Learn a Phrase From Hamilton

May 23, 2016

Like most mornings, I entered the digital lottery to win tickets to Hamilton today. And like most afternoons, I’ll probably receive an email at 4 p.m. saying, “Try Again.”

But this morning brought something even better than Hamilton tickets: A chance to learn some of the show’s choreography.

‘s dance mastermind Andy Blankenbuehler broke down two of the show’s iconic phrases for The Wall Street Journal (in what looks like the dance studio inside his townhouse up in Harlem—talk about a dancer’s dream home!).

In the first clip, the choreographer explains how he matched up his movement to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics by showing the vocabulary he created to go with the words “I’m not throwing away my shot”:

He not only demonstrates the steps themselves (with help from associate choreographer/dance captain Stephanie Klemons), but he takes us inside his process, explaining how he came up with each gesture. As you can see, he doesn’t let a single moment in the choreography go to waste: Every detail serves a storytelling purpose—developing the characters, establishing the mood, foreshadowing the plot.

Blankenbuehler also teaches a phrase where the ensemble embodies what’s going on inside Hamilton’s head as the title character imagines his own death:

It’s like taking a mini-master class in the show’s style, with unparalleled insight into how Blankenbuehler created his Tony-nominated choreography.

Want more? Cast members Karla Garcia and Jon Rua teach back-to-back theater dance classes at Broadway Dance Center on Monday afternoons. (Their classes technically overlap, but you won’t be the only Hamilton fan running from one to the next.)

June 2016

And don’t forget to nab a copy of Dance Magazine‘s June issue, highlighting the cast’s amazing ensemble members—and exploring how the show’s runaway success might create new possibilities for dance on Broadway.


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