Rehearsals Day 20 – Kiss today goodbye…

We gave our “show off” of Destination Dance today – so as it’s likely that has been put to bed for a while, I thought now would be a good opportunity to include some more piccies.

Obviously, trying to do a bit of a David Bailey (or was it Bellamy?!) means that I don’t get the chance to snap during all the numbers – or ANY that I’m in… so here’s a selection of some that I have managed!



(Here’s Sara being flung around by Scott and Daniel during the jive number…)






(… and then Scott doing something similar to Holly in the Irish.)

(Whoever would have thought we’d end up with the Virgin Mary’s sister in rehearsals!)

(Something very spooky happening to Valerie’s head…)

(A lot of skirt action in the Bolero)

(Valerie getting to grips with her hips…)

(A little slice of Africa in south London)

(Feeling it – Sara strikes a pose)

(As if we were in Spain… thanks Steph!)

(Neil giving it “Latin” in his big head…)

(Daniel showing the girls the RIGHT way to wear a dress…)

(Dom unconvinced as Charles and I have a moment)

(A little last minute revision of ‘Nightingale’ with Leigh)

Rehearsals Day 19 – Where is it all going…

The time, that is. I can’t believe that we’re already into week 4 of rehearsals…. how with THAT happen?

My slightly ‘sporadic’ posting during last week was down to nothing more than tiredness and lethargy on my part. It was a hectic week with lots going on, and it clearly took it’s toll on my ability to do very much in the evenings at all – other than stretch out my aching bones!!

Last week, once we had given our “show off” of Destination Dance and some snippits of Hitsville USA to the powers that be, we started off with our next show – New York City Rhythm. Another doozy, with some great songs, and some pretty funky dance moves from Richard – our illustrious choreographer for the show. This one is also a little different as there is an original story running through the show, linked together with scripted passages and scenes – nice to have something to get your teeth into.

As we have a big “show off” for even MORE people from head office tomorrow, we spent today working through and cleaning Destination Dance, with some minor re-shaping and adjustments to make sure the show is “just so”. This does appear to involve some fairly full on “flesh on leather” action (don’t panic- it’s nothing dubious – think more panto than porno!) – but nothing we can’t handle.

We should also be getting hold of some of the props and ‘accessories’ that we will be using in the show from tomorrow, so it’ll be great to start to get used to using those. And Neil and I got a sneak preview of our big heads (no comments please…) that we will be sporting for the opening section. Photos to follow 🙂

Rehearsals Day 15 – Ease on down the road

Ouch… everything is aching now. I’m sure in some way it’s good for me… but I’m yet to be convinced by that!! I think perhaps after a hot bath I may feel differently 🙂

It’s been a day of cleaning and running “Destination Dance” today, with a little “Hitsville USA” thrown in. We’ve set the whole of the dance show now, which is nice to be able to get a feel for the whole thing. And of course we need to get used to doing it repeatedly, as once we’re on board any evening we are performing we will be doing the show 3 times. That’s should certainly help with the keeping fit!

We will be showing the material we’ve learned to some visitors from “the office” (as in our bosses, and not the TV sitcom!) tomorrow, so we have been polishing the various sections, and also smartening up the Motown numbers we worked on during the first week. It seems like a lifetime ago already…

I took a few photos yesterday, but you’ll have to wait for those until I retrieve my cable to get them online. I know – I am normally a little more organised.. maybe next week?

Rehearsals Day 13 – A little bit of Africa

OK. So it is still a bit chilly – hardly some sub-Saharan savannah; nor is it really anywhere near the equator – more like Kennington, but we have been trying to bring a little bit of Africa to rehearsals today. We’re working on the next number in ‘Destination Dance‘, and for much of the day we have been singing Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala – which for those of you who are not fluent in Zulu translates as:

A Lion and a Leopard come to this open place

So there! In case you come on board and see the show, you will now be able to impress you fellow audience members with your vast linguistic knowledge. Definitely something to amaze and astound people with over dinner!

The dancers have been hammering through the numbers in the show, finishing off the Bolero number, a bit of leaping and stomping in the Lion King number, and putting together the final bits of the Irish section. Bless them – they’ve been taking in a lot over the past few days!

As we will be showing the ‘powers that be’ some of the material we covered thus far, we had a good run through our Motown show “Hitsville USA” with Sarah giving us some help and cleaning up what we’d done. And it also gave Neil a chance to have a real go at it, as he missed out on those rehearsals at the start.

