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 Post subject: Your Performance Experiences
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2001 7:10 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 139
Location: USA
hello all! I am just a ballet student and oneday would like to perform. I wanted to ask if you all woudl share your performance experiences, I have seen a couple live performances, not with big companies like NYCB or ABT, but would like to know the behind the scenes view, what the audience doesn't get to see. Here are just a few questions that come to mind, feel free to add more info.<P>What happens at the rehearsals?<BR>What things do you do to prepare before the performance? ie: like your own little ways of preparing yourself, emotionally as well as physical ways of warming up.<BR>What happens after the performance?<BR>How do you usually feel after the performance?<P>I look forward to hearing all of your stories!!<P>Sincerly,<BR>Jan<P><P>------------------<BR>Teaching Today Touches Tomorrow!<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Your Performance Experiences
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2001 10:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Jan, you ask some good questions. Since you seem to be asking for respsponses from the point of view of a dancer, and since this forum is for discussion of design and technical theatre as they pertain to dance, I'm moving the topic to the "Ballet" forum and closing it here.<P>I do hope you'll continue to post, though!<P><P>------------------<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<P>Online portfolio: <A HREF="http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg" TARGET=_blank>http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg</A> <BR>This Day in Arts History: <A HREF="http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg/arthist.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg/arthist.htm</A><P><BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Your Performance Experiences
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2001 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I will answer your questions Jan as a dancer - and in the Studio - I will answer as a teacher. That is two VERY different roles, I believe.<P>When I am going to perform, I never miss rehearsal. If I am sick or injured I will go anyway even if I can only walk through it. Dancers are famous for feeling that they have NEVER rehearsed enough. Rehearsals are where all the kinks are worked out - theoretically ! <P>On the day of performance I take my regular ballet class which is usually in the morning. And I work full out - I don't spare myself. Then I go home eat a very good nutritious meal and relax - as much as possible. <P>I arrive at the theater about two hours early. I need time to get away from the everyday world and get into the world of the theater. First thing I do is check and recheck my pointe shoes. I make sure they are the ones I really want. And I lay out another pair -just in case. All the elastics and ribbons are also carefully checked to make sure the sewing is VERY secure. I am always careful to have with me extra pairs of tights. <P>I put on my makeup (except for my lipstick) and put up my hair. Then, I either take company class, or give my self a full barre and put on my sweats to keep warm. Back to the dressing room to retouch or add to the makeup, and redo the hair - with head piece (tiara, etc.). But, first before completing the lipstick - I eat an apple. That gives me energy while not being heavy in my stomach. <P> Depending on the time - sometimes the artistic director wants to go over some things, which cuts down on my personal preparation time, I put my costume on. I also check the costume before I put it on. Making sure the shoulder straps are secure, and all ornaments are well sewn on. I tend to be mistrustful of other people's sewing. (sorry 'bout that!)<P>I now have my leg warmers (that's different from my sweats) on under my costume and ankle warmers that I knitted especially for pointe shoes. (I could never find exactly what I wanted in the stores, so I made these.) And I have a shawl around my shoulders. <P> I get to the wings and wait. We always remind each other to take off those leg warmers - we can't see our own because of the tutu. (And I have seen someone come out with her BLACK leg warmers on for "Les Sylphides" YIKES!!)(no, it wasn't me!!)<P>And then off goes the shawl - wait till my music comes - and off I go------><P>Afterwards, I undress and get into warm sweats, feel really relieved and happy (assuming it went well!) and not at all tired - YET. Always try to go out somewhere afterwards - never go directly home. That is a big mistake for me, I need time to wind down.<P>If we are lucky, someone will say something nice. If not lucky, it is not unheard of to be called back on stage after the performance to go over the "mistakes". uh oh


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 Post subject: Re: Your Performance Experiences
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2001 10:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
