The Old Man and the Beard (part 1)
Around September last year, Shen Yun’s three companies were regrouped, and I was switched from Shen Yun’s International Company to New York Company.
For many, this was a very sentimental experience. On the night of the big shuffle there were cheers, hugs and tears, but I didn’t think much of it and just decided to follow the natural flow of things. Although sometimes I miss the guys from my former company whom I’ve lived, traveled, rehearsed, performed, practiced, sweated, cried and laughed with for the past two years, I know fully well that when the tour season’s over, we’ll still see each other every day on campus, we’ll still play cards together on Monday nights and we’ll still fight over the only working microwave in the kitchen.
Being in a new company turned out to be a completely new experience for me: It meant training, rehearsing and ultimately touring and living with a different group of dancers, musicians and production members. It meant new responsibilities and challenges. It meant that the promise of “I’ll-be-back-hopefully-this-year-to-perform-in-Europe” that I’ve been making to friends and family back in England will be once again broken—for the third straight year!—as my group is touring North America this season. It also meant opportunities to play at some very prestigious venues like Lincoln Centre in N.Y. and the Kennedy Opera House in DC.
One thing didn't change though—I was still the tallest guy in the class, though not as outstandingly tall anymore.
I also took over as one of two Male Hairpiece Managers, whose responsibilities include fixing, storing, adjusting, name-tagging, packing, unpacking, counting, recounting and accounting for all the hairpieces, and carrying them from the hairpiece department to every dress rehearsal and back again. On tour we just try our best to keep the hairpieces alive and not smelling too bad from all the sweat.
Last and least of all, I didn't have any more lead roles.
Why least of all? Because compared to the new responsibilities and the importance of every show we perform, which position I was in was the last thing on my mind.
(to be continued…)