So we have a couple of days of cleaning up and perfecting (well, you know what I mean!) the dance show before showing it off and then moving on up to the next one. No rest for the wicked 🙂

Rehearsals Day 12 – Piling it on…

Yes – I know there was no “Day 11”, but you’ll have to get used to that. I was far too tired to write anything on Friday night!!

Today was the last day of week 2, and we are getting towards the end of “Destination Dance” – just a couple of numbers to get through now. A lot of the day was taken up with the guys learning the Bolero section (which I don’t feature heavily in… probably for the best!) and then doing a run through for Steve of everything we’ve done on the show so far.

I can’t deny feeling a few aches and pains on getting up and travelling into work over the past couple of days – it’s my age, clearly! I think mainly brought on by the hoe-down stuff we’ve been doing. Oddly, it’s actually only about 3 minutes of material, but feels like much longer when you’re in the middle of it and the legs are having difficulty keeping up with the brain, which is having difficulty keeping up with the music. It’ll get better I’m sure, but I am slightly worried that with all that concentration going on I had the classic “rabbit in the headlights” face on for most of it!

(OK… Rabbit, Monkey – same difference! )

A couple more days on this show for next week, and then – following another run through of the show – we will be moving onto the next one. Crikey. 3rd show in as many weeks. No chance to get bored that’s for sure!

Rehearsals Day 10 – Everything’s upside down

Mainly Sara, Scott & Neil as it happens! I feared for a short time that it was going to be me – but managed to persuade Rob that my talents would be much better employed dangling poor Scott by his ankles, head-first over the floor.

Scott and Neil were being dangled (Daniel was being Neil’s ‘dangler’!) in our number from ‘The Producers’. It’s fab doing a number from a show you’ve been in, and seeing done in a different way. There may not be any Adolf Pigeons in this one, but there’s a few surprises… of course including Valerie!

The next bit of “upside down” work was from our very own Sara, who was held aloft by Scott and Daniel for what seems an age during the Jive number – yes, another dance! If the look on her face following the ‘dismount’ was anything to go by, she had a whale of time!!

Charles & I spent the rest of the afternoon bombarding poor Neil with music and choreography from Hitsville USA, so he has a slight head-start when it comes to learning it. Yes, so what if it brought on a headache – it’s all worth it 😉

Rehearsals Day 9 – Will drive you Maaaaaaad!

Today has been an odd one, it has to be said. More snow traumas for everyone trying to get into rehearsals for a start. It’s tad boring now! And it really makes you yearn to be sailing away on the Azura somewhere warm…. ahhhhh.
Also,  our Ashley has moved onto a different ship (no, not ‘The Great Cruise Ship in the Sky’ – it’s not THAT serious!), so we had our Neil joining us today. Bless them both. But I guess things in life are sent to test you, so you bite the biscuit, pick yourself up, wake up and smell the coffee, knuckle down, buckle under, shake rattle and roll, and weave a tangled web. No… wait – I think I’ve mixed my metaphors somehow…
Anyway. On with the show. Rob is putting the dancers through their paces this week (well, it is the dance show after all!) and we got some time to go over stuff with Neil – as he has a week’s worth of material to catch up with. We’ve got quite a way through “Destination Dance” now, and covered a fair few dance styles already. (Shimmying-around-in-an-oversized-head” style is currently my personally favourite!)
(La, la, la, la, la, laa-la… etc. the guys having a little ‘rest’ after the Can-Can)
Our “scrunchy” vocal version of ‘A Nightingale Sang…’ will be gorgeous (when we nail the lyrics!) and the girls are gliding around behind us – almost literally – and making us look pretty, which is never a bad thing! Should be a lovely moment.
And then they up the ante when Emma & Neil and the rest of the gang with something a little more up tempo. I think we’re busy changing into Laderhosen at that point (don’t ask!)
(Neil & Emma giving us their routine)
We finished off the day with a run-through of everything we’ve done so far on this show. Quite exciting really – until it hits you how much we’ve still got to learn, as we’re only on show 2!! Eeek….

Rehearsals Day 8 – Scrunchy

That’s a reference to our harmonies – and nothing to do with our costumes (I hope…).

We spent the bulk of today revising the work we’d started with Leigh yesterday on ‘Destination Dance’, and on our close-harmony ‘ Nightingale’ – which is going to be awesome (even if I do say so myself!). Dominic is involved in this one, with Steph, Sara and myself. So we disappeared off and learned our individual lines separately and then slowly built it up, adding each of us until we were all in the mix. And it’s fab; and tight; and scrunchy – mmmmmm!

