really knew were the names and ages of each of the performers (who range in age from 12 - 50) as well as how many people would be on stage for each piece. I decided to start with the big group Opening song to begin with so that I could get to know everyone's movement capacity before doing some of the duets and smaller pieces.

I spent about 5 hours in advance of rehearsal listening to the music, mapping out formations and coming up with choreography. The song is 5 minutes and while I had the full song mapped out, we only got to about 2.5 minutes of choreography in the 2.5 hour rehearsal we had scheduled.

The key to success with gigs like this is to go in with a solid idea and enough choreography to teach, while also remaining completely flexible. For example, before I even started rehearsal I had to adjust my plans when I learned that the stage dimensions were 8 x 16 ft! The 9 performers on stage nearly take up the entire stage without moving, so this proved to be a big challenge. So I roughly marked off the dimensions with shoes, and had to adjust the choreography along the way to make it work.

Also in gigs like this where I teach choreography in one or two rehearsals but don't work with the group much if at all after that, it's very helpful to video the work from the back for the performers to go back and reference after I leave. We do film from the front as well, but the reason to film from the back is because that's the performers perspective. If you try to learn choreography watching it from the front you will have to reverse it, which is difficult even for experienced dancers!

So, here is the video I have of the first rehearsal. More on this as it progresses :)