Fusion, my friends, is some hot stuff right now. Rehearsals have been kicked up a gear, with all nighters for the whole cast, and a fair few in the middle of the day as well. The show is competing to be the words on everybody’s lips against the elections hype at the moment, and in the midst of all this, I bring you one of my last blogs.
I wrangled a time slot with Jeremy Lilley and Danielle Spears, the two Head Choreographers for the show after a fair bit of effort in co-ordination. Where to start with them was quite a challenge – but I bring you perhaps the most epic of all my Committee chats to date. We met in the Courtyard, where I brought them supplies of Malteasers, Galaxy Minstrels, and some raisins. (Just in case they wanted to be healthy.) Here’s what went down…enjoy!
Guys, you’ve spent inordinate amounts of time on campus for this – why on earth did you run?
J: Looking back, I’m not sure…
D: We knew of each other, but first encountered at the Fusion after party last year.
You “encountered” each other?!
Both: Over a few cheeky bevies [I later found out there was an endless supply of champagne involved, all paid for by Jeremy].
D: Cesca called after the Fusion after party, and I remember thinking I’d like to choreographer a dance…
[Jeremy’s phone rings]
D: Babes that’s so rude…I’m gonna get some water…
So you were both in Fusion last year?
J: As a dancer! And I was a model. And I choreographed.
And you, Danielle?
D: Just as a plain old dancer. [she sighs]
Over the past few weeks, I’m not going to lie – you’ve both been really motivational to watch – what drives you forward?
J: The fact that we just enjoy it so much, so many of our friends are doing it too
D: For both of us, before uni there was the choice of going to uni or dancing…so uni has ended up being both!
J: Before there was a fear of not having the scope of being able to dance at uni
D: I didn’t know about Fusion before, either so it’s been great and unexpected.
What do you do when you feel like giving up?
D: Have a cheeky sob in the toilet at Willow and then we eat things there…prawn crackers
J: We just do it. There is not answer!
D: At the end of the day we are perfectionists – we’ll never have the opportunity again, even if we’re taking it a little to far!
As an aside…
J: Camilla, you might have noticed, it looks like we’ve all flipped a switch and gone insane.
D: People just end up looking at me with looks of horror!
I know for a fact that the cast have a huge amount of respect for you guys – do you find all this work gratifying? At the end of the day you’re just students like the rest of us and are putting in so many hours for a final product…you’re seen by a lot of the cast and Committee doing physically and mentally draining work but I know you do so much more, as well as still having some semblance of a social life…
J: It’s just an example of making the most of uni life and getting involved. People moan about being bored and something for absolutely everyone
D: Over Christmas we said we didn’t want to sacrifice either [our degrees or the quality of Fusion] and you do need a break. It’s important to socialise not just with dancers, but with other people too like your housemates.
A discussion then ensues about our plans for the night – I met up with them on a Sunday…
D: We’re going to be wearing sparkly hot pants out.
J: You know, I might wear some of my Fusion Fairytale Peter Pan outfit…
D: [outraged] As if you’re wearing tights to Gallery!!
Did you two know you have a sort of Good Cop/Bad Cop thing going on? (And not just in your brand new hoodies that I’ve been seeing a load of people wearing as of this week)
J: Do we? Which one am I?
Me: Bad Cop. Definitely.
J: Ah well, I don’t mind, it’s just who I am!
D: You told me you didn’t care about shouting at people! It’s nice to have a balance, and good to have both there at rehearsals.
J: Because of our personalities it balances out…
D: When we rehearse and choreograph we do it together, and always confer with the other one. Besides, you know why we’re really scary [to other people] – pale, dark circles under our eyes.
What’s the most frustrating thing for you? And what do you appreciate in the cast?
D: Attendance in rehearsals – excuses like “I’m really tired” or “I’m not feeling well” are frustrating when it’s a bullshit excuse.
J: But most frustrating thing is that it holds up the rehearsal process.