The dancers had been working on the next number to follow the carnivalistic (I believe I may  have made that word up!) opening, which is a slightly sexier one – you’ll have to wait and see what it is. Needless to say,  Valerie is once again doing her special ‘thang’, and the boys are doing their utmost to keep it sexy. No comment.

Rob asked us to take a look at the finale of the show (which involves the stuff the dancers had been working on during their trip away… and no I’m not bitter) which will eventually involve all of us flinging our legs – but I may be foregoing the pleasure in this case, and leave it to the youngsters. We’ll see… perhaps I may be flown in for it… 🙂

For some reason, I didn’t take any snaps today – so I’ll try and remedy that tomorrow.

Rehearsals Day 7 – A new week – a new show!

So that’s it – we’ve moved on! Hitsville USA is in the “ongoing” pile, and our next show – Destination Dance is at the top of the agenda. (Don’t believe what hear that where the Singer’s dancing is concerned it has been nicknamed ‘dance disaster’ – that’s a cruel rumour!)

(Valerie doing what she does best!)

The Dancers have returned from their sojourn to the outer reaches of Greater London and are back from their extended weekend break. Not that we’re bitter… It’s great to have people back in the same place – Alford House was a little empty last week without them. Quieter, true, but empty nonetheless.

And today is the FIRST time the whole Azura Headliners cast has been together. Daniel has finished his Panto up in Derby (yep – it would have been a little too far for him to travel each day!) and Natalie has joined us ( – having only auditioned and got the part on Saturday… good girl!) we we’re complete. Hurrah!

And no sooner had we all met together at last – than we all scampered off our separate ways to start working on the new material; singers to your singing room; dancers to your mirrors.

(Steph takes to the stage, have done a shimmy or two with her ‘dancer boys’ [and doesn’t she love it!] and the girls join to do her number.)

There is a little less material for us singers to do in this show, as it’s the dancers’ showcase. So it’ll great to have the chance to see a bit of what they’ve been doing as well.  The show combines some classic dance music, some musical theatre, some film music and some good ‘ole Rock & Roll 🙂 We will be getting the chance to do some really exciting close-harmony work on a version of “A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square” … but we’re saving that for tomorrow!!

(The dancers get to grips with some Carnival…)
And to finish off the day, Ashley and I were put into the opening number… and forewarned about the big Brazilian Carnival costumes we will have coming our way – comedy! Shimmying to my heart’s content 🙂 I can’t wait until there are some photos of that to show you!

Rehearsals Day 6 – It’s like a Heatwave…

OK – so it’s NOT like a heatwave, it’s still blinking freezing – but anyhow!

Final day of the first week, so we’ve been adding on the choreography for a few numbers in Hitsville USA and smartening up the bits we’ve already learned.

(Here’s Charles and Sara ‘bumping’ their way through “Heatwave”)

Charles has been given a chance  to make use of his long legs, and has been taking over the mantle of ‘dancer boy’ for the girl’s numbers. Lucky him (and lucky them, of course!)

We’ll be moving onto a new show next week, which will be quite weird when it feels like we’ve only just started on THIS one! There’s still a bit more to learn, so we will no doubt be coming back to it again soon… fingers crossed!

(Sara getting the low-down on some of next week’s music from Leigh)

The Dancers have had the day off today (lucky buggers – school trip, hotel stays, exciting “off site pre-production work” (are you getting the idea with that yet?!), meals out, comedy paint effect… for some of them anyhow 😉 Sounds like lots of fun to me – when’s our trip away?

Following the now almost daily trip to Tescos (eeek – that has got to stop!) we spent some time during the afternoon working on the Smokey Robinson section, which gives Ashley the chance to do his ‘thang’.

(If you look closer it’s easy to trace the tracks of his tears, ya know!)


With a quick look at the last number, the whole show is finally coming together. It’ll be fab once we can get the last few bits sorted and try the WHOLE thing. We’ve also been working with some tracks of the original artists, which has been helpful to get the feel of the styles and rifs and ‘interpretation’ – so now we need to do our versions. I am sure they will be definitive… in one way or another!!

And yet again, to end the day, I got over excited by some of the material in the next show – Destination Dance. Admittedly the ‘dance’ bit will not be down to us so much (!) but there are some great numbers in it – and a little bit of comedy to boot… watch this space 🙂

(Charles and Sarah discussing the finer points of the Motown era…)