Friday, 6 February 2015

Guest Blog: Bring It On The Musical rehearsal diary

Sarah Flinton
You might be wondering "How does a bunch of drama school students pull off a mash-up of big new show tunes and impressive cheerleading stunts?" Well look no further for your answer!

Follow us third years at Performance Preparation Academy, alongside our director Chris Howell and choreographer Louise Pieri, as we rehearse for the UK drama school premiere of 'Bring It On: The Musical'.

When our year were told our third year shows we were all so enthusiastic about the prospect of doing such a new show. With the excitement though came the panic... American cheerleaders train from about four years old to be able to do what they do. All of my year are over 18 and had never lifted a pom pom before, let alone attempted to throw people in the air. So it was a pretty big ask, but everyone seemed ready for this crazy challenge.

With the parts all allocated on day one we went straight into workshopping the bigger ensemble numbers. The show is based on the teenage life of 'Campbell', the popular blonde cheerleader who gets sent to a different school where she finds it hard to fit in. The two schools couldn't be more different; Truman is the upper class preppy Beverly Hills-esque high school, whereas Jackson is what could only be described as the 'ghetto' school. We have to successfully convince the audience that our Surrey based student selves are cool and 'street'. 

What better way to discover how cool we all are than to have a dance-off with the entire cast. Our choreographer Louise told us all to watch YouTube and learn some hip hop moves and then show everyone. The only dance I had ever learnt from YouTube before was a Miley Cyrus dance, back in the days when she used to be an innocent Disney star. So yes, I was thrown out of my comfort zone, searching YouTube for 'how to look cool at hip hop' and 'break dancing for beginners'. 

The Bring It On cast in rehearsals
After attempting to copy Beyonce's 'love on top' dance I went to college the next morning praying that maybe this dance-off would be forgotten about. But oh no... We got in one big circle and one by one stepped in and revealed our inner street dancing skills. However much any of us were nervous about this, it turned out to be hysterically fun and everyone just threw themselves out there and took part. 

Now when you come and see the show in just over a month's time, look out for some of the Jackson choreography that actually originated from this very freestyle circle.

Now onto the cheer stunts... Where to start?! I've been following a Californian cheer team called 'All Star Smoed' for over a year now and the stunts they throw are literally terrifying. The scariest part is that they have no-one over the age of 18 in their squad. 

From day one we all needed to get stronger and fast. And the only way this was determined to be possible was to do a one hour insanity based warm up at 8am every day before rehearsals. Yes it sounds mad, but yes we are still doing these disgustingly sweaty warm ups every morning. It's like we've got to make up for the years we haven't been cheerleading in this short rehearsal time. 

The first few days were the toughest, I was coming home and needing to do work but collapsing instead. Where I work part time must find me hilarious at the moment as well; if I'm not saying some part of my body hurts then I'm behind the bar dancing around and singing about how "Truman girls are superhuman girls".

Now we're into the first week of rehearsals and the cheers are getting harder, the dancing is getting fiercer and the singing is sounding pretty fit if I do say so myself. Now my fellow third years and I are literally living Bring It On... So let's see where the rest of the rehearsal process takes us...

Sarah Flinton 

Bring It On The Musical is staged at the Electric Theatre in Guildford between 5th and 7th March 2015.

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