Events: Renovating The Jack Guidone Theater

By Rachel Pearl

I’m Rachel Pearl, the Director of Production for Joy of Motion Dance Center. I feel like everywhere I go I find some connection to the organization. Just yesterday I was solicited by the ANC candidate from my neighborhood, super nice, fun to talk with, wants to take dance class. Last year, a guy from the Metro crew backed his van into my car, setting off the alarm and woke me out of bed. I went out to talk to him, gave him my card and he said, “Oh, my daughter takes classes there.” Everyone around me has a connection to JOMDC or a connection to dance. My job resonates with people. That typical Washingtonian question, “What do you do?” is always met with a smile and sort of bewildered look when I tell them about JOMDC. “WOW. That sounds amazing. You must love your job!” I love these moments during stressful days like this past weekend when we renovated the lights at The Jack Guidone Theater. They remind me why I do what I do!

We produce over 40 concerts and events per year, and just like running a household, there is always something to do. We cover so much in a season and we hit the ground running. The best time of year is back to school. Fresh clothes, new teachers, feeling rested and fired up! That is where we are in production world. Last weekend was our last and final chance to clean up The Jack before the season starts this Saturday, October 6 with FRESH II, a group show featuring four local dance companies.

For the renovation, I had to pick up mirror balls (yes, that’s a disco ball), bulbs, gel holders and motors from Kinetic Artistry, black paint, spray paint, dust masks, zip ties and cleaning supplies from Home Depot too. It looked like I was about to clean up some suspicious theater crime, but I swear it was just for the theater lighting renovation! I’m embarrassed to admit but there were, ahem, several, years of dust and dance funk up there. Thankfully, Mark Wray, the original electrician at The Jack, the man who lit decades worth of shows with Joy of Motion Dance Center’s Executive Director Douglas Yeuell, was kind enough to lend a hand and his expertise.

The whole operation was nearly ruined when a UPS rush delivery of the new lights I ordered especially for Doug got lost. I spent half a day getting these guys to re-deliver using my charm and chutzpah – very specific skills I’ve artfully developed over the past three years being with JOMDC. Sometimes you really have to fight to get a production off the ground and it very often feels like a little nightmare before Christmas.

I am thrilled to say the delivery arrived on Saturday, and after three days of power tools, patience and help from reinforcements like my boyfriend/local artist Salvatore Pirrone, we did it. I have a few more odds and ends to deal with. I have loads of extra junk in The Jack closet – anyone need an extension cord? But we did it. Now you have to go see FRESH II this weekend so you can see all the work we did. Or take class this weekend. Either way, get to the studio and sweat it out.