Carbs & Leotards: “First Thing’s First, I’m the Realest"

By Jackie Weber

“First Thing’s First, I’m the Realest”

Alright, check it: So last week our department welcomed another guest artist to come and set a work on our dancers for the Fall Dance Concert happening in November. Mr. Maurice Causey, an extremely talented choreographer, came to stay with us for ten days, in which time he set an eleven minute piece titled ‘Turbulentus.” Before I get into the fabulosity of the entire creation, I must give you a background on the audition process and the first few rehearsals with Mr. Causey. 

Let me just say this: I hate auditions. They make me anxious, and nervous, and sweaty (and ya’ll know how much I already sweat as it is) and always leave me questioning every minute movement my body made within that time frame. But, if every audition were like the one that Maurice gave to us, I’d audition every day of my life. We were told to just move, to truly explore the furthest reaches of our bodies. The energy was motivating. All of these dancers surrounded each other with constant motion and breath. We were told to create our own phrases based on the letters of our names, which felt beautiful. In my romantic mind, I was truly showing myself and spelling out who I was through movement. We intertwined these phrases with each other as we moved across the floor, and I have to say, I’m inspired to make a piece that is just dancers crossing each other’s paths. It was lovey, just lovely to see everyone within his or her own stylistic element. By far, one of the greatest auditioning experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Maurice, yours is the one to beat.

So the piece is casted, and now the work begins. Lots of material ladies and gentlemen, lots of intricate and FIERCE material. Ohhhhh everyone in that room just ate that phrasing up. All of us dancers were straight eating out of the palm of this guy’s hand like goats at a petting zoo. I won’t give it away, but for those of you that have already seen or danced in the piece, you know that when I say we’re animals you don’t want to mess with, I mean it. 

I witnessed so much growth in every dancer, including myself, while working with Maurice. He has this ability to just pull tenacity and passion out of each movement you make, right down to your fingertips. And there’s a hunger to push your body further that is created by moving in this way.  

Not only are you inspired to push the dynamics of what you’re doing; you’re surrounded with an energy that is nothing but supreme and sassy. This man has so much spunk, and he’s so willing to share it with absolutely everyone in the room. One of the first things he ever said to us was “First thing’s first, I’m the realest.” Yes. The man quoted our dear Iggy and gave life to all of us (as well as a few dance party breaks to let our freak flags fly. Thanks for that Mr. Causey. It was just what the doctor ordered.) The guy aint lying either- what you see is certainly what you get. And from what I can tell, he certainly expects the exact same from all of the dancers that he works with. I may be tooting the biggest horn for our department, but you’d be trippin’ if you denied that we really are “Da Realest” with a capital “D.” I say it article after article- seriously I could just copy and paste paragraphs about it- but I am never short of amazed and astounded by the work and dedication that surrounds me every day.

There’s nothing like being praised for being who you are within your own craft, and that’s what we experienced while working with this incredible artist. There was such an appreciation for choices that we made within the dancing, and a willingness to pull out everything that each dancer has to offer. We have the sweat stains and bruises to prove it, and I’m sure none of us would trade them for anything more. If there’s one thing that I was able to conclude during the past ten days it’s that in whatever you attempt, be the realest, and work dammit, WERK.