D: And that people subconsciously expect us to catch them up…
Do you find it a lot of responsibility to take on, and quite a big pressure to live up to a the standard as set by last year?
J: Yes. We’ve got an entire team behind us which makes it easier, and essentially what’s going on that stage in five days time is just quite a lot of pressure. Knowing what’s going to be seen has to be amazing – work has to happen for it to be good. That is it: what you’re visually seeing determines the show.
D: And it sets a precedent for the next year’s show, it’s not all just on hype. Hopefully we’ll help next year’s too?
Has Fusion been an unexpected hassle?
J: It’s not a hassle – it’s just about how much time it has take up. We knew it’d be a lot of work…
D: What we didn’t realise is that it’d be cheeky all-nighters! In back of my mind I’m gonna be happy with how it is – there will be criticism, but I just hope it’s justified.
J: Yeah, I hope it’s constructive.
And the most fun part?
D: Especially late night ones.
J: As long as if everyone’s in a good mood and up for it.
D: Which as we’ve got closer to the show, they really are up for it!
J: Everyone’s so hyped, it’s all about the motivation
Which is your favourite dance?
[they both think about this question for quite some time]
J: Modern Ball. It’s odd. We like odd. We’re very strange.
D: Lost Boys…[she thinks about this statement for a moment longer] It’s basically the dancification of us. Of our partnership.
Okay, I just want to touch on this really briefly as it’s a bit of a hot topic- why do you think people see Fusion as elitist?
J: With anything on campus that involves rehearsals or practices it’ll be there, like with sports teams or Dance Soc, cause you spend time together. It’d be weird if you weren’t a little bit!
D: Parties help other people get involved. You become like a family. Late at night you get this camaraderie which means that as soon as it’s over you’ll miss them straightaway.
What are you looking forward to most about Fusion being over?
D: Will really really miss it, spending so much time Jez…
J: [there is a distinct pause] Wish I could say the same thing about you!
Danielle slaps Jeremy and they both begin to laugh rather hysterically
J: No, well seriously – bouncing off each other and having a laugh has fostered a really fun atmosphere in rehearsals…it doesn’t make them a hassle, they’re something you’ve enjoyed.
D: Omg. This time next week it’ll be over!
J: I’ll be in the library. By about 2…Maybe 3.
Have you enjoyed choreographing modelling scenes as well?
D: Once the models became more responsive and got to know each other, it was really fun.
You two seem to spend a lot of time together, have you had many fall outs?
J: The amount of time is not healthy! Husbands and wives don’t spend that much time together. But we can sense tension and when something is going to happen…
D: We genuinely actually haven’t, we’ve had niggles and disagreements. It’s sickening but funny – whatever we have is just to do with a dance, it’s really silly in the end.
D: But we don’t!!
So, the question is guys…SNG?
J: I can’t wait, I’m so excited.
D: We probably need to say something witty…
J: And sound clever.
Both: OOF. [they burst into fits of laughter again]
By this time, all the Malteasers and Minstrels were gone…and only the poor raisins remained. I ran off, inordinately late to a pub lunch at Evil Eye, whilst Jeremy and Danielle went for a well earned (but short lived) rest until the packed rehearsal schedule for that evening.
I remember meeting ‘J-Dizzle’ at the very rehearsal I went to. I commented, back then, that if they could keep up the same level of enthusiasm that they put in until the end, that Fusion would be a great show. They have. And according to that prediction, I think that in TWO DAYS, we’re all in for a treat. The title of this blog relates to a text that I sent one of my housemates a few weeks back, during a rehearsal, at the height of my Fusion envy. The full text read: “This dance is sickkkkkkk. And you know I would never even use that word as an adjective!”
Tomorrow: I’ll be bringing you a commentary on an exclusive to Nouse student fashion designer sneak-preview that I had last week of a stunning dress created by Hanah Mamoojee.