Vocal Performance Undergrads Treated to “Hamilton” Dance Lesson

NYU Steinhardt News

Vocal Performance Undergrads Treated to “Hamilton” Dance Lesson

Nearly 100 undergraduate Vocal Performance students, dressed in leggings, t-shirts, and bare feet, gathered in a dance studio during their weekly Program Meeting to learn the moves to the central chorus of “My Shot,” from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Their instructors were Hamilton’s Dance Captains, Morgan Marcell and Voltaire Wade-Greene.

For the first hour, the students, who are studying both Music Theatre and Classical Voice, learned and practiced the choreography. Though many of them had never seen the musical, they were familiar with its music, especially with this song. The pace of the lesson was fast, similar to that of an audition. As they perfected aspects of the routine, the students were visibly proud and excited. They were supportive of each other and applauded one another throughout the class as they practiced jumps and turns.

Marcell and Wade-Greene were invited to NYU Steinhardt by Dr Ana Flavia Zuim, the new director of the Program in Vocal Performance who is also the Rehearsal Pianist for Hamilton.

The workshop was followed by a Q&A with Wade-Greene and Marcell. The guests spoke about feeling proud of the musical and the strides it has made in changing the face of Broadway. They discussed their respective career paths, which both included training in ballet, and their progression from working as swings in the production to being promoted to assistant dance captains and then finally becoming co-dance captains.

Given the intensity of the workshop, one participant wondered how long new cast members have before they go out on stage. (She was relieved to hear that they get 4-6 weeks of rehearsal time.)

When discussing the uniqueness of the show and its choreography Wade-Greene emphasized that the play skillfully builds on themes through the lyrics and the corresponding dance moves. “It uses choreography to drive the message home,” said Wade-Greene.

One student asked the pros for tips on getting through an audition or going on stage when you’re having a rough day. “Think about the number,” suggested Wade-Greene. “What is my job for this number?”