Behind the Scenes at Radio City Music Hall

I don’t know about you, but my average Tuesday usually looks like this:

Research. Papers. Reading. Teach. Papers. Dance (time and stupidly expensive class rate permitting) Papers.

Life of a grad school student, right? However, my spring semester and first year are all sewn up which left time this past Tuesday for something a little different…

Performing at the 2017 Steinhardt Valedictory Ceremony at Radio City Music Hall.

23 Alumni from the Studies Abroad program in Uganda (plus Daria, who will go next year!) performed a piece with drumming, dancing, and some spectacular singing. I’ve wanted to see/ dance on this stage since I was an 11-year-old musical theater geek perfoming in the ‘Rockettes Spectacular” at the Muny Opera in St. Louis and met the famous kickline.

The costumes are authentic Ugandan, brought by our guest artist, the amazing Godfrey Muwulya.

laying out costumes in rehearsal at Steinhardt

For the women, It’s a 7 layer 2 person process of:

  1. leggings/ tank top
  2. cap sleeve empire waist dress
  3. the skirt- which is a flat piece of fabric which is wrapped by a partner while you stand in a wide second and hold the top edges
  4. a piece of string/rope/whatever you can find to tie around the waist, then the top half of the fabric which you are holding up by your chin is folded down
  5. a beaded fringe flap of fabric on your backside, tied around your waist
  6. a white sash, tied with a single knot  around the waist
  7. a layer of animal fur (I think mine was yak. or llama. or they swept all of the cat hair off my floor) placed on top of the fringe-y piece, tied underneath the white sash, with the sash then knotted on top
  8. beautiful beaded chokers which were way too tight for a lot of people (who needs to breath? amateurs!)
  9. either a beaded or braided piece of fabric tied around the forehead

* I don’t know how many layers the men had, their toga-style tunics looked much more breezy and they had those cool hats. Someone is jealous of those hats.

Here are a few things I learned about Radio City as a performing venue:

It is huge. So many tiers out in the balcony and so many spotlights. The better for the audience to see us, and the better to be blinded by, my dear.

The stage was wood and had a lot of indented lines. I’m wondering if they put down special flooring, depending on the act.

Security is STRICT! But I did get an awesome all-access VIP pass that I most certainly kept. Let’s hope I can use it again sometime in the future.

Another lesson- take your own pictures so that you don’t steal all of Daria’s via facebook

Incredible friends and artists. Thankful for the chance to perform with these people and to honor those graduating. Fingers crossed, that will be me in a year’s time.

More on Uganda:

More on NYU

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