Honolulu at Jump Session

EEEEk!!! I did it! WE did it!! Thank you Atomic Cherry Bombs for working so hard to get this number together. Nikki, thank you for all the extra time you dedicated to this number for me. This number wouldn’t have been half as good as it was if I didn’t have you and your girls. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Two notes about the video: this is not high quality footage, but it is footage nonetheless. The lighting made filming this number rather tricky.

Jump Session Show 2010 – Honolulu from Jo Hoffberg.

I am so very pleased with how this turned out. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some high quality footage of this number. Let me know if you find anything!

The story behind Honolulu:

I’ve had the idea in my head for the last year or so that I wanted to do a tribute to Eleanor Powell by recreating her Honolulu number. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tap and didn’t have the choreography broken down. About 3 months ago I finally started breaking down the first third of the routine and even though it was difficult, I had such a great time doing it. The routine is broken down into three parts: jazz, hula, and tap. I performed the jazz section at Swingin’ in Spring in Gotenborg, Sweden. The following week, the Icelandic Volcano erupted and I got stuck in Sweden for another 10 days. In that time, I managed to break down the tap section.

Mind you, I still don’t really tap and I am not a trained dancer – two very important pieces that would have made my life significantly easier. I downloaded the clip off of youtube and then frame-by-frame went though the entire routine and tried to learn the shapes as best as I could. I first learned the general outline of the leg movement (for the tap section), then added arms, and then tried to add in the actual taps. Luckily for me, the wildly talented Nathan Bugh helped break down some of the tap for me months ago and I used that as a starting point.

Relatively, the choreography wasn’t that difficult, but refining the details of my movement was (and still is). Eleanor Powell has technique up the wazoo and trying to learn her signature mannerism was very challenging. The way she holds her shoulders, her hand shapes, her arm positioning, her natural body movement, and her ability to spin are things that I have to constantly keep an eye on when I am running the routine. I often record my rehearsals and then go through them frame-by-frame and look for the missing details. Talk about tedious (but oh-so necessary)!

The greatest challenge for me has been learning how to spot. Before working on this routine, I could basically spot my partner, but in general, I’ve always had a pretty good awareness of where my partner was in relation to me and didn’t use spotting all that often. Eleanor Powell, on the other hand, spots like her life depends on it! Just check out this clip (fast fw to 5:05 and watch from there)!! So needless to say, I wasn’t going to be able to learn how to spin and spot like that in a month (in heels no less), but I certainly tried my best.

All the while I was working on the jazz and tap portion of the routine, I had to break down the choreography for the supporting dancers. This is where the amazing Nikki Marvin and her Atomic Cherry Bombs come into play. I sent Nikki some crappy videos of me trying my best to break down the supporting part, and nothing about that process was easy; from breaking it down, to emailing; from music cutting to uploading, all if it was a hassel. I’d send videos (which were filmed in mirror image – thank you MacBook camera) and emails trying to explain what I wanted, but really, Nikki watched the clip just like I did and broke the stuff down. She did such a great job and so did all of her ladies. To top it off, the Monday before Camp Jitterbug, I flew down to OC and rehearsed with the girls. Dang….I am sooooooo glad I did that.

I am thrilled with how it came out. Now I just need to find us more places to perform it!

On a final note, I must give a shout out to Claire Pedroza for doing my hair. I wouldn’t have looked that gorgeous (* toot toot) if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for making this (*running hands up and down body) look good!

Cherry Bombs

Dear ladies,

You did a wonderful job at rehearsal tonight. Thank you so much for taking the time and putting in the effort to learn Honolulu. And Nikki, thank you so-very-much for learning this routine via video (that was poorly recorded off of my mac), emailing back and forth with me, and doing all the additional work on the side. You did an outstanding job with all my emails and video clips, and you’ve done an outstanding job with the girls. Thank you for working so diligently to turn my “hawaiian dream” into a reality. I hope you are proud of your girls and what you’ve accomplished.

Girls, I am so excited for you! Regardless if this is your first performance or your 100th, performing in the Benaroya Hall is an incredible opportunity, one that you’ll always remember. Be proud of yourself!

View Photos

Click on a photo below to enlarge.

Benaroya Hall

S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

Here is the song we are using: Honolulu routine Camp Jitterbug Cut Please download this and LISTEN TO THE BEGINNING over and over again. It might be hard to count, but it’s easy to hear (once you know what to look for).

Here is a reminder of what you’re doing:

Good luck girls!!

xo

Jo

LAST NOTES:

– Make a check list of what costume pieces you need. LITERALLY write down the costume pieces you need and check them off after you put them in a bag. Do the same for each routine you have.
– Double check that you have all the pieces. Don’t forget your shoes, stockings, bows, hair pieces, and appropriate underwear (super important).
– Space backstage will most likely be small and hard to come by. Bring a brightly colored bag or something to keep your belongings in. Get into the habit of putting your things back into your bag in between numbers so you don’t lose your stuff.
– Black anything (i.e. bras, underwear, tights, bags, etc.) will disappear into the abyss of backstage. Just an FYI.
– Bring a hand mirror. You don’t want to fight for mirror space any more than necessary.
– Eat before you get there. Have a snack bar on you as well. Don’t forget water or a water bottle.
– Set your hair the night before or the morning of.
– Have your base makeup on.
– Ask yourself “What else do I need so I can be self-sufficient? What else do I need to be awesome?” and then figure out the answer. 😀
– Remember, you’re part of a group and you need to do you part. Be watchful of your partners and remember to smile.
– When you’re performing, don’t fuck up. Haha, in spite of my warning, just keep dancing regardless of what happens. No one will know you missed something unless your face tells the audience otherwise. Smile and be confident in your movement!
– Listen to the music if you get lost. You can find your spot again….don’t give up!
– Don’t worry if you have a crappy run-through right before the performance. If you hit it perfectly before the show, you’ve probably already used up your good one. Save your best for last.
– Remember to have fun while you’re performing The audience wants you to succeed and they want to cheer for you. Everyone is there to support you. Enjoy your moment on stage and don’t stress too much.

And a final shout out again to Nikki. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for putting so much time in effort into getting this done. xoxo

`