Dance the Tool, Be the Tool!

toolsI know how to choreograph a killer dance sequence. I’ve done it thousands of times, so often I could do it in my sleep, and sometimes I just wake up having had a fabulous dream and it’s all just there in my head. That’s just my natural flair for drama, allowing me to actually, truly choreograph in my sleep. I impress even myself!

But getting the dancers to do what I want? That’s another matter entirely. Some do their kicks and flips well enough, but put an object in their hand or have them dance on a slope and suddenly it all falls apart. One of my musical numbers has a group of workmen wielding Melbourne’s finest aluminium toolboxes, to properly illustrate the exciting and dynamic life of a workman. They travel from place to place, fixing what needs fixing…ah, not where my OWN talents lie, but perhaps I could’ve been on that path if things had been different. The closest I can get is properly representing them in this massive dance number, which will open the show. I want them to come out all holding toolboxes, like proper workmen. Apart from the challenge of getting the dancers to embrace the toolboxes like their own children, just like an actual tradesperson, they do have trouble with the bulk. The way I see it, this is a relatively simple task. And yet, when I instruct them to take their toolboxes and perform a normal series of eight pirouettes, they all tumble across the stage like they’ve been caught in a hurricane. I feel like I’m trying to win a game of chess with half of my pieces missing, and at this rate it won’t be ready in time. I get up there and show them, but none of them have my grace!

The only option is to replace the toolboxes with things that the audience will recognise as tools. Aluminium accessories, the front bumper of a ute, anything to let people know that these people do physical labour. Oh, you just work with what you’ve got…