After always hoping to have the opportunity to visit New York for their amazing dance scene, this September I decided to take the trip across the pond and booked a trip for 9 days in the city. On arrival in NYC I got straight into Manhattan and within 6 hours of landing was at my first matinee Broadway show. ‘Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812’ is an incredible show, with a beyond multi-talented cast. Not only were they all highly skilled musical theatre triple threats; being talented dancers, actors and singers, but they also played an array of instruments, from violin, accordion, clarinet, trombone and guitar. I was overwhelmed by their clear abundance of talent during the show - which they performed in a 360 theatre, with no particular stage. They literally performed in and amongst the audience, something which I am familiar with from my performances at the Royal Albert Hall, and know requires one hundred percent commitment.
During my stay I also managed to win the Broadway Ticket Lottery, to see ‘Cats’ and ‘Anastasia’, both shows I was desperate to see during my stay in NYC. Cats was an absolute dream, a show I spent my childhood watching on video and have always adored the choreography of. To see this brought to life on a Broadway stage, with some of the most divine dancers I have ever seen was amazing. Zachary Downer who played Mister Mistoffelees was a stand out performer for me, his technique was flawless and he oozed style with every move he made. Anastasia, was another great performance, very Disney - but magical and again very talented performers, including the ensemble who were not only great musical theatre performers, but also talented classical dancers. The ‘Ballet scene’ saw Allison Walsh previous ‘Joffrey Ballet’ and ‘American in Paris’ performer take the limelight with her stunning classical performance as the white swan. All of the shows which I saw highlighted one thing for me; the need for versatility as a performer in musical theatre. Having the ability to pull out your tap shoes, or pointe shoes, or indeed a musical instrument, and how the requirements of performers are growing all the time.
Whilst in New York, I took classes at Broadway Dance Center, The Joffrey Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. At BDC I took Commercial Jazz, Contemporary Lyrical and Jazz, at The Joffrey I took a Ballet class, and at Alvin Ailey I took Horton Technique. My Class at Alvin Ailey was the class which I was most inspired by as the style was new to me, and was challenging but also suited me as a dancer. It combines modern and contemporary styles, and the accompaniment was live drumming and percussion, which really suited the style and was very motivating. A lot of strength is required for Horton technique, in the torso and upper body, so the focus on core exercises and gaining strength in the sides of the body really helps to build this. I hope to go back to NYC and attend more classes at Alvin Ailey soon.
Besides my dancing adventures during my trip, I also managed to find time for all the usual site seeing in NYC, including cycling at Central Park, the Empire State Building, Chelsea Market, walking the High Line, The Rockefeller Center, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, catching the Ferry to Staten Island and seeing the Statue of Liberty. New York is one of my favourite cities which I have visited, and can’t wait to go back and visit again to take more dance classes, experience even more of the amazing city, and eat more of their delicious pancakes!