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Audience Saves Dance Performance During Theater Power Outage

The crowd at San Ramon Valley High used cellphones to light up the stage for an unusual tap dance routine.

Luckily, audience members brought their own lights to Thursday's performance. Photo courtesy Carol MacPhail.
Luckily, audience members brought their own lights to Thursday's performance. Photo courtesy Carol MacPhail.
BY JANE McINNIS

The auditorium at San Ramon Valley High's theatre was filled to capacity for the school's annual Winter Dance show yesterday evening before the power suddenly went out.

High winds caused a power outage at the school (and 1,200 other locations in downtown Danville) shortly before the performance was set to begin.

Some audience members and ushers thought the lights went out because it was showtime, only to see emergency track lights come on a minute after.

"We've never had a power outage [during a performance], and then two minutes before we start, 'click,'" said dance director Carol MacPhail, who has taught at the school for 37 years.

After nearly 40 minutes of trying to locate a generator at the school descibed as "an urban legend," by one of the parents, MacPhail made the decision to reschedule the show for 5 p.m. Friday evening.

But before the audience of nearly 400 departed, the dance teacher asked the crowd to shine their cell phone lights to the stage for a tap-dance number that didn't require any music.

The audience obliged, creating a surprisingly well-lit performance that was warmly received with a standing ovation.

"It was a unique moment," MacPhail said.

Ticket holders for Thursday's cancelled performance of "Dancing with Wolves '13" should bring their ticket stubs to gain access to the rescheduled 5 p.m. show Friday. There will also be a performance at 8 p.m.

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