Technology has played a crucial role in moving dancing ahead in the theater world, says Hope, the association executive. What cheap flights did for travel, video has done for the visual arts. “Being able to do video inexpensively, it’s sort of like the jet plane here,” he says.
“Young people have an accessibility to the highest-level production values in almost any art form you can mention,” he says. “Oklahoma!” on Broadway is as close as the nearest DVD player.
“Until video was readily available, you could hear it, but you couldn’t actually see it, couldn’t see the virtuosity of the people acting and dancing,” Hope says. “When you can see the full production values that are required, and then you see yourself, that’s a different kind of incentive.”
But once he got past the “Hairspray” audition, Lynch says crucial training came from Camp, known for being able to elevate an initially imprecise and insecure chorus line to a near-razzle-dazzle level. He credits his groovability as one of the hip-swinging window-washers in “Hairspray” to the three-week boot camp run by Camp and her daughter.
Consider it the Camps’ booty camp.
“Hairspray” may depend more than many musicals on the conflicts and harmonies that dancing bodies can express, but that uplift, vicarious thrill and intense feeling it delivers through the dancing can also ripple through any musical that delivers choreographically. And this is what Schaeffer is most excited about in the future dance possibilities he’s contemplating for Signature.
Dancing represents “one more emotion that comes out from a musical,” he says. “The old adage is, when the emotion gets too big for words, that’s when they start singing. So when it gets even bigger, that’s when they start dancing.”