Ship Shape Vacation

Just returned from a seven-day cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Sea!  It is the largest cruise ship afloat with 16 floors of state rooms, and what felt like miles of deck and of course, never-ending food choices.

What does a dance teacher do on a cruise?….you guessed it…..watch the shows!   What does a dance judge do?….critique them!  It’s an occupational hazard!

The first night brought the musical “Hairspray” in the Opal Theater.  The theater itself is amazing…not a bad seat in the house!  The cast was vocally talented and did the entire show without intermission.  The dancing, although not a sharp and energetic as I’m used to in the competitive dance world was fun and moved the story along well.  Act Two was my favorite with a wonderful rendition of “You’re Timeless to Me”, a very entertaining duet by Edna and Wilber and a moving “I  Know Where I’ve Been” by Motor Mouth Maybelle…without a doubt, the best voice on the ship..which she proved again as the featured singer  during 70’s night on the Promenade!

Next we sat on the back deck at the huge outdoor aqua theater to see the high diving, acrobatic, water ballet, aerial show, Oasis of Dreams.  Although I could not for the life of me figure out what the story was about (and I went back to the show again to try to do just that!)…the talent of the cast was undeniable!  I’m not sure what kind of crazy it takes for men to dive from a 60 foot platform  into a tiny pool on a swaying cruise ship..but I’m glad they did it!   It was an attempt at a Cirque du Soleil type story loosely based around a girl and a yellow umbrella. If you’ve seen “O”, it has the same rising and falling stage that allows the artist to sometimes walk on or rise from the water with support divers underwater to allow the performers to stay under for impossible lengths of time or disappear through underwater doors.    The dancing was extremely basic and looked very strained, but the cast was chosen for their specialty skills and those skills were magnificent.  Although we saw a few stage crew in black moving props within plain sight, the rigging was done really well.

The same performers did a more light hearted comedy show at the end of the week that I actually enjoyed a little more.

The best show..without a doubt was the “Come Fly With Me”!  Full disclosure insists that I admit to knowing the choreographer/aerial designer of the show; Jeremy Plummer (C5 from Chicago) but the show is unbelievable.  The stage and theater are designed to support the show and the talent, thrills and special effects never stop!   The featured aerial duet was breathtaking!  I especially enjoyed the “Workin’ Day and Night/Upside Down” section with moving staircases, mirror image aerial work and trap doors.  The life sized plane that came on stage for “Swing Swing Swing” was totally impressive and featured a tap section by 6 dancers on the wings.  The dancers could have had a bit more fun with the tap section.  They appeared to have tap as a second or third dance language…but jumping off the wings into trap doors in the floor at the end was a fun surprise.  I went back to this one twice and found that the show is wonderfully consistent and had so much going on that I felt like I saw a completely different show!  Congrats to Jeremy and his terrifically talented, highly international cast!

“Frozen in Time” was the onboard ice skating show.  It is based on the stories of Hans Christian Anderson and was really fun to see.   It features two “sand drawing” artists…which is almost impossible to describe but absolutely captivating.  The skaters were talented and again, considering that the boat is constantly moving side to side and up and down, the partner work and leaps were great!  I think the girls being held over head by one arm on a moving ship should date the high dive guys….they have a lot of crazy in common!  There was something for everyone and the kids at the show had a really great time!

We also went to all the comedy shows both in the small comedy theater and the family show in the Opal Theater.  We had a great time at each show and found the two featured comics to be especially talented at finding comedy in the responses of the audience they were talking to.  Very quick on the draw and great comedic timing.

The improvisational comedy team made up of the characters from Hairspray were good too.  I’ve always enjoyed that style of humor and they work together well through a variety of improv “games”.

I sunk my toes into the white sand of three different beaches and had chocolate eclairs and white wine in the French village of Margot on the beautiful island of Saint-Martin.  The weather was perfect and was nearly impossible to leave!

It’s gonna take a while to recover from the buffets, snack venues and drinks of the day, but it was a great vacation that I would recommend to any exhausted dance teacher.

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