What is musical theatre without the odd box step and pas de bourree? Yet it can be extremely problematic in the theatre making process. Whilst we're not quite aiming for naturalism in 'Poppies' (I'm pretty sure soldiers didn't fight and sing at the same time!) we want the music- along with the dancing- to feel organic. Songs should capture heightened emotions when words are no longer enough. Therefore, dance breaks should be both meaningful and bold; they aren't there as a breather from the action. They function to further the plot and develop its characters.
Whilst devising "Working Women" (a sassy number which the girls sing after the boys have left for war) we experienced a few 'dance difficulties.' The song clearly needs to reflect the new strength and power of the women and yet the actions we had devised were undermining this sentiment. Bluntly put: it was too cheesy. So our wonderful choreographer Abbie, stripped it back and choreographed raw and ready movements to reflect the tone of the piece. I feel both strong and exhausted after performing the number so I think it's safe to say we've captured the strength and determination of the "working women in a working man's boots!"