Friday, July 31, 2009

Junior Blogger Signs Off

Today was the last day of the summer intensive RBK program. I just have to say, "It's over already?" These four weeks have flown by impossibly fast; it feels like we were just starting yesterday. I said goodbye to all of the level D kids at two in the afternoon, and to everyone else after the performance. I didn't even experience half of the nerves before my solo as yesterday, and I don't think there were any mistakes (if there were, I sure didn't notice them). Before our show today we had a great rehearsal. Instead of just running all of the pieces over and over again, this is what we did. First, (for the example I use the three Matchmaker girls) the girls performed their piece. Then, each girl in Matchmaker chose someone who was not in that piece to replace them. The original girls stood at the piano and sang, while the replacements mouthed the words and did the choreography. This was a game to test how well everyone was paying attention when other acts were being rehearsed. My favorite replacements were for my song, I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta my Hair. I chose a boy to replace me, and the two backup singers chose boys, also. To make it less painful for the boys, we changed the lyrics to I'm Gonna Wash that Girl Right Outta my Hair. It was funny watching them do the girly choreography. After the show we all handed in our shoes and leotards (if we had borrowed them from RBK), cleaned out our lockers, and said goodbye to everybody.

I have to say goodbye to you, too, because this was my last blog entry. Goodbye!

Her First Solo

Today was our second to last show (and this is my penultimate blog entry, also), and I think that it was a resounding success. Of course, there were a few mistakes, speeding up too much in part of our tap piece, but overall we sang well, tapped well, and acted well (as you know, singing and dancing are half acting). I was in the South Pacific song I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta my Hair, and I sang my first solo. I don't remember a thing about how I did in the song; I was so nervous that I forgot what I had just done (that happens to a lot of people). We have only one more show; Friday is the last day of the RBK summer intensive. :(

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tee Party

The group B kids attended a tee party today from two to three this afternoon. No, I did not mean to say tea, as in the hot beverage made in a kettle, but tee, as in tee-shirt. A friendly woman named Megan (pronounced Mee-gan) showed us how to transform old, unwanted, or too big tee-shirts into fashionable items of clothing that we would wear every day. None of us sewed a stitch; we just cut and tied the fabric. Megan demonstrated several techniques on the art of tee-shirt transformation, and then we each got our own shirt and started to work. This hour-long class was especially helpful because all of us have several oversize RBK tee-shirts that are too big or baggy to wear anywhere. Now I can make my shirt into a halter top, a hat, a tank top, or even a pair of fingerless gloves! I made a halter, but the shirt was still too baggy so I cut and tied fringe, creating a fancy back and a more fitted tee at the same time. It was a fun class, and then we went and had rehearsal.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The First Performance

Our first performance of the summer was today! It was the special performance for Rosie's friends and present/future donors to RBK. It was a big pressure knowing that all of these famous people would be watching us, but instead of detracting from our performance, we danced and sang better than before! This being an exclusive performance, it wasn't the same as the ones on Thursday and Friday are going to be. Group B only sang/danced to Show People from Curtains, Group C tapped to a song from Ain't Misbehaving, four C girls sang What's New at the Zoo, and two B girls sang Stepsisters Lament. We were a sort of opening to the show, and after us group A performed excerpts from their original musical. It used to be called Nothing Will Ever be the Same, but they changed the name and now it's called My Life: Today. The audience seemed to like us, which is always a plus, and no one made any blaring mistakes. Yay! :) Only two (I think) more performances left. Aw. :(

Monday, July 27, 2009

All the World's a Stage

Last Friday was a special day for group C. Our new building is right next to a popular park that has a wide concrete space that could be viewed as a performing space. All of group C (and me, group B) went to the park on Friday, and the Cs performed two of their pieces for a rather large crowd of children. Before their little show, Thecla, one of our teachers, ran them through a body and voice warm-up, and the audience was invited to join in. Everyone was excited to see a TV camera arrive at the park, so the Cs performed with even more gusto than usual. One of their songs was Sun in the Morning, from Annie Get Your Gun, and another, a tap piece, was set to music from Ain't Misbehavin'. It was hard to hear the tapping because they were wearing tennis shoes and dancing on concrete, but they looked and sounded professional. I have heard rumors from other students that Rosie O'Donnell herself may be coming to visit us, but that is not a fact so don't get too excited. Goodbye for now! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

One Week To Go!

There is only one more week left of the RBK summer intensive! :( My group has learned many songs and dances during the past three weeks. We have a complicated tap dance and song for Sun in the Morning (from Annie Get Your Gun), another song and dance (but not with tap shoes) to Show People from the musical Curtains, and we are singing the well known song Happiness. Two B girls are sing Stepsisters Lament from Cinderella, two B boys are singing Side By Side, 3 girls are singing Matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof, and two girls and I are singing I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair from South Pacific. We're all a little nervous about the smaller group songs because this is the first time (for most of us) we have had to sing with only one or two other people. Our first performance is next week on Thursday, and we have another one on Friday. Yay!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The annual RBK walkathon was today! Every kid participating in the walkathon (groups A and B) raises money by asking people to sponsor them. This helps raise money for RBK, which is a non-profit program. I just found out recently that the amount of money it takes to send one kid through a whole year of Rosie's Broadway Kids is 10,000 dollars! And none of the kids have to pay anything, so it's nice to pay back a little with the walkathon. Usually we walk around Central Park, but this year we went to the High Line, an above-ground park. It was really nice because you were higher than the streets and there were lots of flowers and grasses that you don't really see in New York City. Of course, today had to be sweltering, so when we got back to our building everyone sighed with pleasure at the feel of air-conditioning. We got a sweet surprise on the roof of our building after the walk: popsicles! The walkathon is always fun because we sing all of our old and current RBK songs and raise money at the same time!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Study Room

