Deep loss was felt when the 2012 ceremonies concluded, as I'd been given a chance to perform but it was all over in a flash. I yearned for the camaraderie, the whole production process, as unintentionally it had reignited a passion from my childhood.
I had trained to dance, act, perform through my youth, so had plenty of stage experience but I gave it all up in my late teens, never glanced back as I suppose I never imagined anything seriously could happen from it. Maybe I just wasn't ready for pursuing it back then.
So years on, once I achieved a life long desire to be a cast member of the ceremonies in the Olympics, it gave me back my confidence. It was the buzz of 'saving the surprise', seeing backstage areas, the love of entertaining others, putting together a show, having a costume, working for a common goal with others which makes me tick inside.
Yet my body is far removed from what it once was, health issues, being older, it gave me a fair bit of concern on entering into The 2012 Legacy Project after being given a main cast role, following two auditions. The question plaguing me was "Would I hold up?" Em, only one way to find out, go for it, a mantra I now state, as do others whom are fellow cast members. We all realise that our gambles can have big pay offs, if we chance our hearts desires. However, it requires hard work, sacrifices, but we're all very willing, dedicated, which dramatically aids progress as we want the same thing, a first rate show, whilst achieving an objective with our friends whom have similar interests. Having shared experiences is a wonderful feeling that unites us.
During rehearsals it was a methodical progression, learning the moves, building the show, building up our stamina, strengthening skills, despite it being tough at times. We worked with what we could do, at our own pace, to the group's pace. This way it flowed, had bits of our natural elemental charisma unique to us, so the piece had its own style as peoples characters came through even with no facial expression. It used an evolutionary motion of the body that united us.
Physical Theatre and Contemporary dance styles are something I've briefly encountered, I've a knowledge of the later via watching it. But knowing its style is very different to training your body to do unfamiliar moves, performing again, its years since I danced so I have picked up a few bad habits as my body has not retained core strength, my posture not what it once was, nor my ability to pick things up so quickly. I'm much stiffer and it took time to reprogram myself, something I never had to consider in my youthful dancing days. Things don't flow as they did, I went home often so achy and sore but delighted with results achieved as often, acquiring new skills, whilst dusting off old ones.
Owning a technique still came in handy as I needed it to get up and down from kneeling easily, or be able to correct myself if not mirroring others or if not fully extended in arms or picking up things not in synch. I still relied on others to contribute ideas or suggestions to me as some things were a bit tricky and it's impossible to be as you once were or do every move correctly.
I had to pull myself up to match others too. That's what was so special about the cast as someone was always there to boost you or to assist you as there were so many levels of skills in the group and therefore a solution always found to us finding our feet - literally.
Generally, I'm not a nervous person, I'm used to what a stage feels like, because I'd performed years back, solo sometimes and to larger crowds. However this seemed very personal and different as I have not got the same abilities, plus I'm in unfamiliar territory. Also its our show and a person I knew conceived it, I would hate to let Rhiannon down, then the cast, it was about us, so we had to do a credible good job to do this production justice.
I had to preserve myself to get to the finish and not let it rattle me, so I stepped out to gather myself and rest. Everyone had nerves so there was a charged tension in the air on the count down to call time. Giving each other space, quiet time, was key in those last moments. Feeling secure in your costume, comfortable, groomed, made up properly, just as vital for confidence to adopt the character you were acting as any niggle at that point could have been amplified and projected in a bad way, but everyone did all we could to make sure we were all feeling ok and happy.
The Noradrenaline which surges through you waiting for the music and the lights to go up is so incredible as we stood in the dark with a totally silent theatre you couldn't hear a pin drop. My heart thumped, while beating I felt it as if it were leaping out of my chest, I could hear it beat so loud it was nearly blocking the sound of the music, it engulfed me. My legs went to jelly. I couldn't feel my body, so hoped my feet would work as they were like lead and somewhere miles away from where my brain was sending a signal to action them. Luckily I could breathe deeply for a minute ground myself, talk to myself, address the realisation its happening NOW before walking forward, get feeling in my toes as a little wiggle discretely happening in my jazz shoes.
That is why I perform, as no where else do you get that rush, that feeling coursing through you. Its over so fast, yet my legs were still trembling for at least an hour after but then excitement, jubilation and exhaustion kicked in.
I desire to work with these amazing, people again, I miss it so much already as normal life feels back to emptiness, boredom, loss. I want to do it once more..... OK, a lot more. Another personal ambition has been achieved to perform on a stage in the heart of London, at a prestigious theatre, lets see what is next, watch the website and you never know.
Dreams really can come true! :-)
Written by Josie Coster