Hi, it’s me again, Skye Anderson. I just love being a Chorus Girl, the definition of which is “a female dancer in a theatrical chorus.” So that means there must be Chorus Boys as well, right? Yes, there are, but they are often known simply as dancers, rather than Chorus Boys, because Chorus Boy is not a term that is respectful of the work and effort that goes into being part of an on-stage dance troupe in a musical on Broadway.
That goes for the term Chorus Girl as well. As a group, we find that term demeaning. It’s not really indicative of the hours of practice we put in, or the exercise and the diets that we regularly undertake to keep our silhouettes looking slim and a good match for the tone and style of the production.
How did I get the job, you may wonder? I’ve always kept up my dance classes and I’m not such a bad singer. A group of five of my theatre colleagues and I were dragged away from a dance class and auditioned as “Chorus Girls” for one of the top shows. As a hint, let’s just say that CZJ and RZ have both played starring roles in this musical.
So, now I’m a dancer in a show and a lucky one at that. There are very few dancers working on Broadway right now, maybe as few as eighty or ninety, or even fewer. Times have changed so much since the days of the Ziegfeld Follies. We aren’t just attractive ladies, filling in our days and looking for a Sugar Daddy. We are professionals who perform very dynamic choreography and who are part of a team. We are expected to perform whether we are feeling completely well or not. Most of us are not married, nor do we have children or consider having them. It’s a competitive business and if dancing is what we do best, when the show is over, we may become unemployed.
Mostly we associate with members of theatrical companies. It becomes difficult to find friends from amongst people who earn their living far from the lights of the stage. Dancers and other theatre people understand each other well. We can talk shop endlessly and support each other during hard times. The camaraderie is a fantastic part of my life as a dancer. The hours I keep are back-to-front too, as I usually emerge from my bed at around midday, when I seek nothing but a strong cup of java to get my adrenaline going before the next rehearsal.
We are on stage six nights a week, for about 4 hours per night. My salary is not the highest at $600.00 per week, but I feel happy. I’m doing work I love and I’m not disillusioned – being in a big Broadway show is fantastic even in the 21st century.
What do I love the most? Besides, the fantastic friendships I love the enjoyment of the audience. It’s great to see them moved by a scene, a dance or a song. Sometimes we do change lives, I believe, even if only in the short term. Everyone appreciates the beauty of a good performance or even a night of living vicariously by stepping out in someone else’s shoes. That’s what we give to the audience as dancers in the theater. This is my life and I love it.