The study room in our new building is packed with members of the B team from one to two in the afternoon. Our classes start at two, and a lot of us arrive early to use the brand new Macs. Some people watch DVDs from the building's collection. Of course there are only musicals, like Grease, The Music Man, and more. There is also a program called photo booth on the computer that basically takes pictures through a webcam. On this computer alone, there are 319 photos! The small library is kept in this room, also, and there are several plays and a whole binder of monologues on the shelves. Of course there are DVDs of musicals, and there are several books about theatre. Time flies quickly in here, so our study room has a clock in it. There is also a schedule on the wall. I think that this is the favorite room in RBK!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day One (Again!)

A whole new group D has arrived today to start their two weeks of RBK summer intensive. Today’s warm-up time was used to fit ballet shoes, shorten jazz pants, and locate missing dancewear. Of course, the boys were dismayed to learn that they had to take ballet every day, and the girls had difficulty putting on tights for the first time. In ballet class, all of the basics were covered, and some of the D groupers’ arches were surprisingly high during the releves. I joined in on their drama class, also, where they learned how to project their voice. I watched the D boys start to write their own acting piece for the final performance, and some of its components were skydiving, chocolate milk filled pools, and boys named Tea Biscuit. No major dramas have occurred today, and all of the missing dancewear has been located. Success!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Everybody Cut Footloose!

Yesterday was the final performance for group D. Group D only gets two weeks of Rosie’s Broadway Kids, unlike groups A, B, and C. A whole new group D will start RBK on Monday. Anyway, I got to watch their performance, and it was amazing. There were about fifty kids, and they only had two weeks to learn two songs and dances. They also sang a third song because they had extra time! One of their pieces was the song Footloose. There were air guitars, kicks, and rhyming verses such as “Jack…get back…” and “please…Louise…” that helped convey the excitement of team D to the audience. Another song, Razzle Dazzle, was from the movie (and Broadway show) Chicago. This was the first time I had seen them perform it, and group D did it very nicely. There were a lot of snaps and “shushes” (finger to the lips) that went with the song very well. Group C also performed in the showing; they sang Sun in the Morning from Annie get Your Gun and Getting out of Town. Group A, the “seniors” of Rosie’s Broadway kids also made an appearance to sing Lullaby of Broadway. The only group that didn’t perform was mine. We’ll get a chance in two more weeks, at the end of RBK summer intensive!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Clever Choreography

Yesterday afternoon the B team started learning choreography to a song called "Show People". There is one section in it that has a kick-line tempo, but Thecla, our choreographer, doesn’t want to do the obvious. So, instead of a kick-line, we are going to form a triangle with our bodies facing the left and our faces looking at the audience. Then we walk sideways to the beat, raising our arms and shaking our hands. Lori came in to watch that and the following choreography, which was very cool, and then she left and came back with some other people. They watched us do our combination over and over until our class was over.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Today I interviewed Jassah, who is part of team B, about her private vocals.

Me: What song are you singing?

Jassah: I am singing Matchmaker with Jennifer and Nia. Matchmaker is from the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

Me: What is the song about?

Jassah: The song is about three girls who are Jewish and they have a matchmaker named Yente who finds husbands for them. This whole song is about how Chava and Hodel want a perfect match, but Tzietel tells them by impersonating Yente to tell them that they can’t always get what they want. At the end of the song they realize that getting married isn’t such a wonderful thing.

Me: Is there any acting in your song?

Jassah: Yes. There is a dialogue before the song begins, and also in the middle.

Me: Are you nervous about singing with only two other people?
Jassah: A little bit, because if I have two other people, I’m okay.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dropping in on Drama Class

Today I visited the D boys’ drama class with another B teamer (a girl). We watched them run through a little scene in where they tell the story of a boy living in a town called Imagination. It involved backpacks filled with a trillion dollars, Peter Pan, Superman, and time machines. After the boys were finished with their scene, we were invited to join them in a theatre game. We all stood in a circle and passed an action and sound around. The movements were the invention of the people in the circle, and some involved King Kong impersonations, karate chops, and more. But the funniest part of class was when they played the game called A Day in the Life. You had to pick any profession you wanted and then act out your day according to cues that Tim, the teacher, gives you. Some of them include traveling to your job or getting fired. Of course, some of the boys are firefighters, or superheroes, so the antics in the music room are very… energetic. This beginner drama is how all of the A teamers got to where they are, so it is effective.

