Necessity is the Mother of Invention

The following article originally appeared in theDancers Over 40 Newsletter

When Dawn Mitchell and I were one of two couples in Bitter Sweet, starring Jeanette MacDonald, we had to do a crossover in a ballet interlude. After dancing with the other couple, Dawn and I would exit stage right, only to reappear sixteen counts later with my lifting and carrying her across the stage to the other side and into the wings.

In rehearsals we never had a problem. The costumer never watched a rehearsal and dressed Dawn in a satin period gown and me in a cut-away coat and tights with a lace jabot and white gloves. At dress and orchestra rehearsal, I went to lift Dawn, but she slid right through my gloved hands. We protested to the costumer and choreographer, but neither would give an inch.

Dawn had the idea that while we were offstage, I would remove the gloves, and since I had no pockets in my tights, she would stuff the gloves in her bra. The problem was that we were to reappear on stage in eight counts. We had to practice the exchange of the gloves harder than we did our dance. Talk about sleight-of-hand -- somehow the gloves came out of her bra, first the right and then the left. Before we reappeared the gloves were on my hands. I am sure the costumer never noticed that we had out-smarted her. Out of necessity, Dawn's quick thinking got us out of a predicament.