Talk, Sing, and Dance?


Some of us think walking and chewing gum at the same time is a pretty complicated package. Coordination is the key. That’s why a right shoe on a left foot doesn’t work so well.
The same goes for texting and driving, or smoking and staying healthy. None of those things coordinate with each other very well. They’re clumsy combinations. But some people have taken coordination to absurd lengths that would make anybody else look clumsy if they tried it. Consider these:

  • On March 9, 2011, Brian Pankey of Springfield, IL, set the record for spinning a tooth brush continuously in his right hand while shuffling a deck of cards repeatedly with his left hand for 30 seconds.
  • On April 17, 2010, Bryan Vitale of Woodside, New York, placed an American quarter on the tip of a bent metal coat hanger and spun it on his finger for two minutes, 56.20 seconds. That one is even hard to imagine.
  • On February 13, 2011, Emily Wilson of West Wardsboro, Vermont, set seven Connect Four pieces spinning at the same time.

Coordination makes hard things look easy. Sometimes, it can also be especially beautiful. Olympic figure skating pairs, classical ballet, and even great jugglers are amazing to watch.

My point is that at times we see remarkable examples of coordination without realizing that we’re seeing it. They are simply enjoyable to experience because the parts are so perfectly put together, they seem like one single marvel.
This week, the Jamestown Gazette invites our readers to marvel at young people learning, delighting in, and showing their community a most enjoyable example.
Imagine singing, for example, and coordinating just the right notes to exactly match an accompanying musician. Then coordinate that with dancing, strolling, moving to the music, and then coordinate all that with a memorized script and acting out all the emotions that will give an audience a thrill, bring out a tear, or make everybody laugh so hard their cheeks hurt. All at once.
And best of all, we can all just sit back and enjoy the show. Spring – and do you believe it’s only two weeks away? – is the season for high school plays and musicals. This week’s contributing cover story writer, Stephanie McCraw, brings us an invitation to see our finest youth talk, sing, and dance on a stage near you. It’s musical Theater done right.
According to NYU author, teacher, and theatre and film historian, John Kenrick, the best musicals have three irreplaceable ingredients:

  1. Brains – intelligence and style.
  2. Heart – genuine and believable emotion.
  3. Courage – the guts to do something creative and exciting.

That’s what makes it art, and that’s an amazing repertoire for a troop of young actors and singers to learn and master.
Please accept their invitation and go enjoy the show. You’ll see there’s so much more to it than walking and chewing gum at the same time, now that you have a better idea of what really goes into it.
Enjoy the show, be amazed by the talent, and as long as you’re reading your Jamestown Gazette, coordinate your reading with enjoying the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.