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"ONE HOUR WITH BILLY SIEGENFELD AND JUMP RHYTHM WILL NOT ONLY CHANGE THE WAY YOU VIEW THE WORLD, IT WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF. BILLY CAN GET A STONE TO DANCE WITH A FULL SPIRIT."

JEANNE HERRICK, SENIOR LECTURER, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

before-wedgeSinging in Rhythm

Singing in Rhythm

As a part of our historic revival of “No Way Out” for JUMP RHYTHM®’s 25th Anniversary, we are recreating all 3 sections of the dance for the first time in my 8 year tenure with the company.  I usually find the movement aspect of performing my biggest challenge, as I wasn’t originally a dancer.  But as the years have gone by, I’ve found ways into the movement using the technique, and been able to overcome the obstacles I initially had with learning new movement.  In our methodical rehearsal process, we sing the rhythm, learn the weight shifts and then do the movement phrases.  I’m always gently eased into the new portions, since I can make the strongest connection with the rhythm. For “No Way Out,” I was surprised to learn my new difficulty would be with something I had never felt challenged by, singing.

I’ve been singing for about as long as I can remember, and always felt pretty capable in that medium.  I was not very melodically musical when I began, but with lessons and hard work, I feel like I’ve gained a certain aptitude for vocal music.  I continued that learning by getting my certificate in Music Theater while attending Northwestern, where I was put through a rigorous series of lessons, classes, tutorials and auditions.  But I’ve never had to work harder, or learn more quickly than I have during the singing in “No Way Out.”  In the second section of the dance,  a trio of snarky performers runs out to mock the over-the-top enthusiasm of the first section, Broadway.  My personal challenge lay in that the material had to be rhythmically sharp, pitch accurate, but emotionally based.  My tendency to let my naturally loud voice get away from me was immediately apparent.  The ear I thought I had developed through years of training was unfortunately and obviously inadequate.  My sense of timing, while still pretty good, fell short of what I needed to make small short bursts of rhythm within the gentle swinging feel of Diana Kroll’s music.

The struggle continues in rehearsal, but as with most challenges, I love the opportunity to push myself further as a singer, actor and musician.  As we’ve begun to run the full show in rehearsal, the moment I’m most nervous about is the 2nd section of this revival. That being said, each run is a little better, each note a little closer, and each rhythm a little more in time.  It’s a great chance to grow a skill I had felt complacent about for so long.  If you’d like to see the final product (we’re going to do it justice, I promise!), please join us for our show the last two weeks of October at Stage 773.  In addition to “No Way Out,” we’ll be reviving and remounting full versions of several JUMP RHYTHM® classics.  You won’t want to miss it, so get your tickets today!

Thanks for reading,

Kevin

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