CriticalDance Forum

Anxious Moments?
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Author:  pidge [ Fri Nov 19, 1999 9:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Cygnet,<P>Pardon my ignorance, but BMC = ? <BR>Ballet de Monte Carlo?<P>pidge

Author:  Mikal [ Sat Nov 20, 1999 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Eons ago, when I was a member of Ballet West, in Utah..(US for those of you who are not familar with this Disneyland city.)<BR>I was doing Nutcracker. I had about 4 roles I had to do on this day.<BR>It was one of the worst and funniest days of my performing career.<BR>We were performing in the "old" Kingsbury Hall. A theater that has been totally redone in the past 4 years..(so beautiful now) But back then there were no wings. Only about 3 -4 feet after the end of the offstage legs.<BR>There was no studio, no warm up area.<BR>We used any place we could. I was in this hallway off of the stage. It was a stairwell that went into the auditorium, orchestra and up to the balcony..very steep stairs and very much a canyon for echos.<BR>The Mouse costumes were stashed there, and I was warming up. Doing a grand battement, I managed to kick one of the 3' diameter mouse heads..And the head proceded to bounce down the stairs...mortified, I started to run after it...BANG, BOOM, BANG..I was trying to catch it...The sounds louder than the orchestra in this "echo cave". I finally got it by the final two steps turned. So relieved, grabbed the head..turned around to see my Ballet Mistress, hands on hips glaring at me from the top of this 45 degree angle stair case. She cut though my body with her eyes, didn't say a thing, turned on her heels and walked off. Whew...that was close...I didn't know what would happen after performance tho. Next, I get to go on stage for Snow. We carry these popsicle type sparkling tin sticks..tops are a round ball with lots of sequins and pipe cleaners.<BR>First time I am doing a section of choreography where the entire corps in a circle doing pique arabesque, faille, pas de chat...I step out to do the pique, and slip on the damn plastic snow. It was dead center down stage...flat out splat...but I was up right in time for the pas de chat.<BR>After I got up I hit the girl in back of me with my working leg in arabesque, and knocked her twirler out of her hand. She managed to get the darn thing somehow.<BR>The next section was what we called the typewritter section...groups of four would be kneeling on the floor doing arms things and alternate groups would come up to something and go back down to knees. This time the girl I had knocked, knocked my twirler out while doing the arms section. Bang my thingy was on the floor, as we were kneeling, she and I reached forward to get the twirler, and we totally missed our cue to stand up.<BR>So, two of the group was up, and we were down...OOPS><BR>NEXT: costume change, and we are in Merliton.<BR>We carry flutes..or pan pipe props.<BR>As I get ready to go out on cue I manage to knee some guy behind me who was too close to my back leg...poor dude.<BR>In the finale...He is standing, again, too close, and as I get ready to go out he knocks my flute out of my hand.<BR>I did the entire finale with my right hand pretending to be silver pan pipes.<BR>This was ALL in just one performance.<BR>It was the worst time I had ever had on stage.<BR>I was so scared I was going to be fired.<BR>The Ballet Mistress just looked at me after the show, and Laughed!!!<BR>PHEW>>>>I didn't believe it. She was such a witch when it came to things going wrong.<BR>So, I didn't get fired...And now have to laugh when I think that all these things happened in just one performance.<P>That is my horror story to add to the others posted.<BR>I think the costume thing by lucy is so funny.<BR>It reminded me of the time velcro just arrived on the market...Our costume designer decided what a great thing for fast changes.<BR>She put it as the hook and eye on skirts we wore in Copelia. In one big Grand Jete section one of the girls did her running leap and in the middle of stage, popped the velcro, and her skirt fell off.<BR>Now there was a rust colored skirt center stage. And a dancer with just tights and leo.<BR>She did get it back somehow, I just don't remember how.<BR>The Velcro was not on those skirts at the next performance the next night. (needless to say, it was not on anything ever again.)<P>These are things that tend to happen on stage.<BR>Esp. when costume designers decide to build costumes to their needs and not the dancer's body. One principal dancer was a bit more well endowed than the designer liked..<BR>She was always flashing boob to the audience.<BR>The man, didn't care, he didn't fix the costumes! And the corps girls had very close calls...Most of us took to wearing flesh colored bandades over our most obvious area.<BR>And one time, another designer decided to make the tu tu panty out of tulle, didn't use french seams in the panty, just plain sewing, voila....the panty broke, and the poor girl was doing a PPD with the crotch of her tu tu hanging down, and her feminine parts showing through the pink tights...<BR>This dancer never went on stage again without a pair of trunks on under her costumes regardless of design.<P>Just a few war stories.<P>As a director of my own school, the staff has always been instructed to make sure the young pre ballet kids go potty before getting into costume. We assume the older girls know to do the same thing.<BR>But, for some reason a 10 yr old forgot.<BR>She had to dance, then sit on stage for a good 15 mins. after her dance.<BR>When she got up, there was a large puddle on stage left.<P>I was out in the audience at the time, and not on a head set...<BR>All I saw was the "scarecrow" come on stage at the incorrect time sit on the stage and make circles on the floor.<BR>I found out later, one of the teachers sent her out to mop up the urine on the stage.<BR>AND I thought it was just a great ad lib on the part of the scarecrow to be watching Dorothy doing her solo!<P>thanks for listening folks...<BR>hope you get a chuckle<P>------------------<BR>bek

