When I walked into the studio, I didn’t expect to be working as hard as I did, but the performers of Hamilton work hard, and in turn they worked us hard.
The masterclass was taught by Tyler McKenzie, a Hamilton cast member performing at the Majestic this year. We had started with simple breathing, in and out, palms up and silent as we got into the class, but then, the real warm-ups started.
Our warm-ups were planks–lots and lots of planks. We would hold, then lift one arm, then lift the other, lift a leg and lift the other, one at a time. Soon, we lifted one arm and leg and switched back and forth. I realized quickly how much I needed to work on planks because even a few days after, I felt the burn.
We started with simple spotting when it came to turns, but it was very brief. This class was fast-paced and almost nothing was broken down. McKenzie had broken us into small groups to do combinations like quick grapevines and chaines. Even with dancing experience, they were fast for me. After the first combination, we switched sides with the second combination, turning to each wall as we turned.
I loved it. It was like a real masterclass, like the classic ones in New York, where everything is quick, people are separated into groups and given combinations.
Once I got past the warm-up, everything was okay. The warm-ups were probably the hardest part of the whole workshop.
I was critiqued a few times when I had done my chaine turns, just to keep my arms level. Arms were always an issue with me, but I got it and moved on. Mackenzie was very forgiving. To anyone that was new to the dancing world, he never got angry. He simply smiled and kept going.
We started choreography, part of the “Room Where it Happened” dance. We started in the song where the lyrics go, “What do you want Burr?” over and over again. It was only thirty seconds of choreo, but it was very technical. The smallest movements made the biggest difference.
Again, McKenzie split us into groups to break down the choreography and see us perform it. Facials were a huge part of the performance and choreography. By the end of the workshop, Mackenzie had started saying, “all of the company come out.” I found that a huge compliment, as he called us a company, like the Hamilton touring company.
At the end, there was a question and answer session. There, McKenzie had given advice to those wanting to go into the musical theatre business and just advice in general. He had given information about his life and how he got where he did.
He told us some of the best truths I knew, like, “Be nice to everyone, because it’s a small world, and you never know who they are and when you will meet them again. People talk to each other and that person that you were mean to at the coffee shop could be the person you’re auditioning for. They will remember you.”
He’s not going to teach the next workshop, but the next teacher is equally as good and she will teach something different and new.
This workshop is a once in a lifetime experience, just make sure to bring clothes you can work out in, and some tennis shoes(maybe dance shoes).
The next workshop is Saturday, May 18, followed by the last workshop on May 25. Click the link below to register for the class and learn something you’ll never forget.