Storytime: The time the lights went out

An African American woman with long, straight hair worn half up, half down dressed in a leopard print jacket over a black corset with denim shorts and snake-skin-print over the knee boots poses with one leg up on a trash can.


I have a lot of stories from my time as a swing and my theatre career in general. And most of them are close calls that ended up being kinda funny and low-stress in the end. 

This is not one of those stories…

I was on tour with Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. We were in Denver and I was on in a track I didn’t cover very often. The show had been going pretty smoothly the audience was great. 

It was everything you could ask for from a swing-in you’re only feeling 85% confident about. 

We get to Bad Girls. And there’s a section of choreography where most of the women as leaving for a quick change, but a few dancers have an extra few 8’s of movement downstage of that exit. AKA at the very front of the stage. 

This little bit at the end of the scene contained two of the fastest pirouettes I’ve ever been paid to do in street shoes, which I already don’t love, but I especially don’t love it when I’m two steps away from falling offstage. 

Needless to say, that section made me super nervous every time.

So I’m getting into it. I prep for my turns. I’m spotting this pink light on a boom in front of the proscenium on the stage left side. I get through my first pirouette and everything is fine. I do my second turn and I am no longer spotting the pink light. 

Now listen, I’m not the strongest turner so this wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility, but it was unusual that it just wasn’t where I left it when I turned my head to spot.

But we keep going. I do probably another four counts of movement before I realize it’s not just the pink light that’s missing. 

All of the lights are off in the theatre.

In fact, all of the lights had gone off on the block, which of course I didn’t know until we held the show and got back into the wings.

I had just been casually dancing in the dark from the start of that second turn. Not a care in the world. Just assumed I was losing it.

It ended up being about a half hour before they could turn the lights back on and we could continue the show. And thankfully, we started from after that part in the number since so many of us had made the quick change already.

But it is absolutely terrifying to think I was just going for it in the dark. Muscle memory is no joke, y’all.

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