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Rehearsing “Madeleine”: A Personal Story of Hope | Americans for the Arts

By Margaret Weisbrod Morris on November 28, 2018

A few weeks ago, a Lawrence Arts Center School of Dance staff member popped into my office to say hello. A few minutes into it, I realized her real reason for stopping in: they needed someone to be a walk-on in the fall production of Madeleine put on by our pre-professional company, Lawrence Ballet Theatre. They’d exhausted all other options. They were clearly desperate. On the table was a very minor role, “Parisian Mother with Purse” — a small but key part that sets the scene for important dance sequences in an early scene. Assured that it was simply a walk-on, with no dance experience required, I said yes. Sure, I am a visual artist with really no performance experience … but how hard could it be? I can floss, do the spaghetti AND a mean running man. Parisian Mother? Yes please, for the leopard accessory potential alone. And really, I’m just walking on. I’ve got this.

That first rehearsal? Let’s just say this: I felt like I was losing a real-life game of Frogger. With ballerinas instead of cars. It was nearly impossible for me to get from the stage entrance to my mark without tripping or causing injury. Oh, and by the way: it wasn’t just a walk -on. I had to “step-brush” four times. Four. Times. To music. I have never felt so clumsy, slow, and incompetent in my life. I was more than a fish out of water. I was a fish in outer space. Embarrassed, I slumped offstage avoiding eye contact, and snuck out of rehearsal.

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