Now, I’ve had a few showgirls ask me what my pre-show regime entails. Well, to really explore this, we have to start at the beginning.
One month before the show: This is usually when I get booked. So, with nearly 30 days to prep, I think to myself how lucky I am to have so much valuable time. Usually at this point I have pitched a song for the act in question. So, I listen to it on repeat, until I feel like if I hear it one more time, my ears will start bleeding. And I think: What would Gracie Do? Then I come up with a story arch for the song. And plant some joke seeds.
Two weeks and 3 days before the show: I write up my Iva Handful inspired musical spreadsheet. It details all the musical hits, when they happen, what the lyric is, and what I expect to happen. Don’t be fooled- this is tedious work. It takes a lot of listening for flute solos and drum hits; being in touch with how the song naturally makes you move. But it pays off when you step away and actually start working it. A strong foundation is very important when you’re building your dream act.
Two weeks before the show: My costume is designed. Notice the italics. This means that I’ve picked the pieces. And made a list of those missing elements & necessary embellishments. Then I spend 2 days straight stitching, pasting and forcing all these parts into a cohesive costume. Then my Hubby gives me a lecture about how all the crafting items don’t need to be strewn across all the flat surfaces in our condo. I sigh, cuz I’ve heard it all before; put my headphones into my ears, and listen to that song again…and again as I clean and tidy. While I’m focused on the swiffer and wiping the mirror, I imagine my costume coming apart just right. **NOTE: This step has to happen a lot sooner for Showgirls relying on the kindness of strangers to build their costume. Luckily, I am a crafty little dancer.
One week before the show: Everything is ready, except me. I have run my act according to my spreadsheet. Now, I mod it. Of course, there are moments that just don’t work. Writing something down in Excel and executing it in real life are two very different things. The confines of time and space are the natural enemy of the dream act, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goal another way. Modifications are a showgirls’ BFF. And I still have time to rejig all those moments to fit. This is also when costume flaws are fixed. The music I’d started hating has become my theme song. And I find myself running choreo at the bus stop and giggling when I realize another joke I planted has grown strong.
Two days before the show: I decide that this is the worst concept I’ve ever come up with. That nobody is going to understand it, let alone like it. I hate everything about it.
The day before the show: I wake up early stretch and figure that yesterday I was wrong about everything and that I couldn’t be that bad, and even if everything goes horribly, horribly awry, I’m Gracie Klutz…and that’s kinda my thang. I give everything a once over. This is my last chance to get that shit tight. I make sure every stone is stuck. Every seam is sewn. And then I run it 4 more times -in show shoes-, before packing my showgirl bag- with checklist- in costume chronological order. ( Meaning from bottom layer up: ie: panties & pasties, stockings, bra..etc)
SHOW DAY: I pretend that my tummy is upset cuz I drank too much coffee. I pace and mark it in my mind. I tear my showgirl bag apart and re-pack it. Then double check it again. Again. I leave early for the venue cuz you can’t rely on TTC to be timely. I arrive way too early. Run tech. Then I wait. There’s this long time between getting there and going on, so I pretend to be totally fine as I pace backstage. And I wait some more.
Performer Before Me: I hear the audience and think I can’t match that reaction. And forget how to breathe for a minute.
During My Intro: I stand in the wings. Straightening myself again and again. I hear my name. The host runs past me and I am alone and dizzy.
My Music Starts: Then I lose myself for 3 mins. I make myself laugh. I move through my dream act. With those movements and emotions I’ve planned. And maybe a few I didn’t.
The Music Ends: Then it’s over until next time. Unless you count working the crowd as part of your act, but I like it too much to think of it as work.
Rinse, Repeat to FADE or Infinity: I plan, pitch and proceed with my next act.
So, that’s how I do it. Did that help anyone, besides me and my OCD Showgirl brain? I sure hope so, cuz that was the plan. And I like to execute my plans. So, consider this plan on death row. And see you Feb 5th @ The Rivoli- Toronto*
*Side note: Throughout this entire process, I am promoting my show on all my social media- like a good little showgirl. Cuz what’s a show without an audience?