My troupe's class/rehearsal season is nearly year round. Typically, there is an overseas tour in the summer, so we take some R&R of about a month afterwards. Then the madness resumes.<P>Sometime after Labor Day, we all get back together and, as has been the case since inception, rehearse every Wednesday and Sunday evening. Rehearsals usually go 6-10 or so on Wednesdays and 3-7 on Sundays. (Some years it has been a Saturday, depending upon when rehearsal space opens up).<P>Two or three times a year, we have an intensive workshop that goes for about a week, daily. Through grants and other funding, we bring over a guest artist to give master classes in a particular ethnic style. We work like dogs all day long. Then, at week's end, we tape ourselves performing what we have learned to add to our archives for reference. <P>Our troupe has a couple of levels of involvement. Some people do it full time. They perform for a weekly salary by doing lecture dems for the schools throughout this area, as well as other types of performances which could be anything from a Mardi Gras ball to a debutante ball to a charity fashion show, etc. <P>Each year, in June, we have a weekend of performances (2 on Sat and 1 on Sun) at a local university. It is a huge affair, and is usually the one upon which our entry for the Big Easy (New Orleans Oscars) is based. <P>After that, we rehearse for a month or so and then off we go to Moscow or Hungary or Prague, etc. <P>Those who do this in a more part-time fashion, still attend all Wed and Sat rehearsals (which always begin with a character class warm-up, including barre, center and across the floor) and usually do the annual show, the European tour, and whatever weekend performances they are available for. There are also some ethnic festivals that our troupe participates in, in this region. For all of the smaller performances, we usually perform just one particular ethnic style, such as tango, or whatever the case may be. <P>For our annual show, we are a virtual melting pot.<P>And overseas, we only do American numbers, such as the lindy, or Mardi Gras, or clogging, or Brazilian, or tango, etc.<P>Our directors (artistic and managing) are both performers as well. They require that all numbers, throughout rehearsal, be danced completely full out and with complete stage expression. <P>I recall one time, during a ballet class, when we did an unusual amount of pique turns in a variety of directions, and I was the "last man standing" so to speak because I was conditioned to complete a combination, no matter what kind of drunken sailor I felt like. My teacher watched me push through this particular combination and commented that she could tell what kind of influence being in this company had on me because it would never occur to me to simply drop out of the combination when it seemed impossible to finish. <P>Another benefit of being with a company that pushes you to truly perform literally every single combination is that your stage presence becomes a natural part of you. When "Interview With A Vampire" was casting dancers while filming here, there were approximately 400 dancers who tried out. More than half of the 16 who made it were members of our troupe, because we really "sold" that simply little minuet. <P>All of the members of our troupe have VERY strong personalities. They are very much of a family. They fight, make up, laugh and cry together. If you can't stand living under a microscope, you can't make it. Ditto if you can't stand excessive and blunt criticism. You need the constitution of a horse and mind that is determined to pick up any genre of dance, no matter how bizarre or difficult it might seem. <P>My troupe was comprised of some of the most extraordinary people I have ever known. I recall one time en route to Texas to perform for a fundraising ball with a Russian theme, we stopped our four rental cars for gas at a station in the middle of nowhere. Everyone piled out of the car, turned their radio to the same station, and began to dance like fools, on top of the cars and all over the station. These were "grown" adults, but it was just another day for us. <P>One of the reasons dancers love what they do is that it allows them to be childlike as long as they wish. There is nothing like getting silly in a physical sense.<P>I also recall during this particular trip when, prior to doing our number, we had to split up onto various balconies and stand in still poses, in a sort of Russian tableau while debutantes were being introduced into society. As one particular deb with incredibly large feet went to make her bow, one of our male dancers, taking a gander at her shoes, hissed just loud enough for us to hear, "Call the barge patrol! There's a couple of vessels on the loose." <P>Y'know, these are just the kind of moments that can't be replicated in the 9-5 world. <P>I don't know that any one person's rehearsal experiences will be the same as the next who respond, but I do know that all of us carry special memories of this process. <P>Rehearsal is everything: discipline, toil, injury, joy, despair, tears, belly laughs, nonsense, sobriety, fatigue, and energy. Maybe, it's just a microcosm of life. <P>I wish everyone would have a change to experience this special life. <P>


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