Sunday, October 31, 2010

A break for Halloween.

Yesterday was our last rehearsal on land with the extremely talented Choreographer - Patti Wilcox.
We arrived in the studio at 10:30 and plans were to run through the show till 5pm. 
After some individual discussions for corrections from the previous days of runs, we all took our places and the music started..   
Today is the day "We Do Not Stop!" Patti said, the show will run as a live show.. any mistakes will be noted afterwards..   And that is exactly what happened, when unfortunately one female dancer, who is also the dance captain was injured during one of the intense dance sections.. she made her way off the mock stage and you could tell she was in pain, and although Patti and many others ran to her side.. the show kept going.  which I have to admit is the best thing to do with a new cast. sometimes when something like this happens live on stage, it can easily distract a cast member which may result in something as minor as a mistake in a dance step, or as dangerous as missing your traffic line causing you or somebody else to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.. 
And with a show like this where there is allot of fire, heavy props, moving stage elevators, and oh yeah sharp spikes!  
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time.. or simply being a moment late can result in serious injury. This is why so many rehearsals are so important, we all need to learn each other positions, traffic etc.. 
I found that a bit difficult the first day of rehearsals when we joined the cast, as Daniela & I were rehearsing on a private stage with no cast.. I learned my choreography, but not my locations.. 
so since I was rehearsing alone, I used allot of the stage.. running very fast and swinging 5' Spikes around before slamming them into the Fire Spiker etc.. 
when we got to Tampa and the first day of rehearsals started I backed up only to run into a dancer.
I found myself feeling scared to turn around since I didn't know where everybody was and didn't feel like making a Shish-Ka-Dancer ! Lol

But the more we run the show in sections the more I (and i'm sure the cast) feels more comfortable.
I will say time will always reveal all about people, but so far the cast seems great.. not only are they 
fantastic performers, who I truly enjoy watching dance, but from the few minutes we have had a chance to speak, they seem very friendly and I predict they will be fun to get to know over the next 6 months.. 

Yesterday's run through went very well, and after the run we all gathered in front of Patti & her talented assistant Vibecke Dahle, with pen & paper to take notes for the mistakes that were made.
Of course I was the butt of the jokes, as I was the only one that did not have a pen & paper, instead I had my iPad, which I stated it was because I anticipated I would need to kill a small tree to write down the amount of notes I was expecting!  LOL
Patti makes notes for every single dancer, singer & us, what amazes me,  is in our show "Extreme Vegas"  I not only have to know my choreography, but I know each lighting cue,  all sound cues, I need to know all automation cues, and the cues for both Stage Left & Stage Right backstage techs..I NEED to know this because we do not have  a production manager that travels with us to call the show.. so every rehearsal I wear a headset to communicate with each stage crew member.. 
This can get pretty intense as all cues go to a certain count in the music, or on a specific Sound effect in the music etc. But what amazes me is that Patti does the exact same thing.. BUT with all these dancers, 2 Magicians, 2 Aerial Flyers, Sound Cues, Light Cues, Stage Cues, Prop Cues.
She knows them all!  and if I walk up and ask her on the the 3rd count of 8 i am supposed to enter on 5... right?  she will look at me no longer then 1 or 2 seconds.. and say.. "YES"  immediately she will turn to 6 other people and give them their counts.. !  It's amazing how well prepared and organized she is.. by far the best choreographer we have worked with.
I also feel she knows that she can be stern and she will get exactly what she wants.. but she also gave us the space to play with our character and try new things, many things she loved and commented on them while we were taking notes, saying, Daniela that wasn't the original Chorey but i love the what you did! However when something isn't right she makes you, want to make it right.. she doesn't degrade you for getting it wrong, instead she describes the feeling behind the move so you understand not,  what your doing.. but why.. 
And many times her & her assistant get up and actually show you the chorey.. and when they do it, it's perfect! I love that, the fact they they are asking you to do something, and then they actually get up & do it themselves.. makes you feel like wow if they can do it.. i can do it.. !

Anyway this short note has turned into a small novel so im off but good news is, the rehearsals ended great, and they gave us Halloween Off!  Whoo Hoo, so off to Busch Gardens Hal-O-Scream tonight, and then back at the studio first thing monday morning!
Have a Happy Halloween everyone!  --Justino

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

First day of rehearsals

Well last night we decided not to drive to the hotel & stay home, to get up early and go directly to the Rehearsal Studio.
We are still tired from last month on the Star, so while watching TV at 8:30pm we both fell asleep on the couch, Good lets head to bed, that will give us plenty of hrs of sleep before our early call.
NOPE! once I moved to bed, I started thinking about the many music cues, steps & choreography we need to get right in a few hrs.. and then the nerves kicked in.. I am now officially WIDE AWAKE!
at 2 am I got tired of starring at the ceiling, so I went out and watched some tv for a few hrs, only to realize I now have only a few hrs left before I need to wake.. so I force my self to go back to bed..
Still Mad that im not tired anymore..
We got up at 5:00am (augh still dark) sleep walked into the shower and tried to wake up (I hate mornings!) we head off to Tampa, FL around 6am to arrive a bit early, as I had anticipated traffic which didn't exist on the back roads, so a quick stop for a Cracker Barrel Coffee and were back to head into the studio at 8am.
We arrive to find many friendly faces from the previous meetings greeting us hello.
we quickly got down to business and started discussing the illusions..
First Illusion of the day was one of my favorites.. "Eclipse" originally created by Kalin & Ginger.= better known as "Circle of Fire" the Eclipse is a different Illusion but uses the same method and prop.
The Eclipse we find to be much larger here then on the Star, but a few modifications in our timing and we seem to have it figured it out.. Daniela try's the Illusion one time to check the mechanics of it.. and it goes perfect..!
Music starts and we went thru the full routine.. I need to polish some of my music cues as i am not 100% on some of the cues.. but all is well no missing fingers or blood so thats an improvement over my first days with this beautiful prop! LOL

We then head to my appearance illusion.. (which is a nicely done illusion but gives me the most bruises out of everything we do! LOL) but nothing compared to Daniela's Bruises which out does me 10 to 1 which she reminds me of on a daily basis.. !

