Saturday, 26 December 2009


the other day in my place of work, someone was using spray adhesive to mount a project. i couldn't help but recall flashbacks of terror (you know, like on blindside) at what we on dance company used to use it for. suffice it to say that dance costumes cannot ever be trusted to stay where they are originally placed. thus, large doses of spray adhesive were required to maintain a flash-free performance. PAINFUL.

then i got thinking about how absolutely ridiculous every dance costume i ever wore was. i mean seriously, i'm paying $200 for this sequined pirate suit? not ok.

then i remembered the days of the quarternotes, where you payed a mere $5 for ALL your costumes, each semester. those of you, and i'm guessing it's a lot, who ever took from Colleen Collins Smith know EXACTLY what i'm talking about.

let it be known these were some of the most fun dance years of my life...they're also reallllly funny.

Colleen Collins Smith ran a dance studio out of good old THS. i'm not sure how old she is, but she has a large black beehive hairdo, which i'm sure could be used for some type of carbon dating. i'm not sure if she ever talks without yelling, and she used to scream "READY!!!!!!!" to my utter horror, as i commonly thought she was yelling my name. she wears black all the time and is passionate about two things. ok maybe three: old school choreography, all things disney, and her grandkids. if by chance, you happen to be her grandchild, who makes it at Disney, doing oldschool choreography, you have seriously arrived!! yes, her beloved offspring run the show--aunts, uncles, cousins, pets, babies, as long as they can sport a cummerbund and sequins, WE'LL USE EM ALL!

every dance has some type of theme, like "butterfly kisses" by meatloaf or "my heart will go on" from titanic. every dance has a leader in front, and this spot is (obviously) usually occupied by a grandchild. one time, jess reichman and i were lucky enough to be the leaders of GHOSTBUSTERS. white garbage bags and all, we rocked that dance (the running man being the base step).

my favorite steps are:
the "double 9": a type of running, turning hitchkick.
the axle: for this one, basically any jump in which one arm acts as a helicopter blade over your head could be considered an axle.
the stag is really good too. oh, if only i weren't to lazy to film and post myself doing all these steps...
other dance-specific phrases are good too, i.e. "second, fifth, second, COOL" and "pop-burst, pop-pop-burst" and "GRAB YOUR FOOT. AND HOP. IN A CIRCLE!"

ahhh and then there was tour. every year, after performing in dumps like the eldred elderly center and the timpview auditorium, we'd escape to the big stages of every amusement park in southern california. for a week we'd caravan from park to park, gracing them with our stellar song and dance. anyone remember the name of that haunted ship we'd visit? sweatiest, hungriest, funnest days of my whole life.

below are the lovely $5 costume pictures. i'm sorry there are so many but i simply couldn't resist. our required base clothing was white ballet shoes, white tights and a white leotard. i still remember the confusion when i went into danceworks asking for this. "white what???" i will refrain from identifying myself in each of these pictures, for obvious reasons. but i bet if you look closely you'll spot a whole bunch of ladies you know....

yes, they came to a point on the end. and is it me or is the girl on the top left 7 feet tall?

you know, from the nutcracker. only we performed it in may. note the white undergarments...treated oddly as normal garments.

uncle doug hobbled around as quasimodo for this one.

crushed velvet and sequins. i waited for YEARS to be in this dance.

finally, we've graduated to toast colored tights. over our white ones.

yes, ellery and i were the leaders who got to wear the special hats. our specific instructions were to "flunk the eyelashes."

yes i was a butterfly, prematurely put on pointe shoes. can you tell two on the left are? bahaha.

oh....there are no words. how mother? how could you let this happen to me???

but then i remember that it didn't stop with colleen. that bad costumes are simply something you have to deal with. like our lamanite costumes, shown below. i laughed for 12 minutes straight when i found this!!!
let it be known, we knew even then it was awful. some crazy photographer came and this is what happened.

it seems to have been the year of the crotch-frame. if you can get past my terrifying pose there in the middle, you will see me at the top middle, framing my crotch. half of me at least, the scanner wasn't big enough for this horrid thing. to do it full justice, you may have to enlarge the picture.

anyway, i'm sure i have now rambled sufficiently. if anyone's up for big show this spring, i'm so there.


ian said...

seriously though, you're posts make my day.

Sloane said...

hahahahah. I am laughing out loud! love you Rebb! Don't forget the purple mesh feather outfit from DANCE FORCE!

Maddie said...

hahaha i'm laughing. Rebb. one time I went with the burrs to one of her classes.. and I was sitting by Lauren.. and I remember being so afraid because this really scary lady was teaching the class and she demanded that we all get into our splits.. well... I didn't know how to do the splits... so I hid my back leg and prayed over and over again that she wouldn't come back by me... ms. trenchable.. from matilda.. teaching dance class. haha!

Cason and Marie said...

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah I can't stop laughing!! We look ridiculous! No wonder my parents (and everyone elses) dreaded watching the "big show"! And I love how she calls them the "toast" colored tights...not nude, not tan. toast. I loved this post! And I loved Colleen Collins Smith. Although I was one of the worst dancers she had, it was still a blast!

Jen said...

Oh my gosh that last picture. COURTNEY'S FACE.

alison said...

you know i've been waiting for this blog ever since you did the little saint nick dance in our living room. gold.

Brittany said...

This is the funniest thing I've read in a while. That spray adhesive was hands down the most painful thing to happen to me. My pants were stuck to me for weeks...

david and kinsley harper said...

hahahahahahahah im laughting so hard right now!

Chelsey said...

I'm never going to be able to get the visual of you crawling seductively in the Dance Company photo out of my mind. It's my new brain screensaver. Love it. Yet, of course, I'm still pretty jealous.