NY Liberty Game

On Saturday, July 11th, over 80 RBKids ACTE II students and their families were invited to attend a home game at Madison Square Garden of the New York Liberty basketball team. 10 lucky students were able to participate in VIP pre-game festivities, where they high fived team players center court before an arena of fans, and received Liberty basketballs and t-shirts. Here are some pictures of our kids before, during, and after the festivities - they even ended up on the jumbotron multiple times throughout the course of the game! A special thanks to the NY Liberty for making this event possible!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Week Two Begins

Two of my fellow B team members and I were together with nothing to do before class, so we found the DVD of last year’s summer intensive performance, We put into on of our brand new Macintosh computers in the study room and watched the older kids’ section of the performance. They had written a play, called Nothing Will Ever be the same, and then incorporated several already existing songs into it. So really, it was a musical. However, the opening song was original, and it was almost everyone’s favorite. The ending even had eight-part harmony! The musical was about how no one really knows who anyone else is. Some of examples of this were the basketball star who secretly loved dancing, the popular boy who was hiding the fact that he was gay, and others. At the end of the show, the audience got to their feet for a standing ovation. Some of the younger RBKids burst into tears. Hopefully our future performance will be as popular with our audience!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Group B is starting monologues today! Two years of preparatory drama exercise have finally paid off, and today we will be trying out our first monologues. Most of us will use them for auditions into high schools. I asked Jassah and Josh for their opinions on monologues. Jassah is new at monologues, while Josh (a group A student) is used to them.

Me: How do you feel about doing your first monologue?

Jassah: I feel really excited; it’s my first to do one [monologue]. I’m going to give it my all.

Me: What is your monologue about?

Jassah: My monologue is about how this girl gets into detention for disagreeing with her teacher and calling him a chauvinistic pig that still lives in the nineteenth century with his macho head up his butt. I felt that I could kind of relate to this because I always disagree with my teachers.

Me: What are some exercises you have done in drama to get you ready to perform a monologue?

Jassah: We have done exercises where we say a sentence and give it meaning. For instance, if I were to say “I could be loved by you” I would have to mean something behind what I’m saying.

Me: What do you remember about your first monologue?

Josh: Well I was nervous and a little scared and it was hard to go into another character because I am so used to being myself and it is hard to change for your first monologue. For the second and third [monologues] it is easier.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dance Your Heart Out!

Today is Thursday, July 9, the fourth day of RBK, and I have already taken ten ballet classes. I am part of group B, the second oldest group in the program, so my classes are more advanced than those of groups D and C, but I still enjoy joining in on the younger student’s ballet classes. For most of the members of group D, their first ballet class was also on their first day of the RBK summer intensive program. I assisted both the D girls’ and boys’ classes on Monday, and the day after my calves were killing me. I quickly arrived at the reason for this; beginning ballet classes focus mostly on the basics, especially plies and releves. A plie is a bending of the legs, while a releve is going up onto the balls of your feet. I have heard some of the students complaining of leg pains also, but to quote their ballet teacher, “If you hurt that means you’re doing it right.” So why do I take the extra classes? I love the tap dancing, drama, and singing of RBK, but my favorite style of dance will always be ballet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another One from the Junior Blogger!

Only three days have passed in the four weeks of the RBK summer intensive program, but already the performance numbers are taking shape. The youngest group, group D (fourth and fifth grade graduates), is working on the well-known song “Footloose.” The choreography includes very energetic strumming of air guitars, kicks, and very vigorous steps and snaps.

Group C and B are learning the words and steps to “I’ve got the Sun in the Morning” (from Annie Get Your Gun). It is still unclear as to who is tap-dancing in the intro, so everyone is learning all of the parts. Yesterday, group B learned the infamous “power step.” It is the most difficult step that we have learned in RBK.

Group A is always in a different studio than I am, but I think that they are doing some Fosse dancing. Group B is also going to be split into small group of two to three for some other acts. “Matchmaker” and “Stepsisters Lament” are some of these more individual performances. We can’t wait for the final performances!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First Post from our New Junior Blogger!

This summer the RBKids Blog will feature posts from an ACTE II student participating in our 6th Annual Summer Intensive (our first at the new Maravel Arts Center).

Enjoy her first entry!

Today is Tuesday, July 7, our second day of the RBK summer intensive program. I interviewed a twelve-year-old member of Team B (who wishes to remain anonymous), the second oldest group (ages 12-13). I asked her a few questions about the new building, the program in general, and past RBK performances.

Q: What do you do during the RBK summer intensive program?

A: We do drama, ballet, tap, vocal, and theatre dance.

Q: Describe the new building.

A: It has places that we can do our homework in, a cafe so we can eat, we have a new tap studio and a ballet studio. We have our own lockers for our privacy and our own drama/vocal studio. Our computer room includes DVDs of certain plays, which is really cool because we can watch certain performances that have people that we look up to.

Q: Describe some past RBK performances that you have participated in.

A: Two years ago we did a performance based on the theme of the Harlem Renaissance. I think it was really cool because we got to try on a lot of old-fashioned looking costumes. The year after that we sang a song about freedom, and we wore clothes that sort of looked like something a hippy would wear.