Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tanz der Vampire with Dennis Callahan

Just a few weeks ago, we went to visit my cousin Dennis in Stuttgart, Germany. 

We were so excited to see him and had an absolutely wonderful time.....after we finally arrived.  The trip getting there was a little hairy and we got lost a few times, and we didn't get to see his rehearsal (my fault for not understanding that we would get to go in the first place) but we got to see Dennis when we got there and went out for dinner with him before he had to go to back to work for the evening.  Before I go on, I need to tell you that Dennis is the choreographer for Tanz der Vampire.  The original production opened in Vienna in October 1997 and was directed by Roman Polanski.  One of the highlights of visiting Dennis in Stuttgart was that we were going to get to go to opening night of Tanz der Vampire the next night!

We met with Dennis the next morning for breakfast and spent some time throwing rocks in the pond outside of our hotel.

Then we took the train downtown and walked around Schlossplatz, Stuttgart which is where New Castle (German: "das Neue Schloss") located. 

We had a fabulous time and it was perfect weather for a walk.

We spent most of our time playing on the equipment they had along the sidewalk.

  At one point, D got focused on the pigeons and had us all in hysterics trying to catch one.  
   The kids were getting a bit tired so we started back to the train.   

  On the way, we walked down to the castle and let the kids play around in the fountain.   

It was a beautiful spring-like day and Dennis was so patient with the kids and they had such a great time with him.  He even got a big kick out of D wanting to go back to the first train station so that we could get back on the train because I had him jump on instead of walk on!

After a bit of a rest, we met Dennis and got to walk around backstage of the production.  It was so interesting to see the dressing rooms and see all the costumes and makeup stations.   I really enjoyed watching the production later and seeing all the props (and people) we had seen backstage. 

Originally, we didn't think Cameron would be able to go with me because we didn't have a sitter.  When we got to the hotel, we asked if they had one available.  When I let Dennis know this might be an option, he graciously said to just let him know.  We were lucky enough to get a sitter and Dennis gave us our tickets and bracelets for the cast party afterward.   Here we are on our way:

When we arrived at the theatre, we selected a place to meet during intermission.  Dennis said that he had to run backstage and take care of a few things.  Being naive, I didn't think anything of it when he said that he wouldn't be sitting with us.  Not until we were sitting in our seats did I suspect that Dennis may have given us his seats.  I realized that Sue, the costume designer, we had run into a few times was a few seats down and everyone seemed to know one another.  After the show began, I was sure of it.  We were dead center in the best seats in the house!  A perfect seat for a choreographer to see all the changes he had made (you'll have to ask Dennis about this).  What a guy!  I will tell you, however, that I truly enjoyed every single moment of the show.  You can ask the current director, Cornelius Baltus, since he was sitting next to us (I had no idea who he was at the time) and gave Dennis a full report about how I was "sitting on the edge of my seat during the dance scenes wishing I was up there".  I won't lie, I was! Cameron loved it so much he says he can't wait to go again.  The costumes were amazing, the music was great and the dancing was spectacular.  Of course it was, what would you expect with a coreographer like Dennis?

After the show, we went to the cast party and we had SO much fun!.  We called the babysitter to ask if she could stay a little later.   Would a couple more hours be okay?  She said that would work and called us at 2:30 AM wondering when we were coming home.  Cameron went back and let the sitter go and Dennis and I partied a little bit more.  It was so wonderful to see him in his element and meet his people.  So many people love and respect him and everyone was so welcoming, kind, and fun to be with.    A few people even asked if I was a dancer.  Dennis kept telling them that he didn't ever remember me dancing but I just told them he was jealous because I am a better dancer than he is.  We had such a good time that I didn't get home until 4:30 AM!

The best part of the trip, however, wasn't the show, the seats or the being in Stuttgart.  It was getting to spend time with Dennis.  What a great guy!


Katie @ makingthishome.com said...

Oh wow! I love the facial expressions and all the action in these photos. They make everything really pop. You really have a knack for capturing and describing these moments.
Looks like a BLAST!

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