Sarah Orme said...

my favorite conversation to date at the candy shoppe is realizing we both went there for dance. Best/scariest memories ever.

Amy Ellertson said...

so just yesterday down here in laguna beach, i literally ran into colette pushing colleen in a wheel chair with the whole fam trailing behind!!! as i was trying to explain to jeremiah how funny their whole production is nothing i said did it justice. so you can imagine how excited i was when i saw your post. he now can more fully comprehend the grandeur of this empire. haha thanks reb!

Lindsey S. said...

hahahah! Good thing I left colleen by this point! But the DCo pick! Oh my gosh! The face I am pulling is awful! hahahha i am dying right now! I might just have to put this on my blog someday!

Kellee Marie Cook said...

This is hilarious reb! I am dying over all of these pictures.. and did reich ever go through an awkward stage because by looking at these pics it doesn't seem she did. hah. anyways love this post so much.

moesmiles said...

Love it! Those animal costumes are right up there in my book with my sisters old clogging outfits... and that's saying something.

Logan said...

I can't believe I just barely happened upon this post Reb. HOLY CRAP!!! I remember waiting years for the day when I could wear the super ruffly single arm sleeve for La Bamba. "I'm hot! You're hot! He's Hot! She's Hot!" hahaha I love that you were a leader for Ghost Busters. My husband cannot get over the costumes we wore for that. I got to be the leader for Little St. Nick one Christmas and I was AWESOME. Good times, good times.

Jenn said...

I am seriously about to die (DIE!) of laughter. I am laying in bed, I can't sleep and I keep thinking of stressful things. So randomly I decide to think of how many songs and dances I can remember from my good old days at Colleen Collins Smith School of Dance. I got up to about thirty dances and then I had to get up and go to my computer to see what I could find on Colleen. So happy I found this post!

My years with CCS are both some of the most embarrassing and some of the most fun years that I have ever had.

I'm thinking that I may be a little bit more old school than you. Not only did I take dance at THS but I also remember going to Hale Center Theater in Orem (before it was Hale Center Theater), The Coventry Place in Provo and some (Baptist?) church in Provo. We also preformed at the festival of trees and did some of our "Big Shows" up at the Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake.

I think I was a "Showstopper" as well as a "quarternote" and a few other things. I think I have three California tours under my belt. We never quite made it to Florida in my day. Tour was the absolute highlight of my early teenage life (how many girls can you squeeze into one hotel room?) and Big Shows came in a close second (my poor parents sitting through three hours of that each May! Do they still end with "The Lord's Prayer?")

I was terrified of Colleen and of course idolized Gina.

"As long as you can sport a cumberbun and sequins"...oh my gosh i can't breathe!

"pop burst, pop pop burst"...pretty sure that is from Oliver & Company. Or maybe they had adopted those steps to some other dance by the time you where popping and bursting.

"grab your foot and hop in a circle" was rag doll right?

I Love Love Love your pictures. I can't wait to go find mine! I kept having these visions of myself in a green unitard with a red flower around my head but I couldn't place it. Now i know..."Alice and Wonderland"

Here are some of the classic CCS dances that I remember:

Hot Hot Hot
The Bop
Come Follow the Band
Miss you Much
Ya'll Ready for This
The Old Bamboo
Hip Hop
Jelly's Last Jam
I could go on and on....

Sorry this is long but I so needed to reminisce!

Love, your newest blog stalker

P.S. The ship was The Queen Mary

Becky K said...

I am giggling. Totally wore many of those same costumes. I never admitted to dancing with Colleen back in the day, but I was there a few years before you it looks like (late 80s, maybe up to 1992.)

Yeah, Colleen was (and apparently still is) an intitution. I guess at least we all learned how to memorize dance steps really fast, right?

And I think I was a Showstopper. I went on tour and hated most of it (but I was 15; it sucks to be in your teens and hanging out on a bus with 8 and 9 year olds.)

Good memories!! Found your post off of google and had to comment. Great post!

Annalee Rowley said...

I know this comment is years behind when the original blog was posted, but I was online looking up the obituary for Colleen Collins Smith. My mom just told me she passed away, and I was in Mexico when her funeral was held. I loved your pictures and memories of dancing with Colleen. I am 50 years old and took dance in the
60's, but it sounds like things never really changed much over the years. I laughed out loud when you mentioned the Big Show....I had totally forgotten about that. And it didn't matter how bad you were, because there were always 30 or so girls in each class so no one really noticed if you messed up. Those dances are embedded in my brain....I still remember the first dance I ever learned. I was about 5 years old. I did Trepek also. Maybe everyone did it. My favorit was the Can Can. I won't bore you any longer, I just wanted to thank you for a great trip down memory lane.

THE O'BRIENS said...

This is hilarious! Not sure how I came across this blog, but me along with 8 others are in a room dying with laughter! We all took from Colleen too and you worded everything perfect. HILARIOUS!!! My sister Chelsey is in these pictures. She says hi and you are funny.

Cimone said...

Wow, this really takes me back. I just randomly started wondering if Colleen was still alive and found her obituary and then your blog. I think I'm in quite a few of those pictures and oh the horror of those costumes!!! But still, they truly were some of the funnest summers and dance shows I've ever done. Thanks for writing this!

Rachel EM said...

I can still hear Collette screaming "NO JOG BRAS!" at the top of her lungs. "pop pop burst" made me almost pee my pants. HILARIOUS.

While I will not include my name, I'm the obvious spaz in the Locomotion picture. Oh dearie me.

Five bucks says everyone here can sing and replicate the tamborine dance to "swanee."