Lauren Curley: Tour Life
Greetings from the road! My name is Lauren and I’m in my sixth season with RDT. This month, I had the pleasure of heading out on two different tours throughout Idaho, Utah, and Nevada with RDT.
Our travels started off in Eagle, ID with a teaching tour that myself, Elle Johansen, and Nick Cendese went on. Most of the time when we go on tour the full company comes, but occasionally we’ll head out in smaller groups and focus more on outreach than on performances. Thanks to the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Rachel Swenson we spent a week in Eagle teaching at arts-focused elementary, middle, and high schools.
A big part of our jobs with RDT is teaching, and it’s always fun to be working with the kids in such a creative way. We taught creative movement classes, ran school-wide assemblies about the elements of dance, and also choreographed on the middle and high school dancers. It was a busy, fulfilling week!
After our week in Eagle, we rejoined the rest of the company in Salt Lake City for a few days of rehearsals and outreach in the Utah schools before the full company left for another tour. This time we headed out for a much longer length of time… sixteen days to be exact! It can be really challenging packing and preparing for such a long tour.
Before we leave there’s a lot of preparation. Most of us have pets and have to organize a pet sitter, take time off of our other jobs, grocery shop for items that we can travel with, pack clothes and scrounge up quarters to do laundry in the hotel… the list can get pretty long! Because I’m a driver for the tour vans, I also picked up one of our two rental cars the night before we left so that we could get an early start in the morning.
We began our tour in Kanab, UT with a fun weekend full of lecture demonstrations in the schools, and several different performances. We generally tour different shows depending on where we’re going, and this tour was no exception. We performed our children’s show “Voyage” for several hundred school children throughout the area and also had an evening show featuring works from our two most recent concerts. Oftentimes when we perform on tour, we’re on stages that are different sizes or shapes from what we’re used to so we’ll go into the theater a few hours early and have a technical rehearsal where we figure out spacing, entrances, and exits.
Then it’s time for us to warm up and get ready for the show. I like to revisit company class combinations that I’ve taught in the past so that I have a structured warm up that’s familiar in my body. I’ll also mix in a little bit of conditioning and stretching as well. It can be difficult to keep your body from getting stiff when you’re in the car so much and aren’t taking regular classes so I usually like to go hiking and take yoga classes when we’re on the road. Some of the other company members will use the hotel gym, go swimming, or even exercise in their hotel rooms. Since we were in Kanab, I took advantage of the weather and location and went hiking in Zion National Park. It’s always such a treat to be in cool locations on tour!
After Kanab we spent a week in St. George. In St George our schedule was similar to Kanab. We had lecture demonstrations, taught classes in the schools, and worked on choreography. We had a wonderful residency at Dixie State University where some of the company members taught technique classes and our Artistic Associate and Development Director Nick choreographed a piece on the dance majors.
View this post on Instagram
One night only in St. George, Utah! Tonight we will be performing with @3hattrio LIVE along with students from the Dixie State University Dance Department! . January 23, 2020 | 7:30 PM | Cox Performing Arts Center . Here is a sneak peak of the show from when the company were in tech rehearsal. . #rdtutah #danceutah #stgeorge #3hattrio #dsu #dancedepartment #dixiestate #utahdance
We were super lucky to have an evening show featuring live music by 3hattrio at DSU as well. Hal, Greg, and Eli of 3hattrio are amazing artists, and we were so fortunate to work with them. In our downtime in St George I was able to visit Bryce National Park and Zion National Park for some more hiking. I found a wonderful yoga studio to take class every day and our hotel even had bikes to rent. And of course, a relaxing tour wouldn’t be complete without some soaking in the hot tub!
View this post on Instagram
The company had the day off from tour and some of them decided to go to Zion National Park and hike Observation Point via East Mesa Trail and the Riverside Walk in The Narrows! The view was incredible! . . #RDTonTour #rdtutah #hike #StGeorge #ZionNationalPark #TheNarrows #ObservationPoint #EastMesaTrail #RiversideWalk
After St George we headed south again, this time to Las Vegas. We had an incredible time teaching and performing in the schools in the surrounding area. We also got to do another show of “Voyage” at the Clark County Library. It was really fun to present the show for a more adult audience than normal. “Voyage” is designed for children and focuses on the history of world dance but it’s also really accessible for parents and adults to enjoy. We had a really warm and wonderful audience, which was such a treat. This year, we stayed on the Strip, which gave us easy access to explore all of the unique restaurants and sights that the city had to offer.
Last, but certainly not least, we finished our tour with a stop in Cedar City. Because we were only there for a night we only did lecture demonstrations in the schools. We got to visit three wonderful elementary schools before hopping back on the road to head home. After living out of suitcases for the last sixteen days, I know I speak for all of us when I say that we’re thrilled to be heading back home! We’ll take a little break from traveling for the next few weeks and then head back out on the road again in March so be on the lookout for company class and performances until we leave again.
Until next time!
Lauren Curley began her training in Lowell, Massachusetts at Walker’s Dance. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Hartford with a BFA in Dance Performance. In addition to performing, Lauren teaches at Creative Arts Academy and is a certified barre instructor at The Dailey Method. This is her sixth season with Repertory Dance Theatre.