Showgirl Story Time: Principals and Understudies

Welcome to another Showgirl Story Time!! In this video I am talking about principals and understudies in Jubilee! I spent four years being an understudy and then was finally promoted to Principal at the age of 23.


Volcano Costume: 
Crown and hip pieces by Athena and Phelyx
Feathers, bra, g string, jewelry, and shoes by Athena

Hello and welcome to another Showgirl story time. I’m going to talk a little bit today about being a principal in Jubilee, and also an understudy. Because the path to principal, of course you have to be an understudy first.

So when I first got into the show. I was a Bluebell covered dancer, and then I transitioned to a nude dancer. I became a tall nude first and then a short nude. And during that four years of time between Bluebell and principal, I was awarded a number of understudy spots.

Now an understudy is similar to a swing and I talked about swings in a different video. An understudy, is someone who, they are, they’ve deemed ready to climb that ladder I guess or the staircase or whatever you want to call it. And they have offered a spot for them to learn so that when that principal goes out of town or is sick, then they can swing into that spot, and get to be in the spotlight for that one number.

So when I first started the show, I was covered and I was terrified to go topless mostly because of the shame involved. But once I was in the show I, it wasn’t it wasn’t hard for me. So I, the first swing role I got to do was bridesmaids. And it’s the only costume I don’t have a photo of me in, sadly. I have photos of my friends with me as I went up to do bride, so there’s a little number at the beginning of the finale, that there was a little angel. She had angel wings and a little halo and she was the bride and the groom would sing to her and it was just this cute little number. So that was my very first understudy spot. It usually was the first understudy spot of dancers that they were preparing or grooming to be principal dancers.

So the first spot I learned was the bride and it was taught to me by Linda Green. So that was a lot of fun, because she was the original. Believe she was the original bride actually back in, when the show opened. So that was, that was really cool, a really cool experience and to learn it from the person who learned from the choreographer, so that that was special to me.

And so once I learned bridesmaids and that they saw that I was ready to be a topless dancer then they gave me brides, the bride. And so when they give it to you, then they can call you at any time say okay you’re doing bride tonight. Usually I found out during notes, which was about 30 minutes before the show. After I learned bride. I was then I believe awarded a partner spot. I’ll be talking about my partner Andrew, because we were literally made for each other. As far as dancing partners, both long, long beautiful limbs, exotic looks, and they were basically grooming the both of us to become an the next principal couple which was really exciting. And we just, that’s kind of how it just took four years is all.

So, we were awarded, Love, which is this cute little Adagio between two lovers, in the Samson and Delilah story. It’s basically there to change sets. That’s pretty much the only reason love was there. But it was pretty and beautiful and we got to, we basically got to choreograph our own pas de deux. And with all the lifts and things so that was a lot of fun. We got to test out some different lifts and what worked with my costume. My costume was made for me which was really really exciting.

And yeah, so being an understudy was quite an honor, and exciting because you are basically they were telling you okay you’re, you’re on the track. And so I did a number of understudy spots. I didn’t learn all of. I didn’t understudy, all of the roles, before I was promoted to principal dancer.

Delilah was one of them that I did not learn until after I was promoted. What was another one? I never learned, the only principal spot out of the whole show that I never did was the the Mrs. Kent, which was the drunk lady in Titanic, and I never got to do that one. Which is fine because it was for a more mature performer and I was such a baby that it just wasn’t for me.

But everything else I had learned, I, oh I hadn’t learned why disco, so that would that’s a whole other story that I tatalklked about in, I think I’ve already talked about, maybe, maybe not. Well, look for the video about my favorite number in the show—Disco.

So, these roles were just awarded randomly there were didn’t seem to be any, any logic to them at all. And the more I got, the more I got to do, when one of the principals was out of town. So if one of the principals, decided to take a few days off, then I could do her roles for almost that whole time, and I got paid extra for it! I think it was $8 per number. So if I got to do opening and then disco and then love, and then s&m and dollies, and then bride, you know, that’s six numbers. That’s $50 extra a show, almost that I was making. Which was fantastic and I loved it. So that was that was cool thing about being an understudy, is that you got a nice pay bump. And then the swings would swing into your regular spot and he would get to swing into the principal spot so that’s that was being an understudy.

And then by the time I I had auditioned, I believe seven times to be a principal dancer, every six months. I kept putting my little act together and I did a little act and the last act I did was my infamous fan dance. I borrowed a feather fan from, from the wardrobe, and I got to do this beautiful number. And I’ve some people have seen it on the burlesque stage with my Gazealous costume.

So, I was finally promoted to principal with my partner Andrew, and then the roles were divvied out between the four principals that were contracted. And yeah so becoming principal was, of course, amazing. I was on stage less but I was in the spotlight I was one of the front girls in the spotlight and I got to wear the coolest costumes.

So, in my opinion, they were the coolest. So yeah the principal’s were just the lead dancers. And they worked their butts off to get there and it was, it was an honor and a privilege to be a principal dancer in Jubilee. And I was happy that I got to spend six months in the dressing room with Linda, Linda green before she retired. So that was really cool.

Thank you for listening to my story about understudies and principals in Jubilee! If you are more curious about the Showgirl life, I have a podcast I just launched. It’s called Showgirls Life podcast, and you can access it from my website shield girls dot life backslash podcast. All the episodes will be listed there along with show notes. Then a couple of photos. I’m having special guests, tell me how it was like to be a show girl, through their own eyes. It’s a beautiful thing. So go have a listen. and I’ll see you next time. Bye.

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