Gotta rave about a movie we saw last night. Every Little Step is a documentary, on the face of it, about hundreds of dancers who came to New York to audition for the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. So, of course, it’s got singing and dancing. But it’s so much more than that. Our friends, Dionne and Steve, who went with us, avid hikers not runners, also saw parallels between what the dancers do and what we go through to run.
Some dancers showed up just to be able to say they’d had a Broadway audition, knowing from the start they’d go no further. They stood in line, waited their turn and gave it a try with no thought of winning or even making the finals. Three thousand hopefuls quickly got cut to a couple of hundred. These were all pretty good, and most had some Broadway experience. They’d already spent so much time, energy and focus getting ready, getting this far but it wasn’t enough. Over the next few months they trained together, practicing, getting it right and doing it again. They’d be tested soon, to show in a moment or two what they could and could not do. They’d put it all on the line, like a time trial. They’d perform briefly, judged by a few knowledgeable people, with nowhere to hide. For each role there could only be one winner.
The documentary also showed a few members, cast and crew, of the original Broadway production. Now, almost 30 years later, they focused on two of the women dancers from that original cast. Like older athletes who’d once been someone, they’d slowed somewhat, put on a few pounds but still could move and were still involved with this production.
As the young dancers were interviewed we saw their passion, heard about the pressures they faced, and felt their drive to win a starting role. And watched the tricks the mind plays, those doubts, questions, and second thoughts. They talked about their hours of practice and training, injuries they overcame, setbacks they conquered, all this for a few moments to shine. They talked about how few understood this focus, or shared their obsession.
Most, then, were good but may not be good enough to make the semi-finals as the group got cut further. We saw the competition between various performers vying for a particular role. It was hard to tell who would finally win. Who would be at their best when it counted, and not let a niggling injury or doubt return?
But it certainly seems to be about athletes, like many of us, who have a passion, a goal, that we train for. That no one else seems to understand or care about. We go on, practice, train, rehearse, test our bodies all to get ready to make the next cut and then hopefully to make the finals. To finish a race, win a medal or become a champion. And Every Little Step gets us closer to our goal.
Larry Barnum writes and edits for WomenRunningTogether. Visit our website http://www.women-running-together.com/ for running tips and support. It’s where the beginner runner, the social jogger and the experienced competitor can share the joy, and occasional frustration of running.
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