Subways Are For Dancing – Part 5

November 30, 2009

(This is the fifth installment–check out the
, second, third and fourth–in a six-week series about choreographer Diego Funes’ work on a NYC revival of the musical
Subways Are For Sleeping. Stay tuned for more!)

Last week a very focused Diego Funes, who is choreographing a NYC revival of Subways Are For Sleeping, invited the cast to an extra rehearsal to polish the show’s final big number, “What is this Feeling in the Air.” The choreography includes lots of step ball changes and sweeping arm movements as the characters weave into various patterns while they sing. The piece occurs at an important turning point in the story, when the chorus affirms the leading lady’s realization that she has fallen in love. It’s a joyful and emotional number, and Diego wants his dancers to play it up to the max–despite the tiny space they’ll be performing in.

At sixteen by nine feet, the stage calls for a “less is more” approach. Nevertheless, Diego draws upon an assortment of dance genres to express his characters’ emotional states and move the story forward. “We are doing very well for such a tiny space,” asserts Diego. “I’ve kept the choreography simple, but it’s effective. It creates emotion and atmosphere.” In addition to the last showstopping number, there’s also a soft shoe solo, a sweeping romantic duet and a Tangoesque comedic duet, an ensemble number that creates the exhilarating effect of bustling through the New York subways, and a multiple Santa extravaganza.

Recently, the cast had its first full run-through on the stage. The affection Diego has developed for them is evident in his broad smile. “The opening number was excellent,” he gushes. “The ensemble was super tight. Not a single mistake. And the lead and second couples are amazing triple threats.”

“I’m sending my best energy to opening night,” Diego says. “They have all done so much in very little time.”

Subways Are For Sleeping will be playing November 1-2 and 8-11 at The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street, New York City. For more information, click here.