At 10am we got to meet the cast for the first time.. and I remember having all of them introduce their names one by one.. thinking to myself halfway thru.. "there is no way im going to remember all these names!" but from what I have seen the dance sections look really good and the cast seems like a strong good looking young cast, which only makes me feel OLD!
I remember the days I was the youngest person on stage.. and now I feel like im the oldest! How did that happen?

Anyway I look forward to getting to know them all as we will be working closely together over the next 6 1/2 months..

It's an exciting time.. a time we can all look back after it's all done and say "Remember when?" :)
I was so proud of my wife as she managed to do all her chorey nearly perfect and I am most proud of her performing the Levitation which is a very difficult trick and she did great.. I am so lucky to have her by my side.. (making me look good) Which she also reminds me of on a daily basis! LOL

The NCL production team told us after the day was over that our routines went very well and we were ahead of schedule, we had been rehearsing on our own time with the props on board the Star usually at night when the theater was closed.. so it looks like those late nights payed off. :)

Well now im off to bed because I am getting sore & tired..
I look forward to finishing Fire Spiker & Staring Windsheer soon..
More to come :)

--Justino Zoppe

Monday, October 25, 2010

Extra Day Off with my Pomeranian

Well we were supposed to be starting our official rehearsals for the new illusion show today, but i received a email yesterday stating they were not ready for us today so to our surprise we get a day at home with our baby boy! TURBO!!! (our Pomeranian) My family drove him down from up north.
So i am sitting here watching my beautiful wife have a smile from ear to ear as she lays on the floor playing with him.. :) todays going to be a good day!

Friday, October 22, 2010

On Vacation at home

Most people when they go on Vacation, it includes a trip to Europe, overseas, a theme park etc..
When Daniela & I go on vacation we get to do something we rarely do.. We get to go HOME!

Our Job has us going to Tourist Destinations all over the world on a daily basis. so THAT is the Norm. for us, going home is something out of the ordinary. and WE LOVE IT!

The piece and quiet of the house. the warm feeling of being in our own home, the ability to jump in the car at anytime of day and do anything we please.. it's a feeling that most everybody else has every day but for us, it's a rare experience we get only a few weeks a year.

We Love our Job and we love the amazing places we get to see by simply opening our door..
for instance last month we were so busy installing our show in the new Stardust Theater, i didn't even ask where the ship was heading.. that day i found out we were stopping in San Francisco, a place i oddly have never been! but i got a view not everybody gets.. we watched the sunrise from the private crew deck (located on the front bow of the ship) as we sailed underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, at 6am it was a beautiful sight, the city was totally quiet, and as we passed by Alcatraz you could hear the Sea Lions barking on the pier close by.. those are experiences that are amazing in our job..
And we never take it for Granted, but we appreciate every moment we have at our house..

So we have 48 hrs left of Vacation, then we head to 2 Weeks of Intense rehearsals for the new Dance + Illusion production "Elements".
I will be posting more info soon.. as of right now.. IM ON VACATION! :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

On our way home

Well we just finished a private show for the crew. it was a midnight show closed to the passengers.. and since it was our friends and crew in the theater we could really have some fun and push the line a few times.. they loved it! it was a crazy night!
The following day we were heading to the Panama Canal and we had 2 shows that night with 2 full houses. Great audiences.. !

we have now stored our show backstage and getting ready to go home for 2 days in Florida before heading to Tampa for 2 weeks of rehearsals for the new production of "Elements".

Im sure i will have plenty to post during that time!
We will arrive back to the NCL Star with the entire new cast on Nov 4th..

So look out for "Extreme Vegas" and "Elements" starting Mid Nov!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finally Installed

Well Sorry it has been so long since my last update, we have been slammed here in the Stardust theater!
We have now went from Freezing weather in Alaska, to boiling temperatures in Acapulco, Mexico!
Since my last post we have finally installed the show with literally only hrs to spare! Opening night for Extreme Vegas was in Astoria, Oregon. last week.
First show I admit needed a bit of Oil in the Gears.. but all in all it went very well for opening night..
I few notes for some of the crew, some automation adjustments, timing tweeks and were back in rehearsals once again. Seems we got all the bugs out and are ready to go, only for the huge semi loads full of New Sets for the New "Elements" Magic Production to arrive, causing us to all scratch our heads on how can we fit both of these shows in this theater?
With some very good management for shore side, we were able to play Tetris the real game and get everything in. Problem is once they started hanging all the sets, Lighting, and FX for the new show,
it changed the rails for Stage automation by 80% so last night we were up through the evening once again re-programming, re-measuring & ultimately Re-installing everything that involved Stage Automation.. and im sure since we have rigged many things in new locations this will cause us to have to adjust many of the nearly 150 lighting cues!
But all in all it's all coming together.. we have been on board now for almost one month.. our second show is Fri night.. we have a Private show only for the Crew the night before at 11:30pm and then 2 shows on Fri. 7 & 9pm. So keep your fingers crossed.. here we go again! LOL