Friday, December 16, 2011

today's a good day for a chester story

years ago, when i was a happy 18 years old,
when the most upsetting thing in my life was possibly that i worked at DQ till ten on the weekend sometimes

i had one of the best Christmas experiences of my life.

Basically, i was captain of the drill team for three years, had dance drill team since junior high.
i loved it.
i spent weeks in a constant creative cycle, creating new dance moves, teaching them, organizing/arranging dancers, raising funds for all our work and costumes, working hard to promote team morale. i mean, i wasn't perfect, but i took the job very seriously.

senior year, i stepped down.
i had to.
theatre took ahold of my life, and i wasn't willing to commit full-season to drill team when it conflicted with theatre season, as it did, then.

so i switched gears.

the drill team still rocked.
they had a new captain, strong direction, and they put on winter talent shows that were super cool.
i was asked to be in it.

people are very supportive in my hometown.
they came to shows to see me dance.
so i was a draw, and i was happy to be one.

i decided that was the year i'd tap dance.
so i did.
i selected the revamped "Nutcracker Suite" from Elf, and edited it on a cassette tape in my bedroom to fit my time constraints.
And then I choreographed it.

It was pretty good.
Pretty okay, with me in it.
I mean, I was a meh-tap dancer at that point in my life.
Like anything, getting by mostly on the joy and the connection to the moment.
But i knew the routine needed a little something extra, a little something "adorable."
something a little more "Chester," if you will.

so i plotted.
and saved.
and choreographed.
and taught.

i bought black sweatpants and red fabric paint.
i bought a red turtleneck and black fabric paint.

i painted a long, red stripe up the side of each pant leg.
i painted suspenders and bright, yellow buttons on the red turtleneck.

i made a nutcracker hat out of styrofoam and secured it to a baseball cap.
and i painted two bright red, rosy circles on Chester's adorable cheeks.

and suddenly, my spotlight tap solo become a scene-stealing duet.
Chester COMPLETELY stole the show.

We worked it out pretty easily.
Basically, as a tap dancer, my character spends the first 3/4 of the song dancing away her imagination.
About 3/4 of the way into it, a soldier appears! Comes marching out from the curtains and demonstrates "appropriate" rigorous motions.
My character counters with jazzy, funky movements.
The soldier runs to my feet, pointing and scolding. "NO TAP DANCING," he seems to say.
I continue to tap anyway.
At this point in the music, all hell breaks loose and what was our respective tones combine into a beautiful mess.

I basically told Chester to just let loose in this part of the music

he went nutso!
and the crowd went wild!
At this point, I'm 18, so he's five, and more adorable than you would know what to do with.
I mean, i could be cool all by myself,
but man, oh man,
there is NOTHING
like watching a five year old completely steal the scene.

Way to go, Chester! Way to GO! :)

see more great chester posts:

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