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Nov 21, 1999 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Wonderful stuff, everyone. Please, please keep it coming plus stories from any other dance practitioners out there. The most amazing thing is the way that we punters are oblivious to so many of these dire occasions.<P>One of the touchstones of my life is an aphorism from a German General, Clausewitz perhaps, 'No battle plan survives the first five minutes of engagement with the enemy.' Clearly, this adage is as useful in dance as it is in most other spheres of activity. Expect the unexpected and it's easier to cope with when it happens.<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited 11-21-1999).]

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Nov 21, 1999 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

bek, very funny!! I was cracking up the entire time I was reading your about your "adventures." I kept thinking to myself, "No, it can't get any worse."

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Nov 21, 1999 9:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

pidge, BMC = Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas, right Cygnet?

Author:  Mikal [ Tue Nov 30, 1999 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

azlan:<BR>It did.<BR>One time I was dancing the short turn girl in Sererade. In the first scene, the two girls do 16 pique turns around each other, then the group joins and everyone does 16 piques in a large circle. At the end the shortest girl has the longest place to run to get back in the beginning pose.<BR>I had never had problems up until one day the tape on the marley floor was either very slick or sticking up. I was dizzy from all the turns and had to make it across stage to my place upstage left. (I had finished the 32 piques downstage right)...<BR>I ran and literally slid into home base.<BR>At least that was what I thought it must have looked like. I jumped up just on cue to hit the famous finsh pose.<P>This time I was raked over the coals!<BR>OH dear!<BR>I still think it must have looked funny....<BR>sliding to my spot and jumping up to the hand on right temple. (almost like a balanchine salute!)<P>bekl

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Nov 30, 1999 4:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

bek, you don't cease to amuse me. Sliding to home base in a Balanchine work is just too funny!!

Author:  trina [ Fri Apr 28, 2000 11:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

My most harrowing experince onstage was when I stepped on a small sliver of glass onstage in Seattle (being a contemporary dancer, I danced barefoot a lot). anwyay, the theatre was so cold that my foot was numb anywyay and I barely felt it, at least not immediately...bascially, I just felt that my balance was "off" or "way off" shall I say. Becasue I had to dance on it to the end of the dance, the glass got lodged quite deep in my foot--it took several days of prying through my foot with tweezers to find it and dig it out!!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Apr 28, 2000 1:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?


Author:  salzberg [ Wed May 03, 2000 3:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

I have to say that I read this thread with horror.<P>No offense meant to anyone, but. . . .<P>1. It's the company's responsibility to provide stage management and designers, not the local theater's. How could a "local" person hope to learn the dances in time to do a good job? I know that money's tight (when is it <I>not</I>?), but you wouldn't try to economize by having the theater furnish a principal dancer, would you?<P>Think of it this way: very rarely is a dancer onstage during an entire ballet; the stage manager, on the other hand, is "onstage" in every minute of every dance.<P>B. If a dancers trips on cables or misplaced props, that's a sign of disorganization (or lack of proper training and experience) amongst the backstage staff. This, too, is the responsibility of stage management (although, sometimes, again to save money, company management hires less experienced stagehands and designers; there's not much the stage manager can do about this).<P>I've irritated any number of electricians over the years by insisting that they run all cables overhead instead of across the floor.<P>III. All lighting booms should be tied up to the ceiling, not just counterweighted. Sometimes this is not possible; other times, it's omitted through ignorance, laziness, or time constraints. All of these causes are preventable by company management.<P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg,<BR>Lighting Designer<BR>NEW URL: <A HREF="<BR>" TARGET=_blank><BR></A> <p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited May 04, 2000).]

Author:  trina [ Wed May 03, 2000 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

I agree, salzberg about inefficient or inadequete tech staff/support. It is imperative that professional values prevail, for the safety of all! But no matter how much care is taken with technical equipment/issues, accidents do happen. For example,with the glass in my foot onstage (see previous posting) I still don't know where it came from. I believe the floor was mopped before the's a mystery.

Author:  Azlan [ Wed May 03, 2000 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Salzberg,<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>No offense meant to anyone, but. . . .<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>That doesn't always work, you know. Image<P>But thanks for your insight. I learn so much from you!<BR>

Author:  salzberg [ Thu May 04, 2000 2:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Azlan, my bill's in the mail.<P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg,<BR>Lighting Designer<BR>NEW URL: <A HREF="<BR>" TARGET=_blank><BR></A>

Author:  Azlan [ Thu May 04, 2000 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

Salzberg, you didn't tell me what your rates are?!!!!<P>But seriously, do you think that a small touring dance troupe with no money has the budget to bring stage management staff with them? If I'm not mistaken, doesn't even Paul Taylor only have a skeleton management staff and rely heavily on "local" technical staff?

Author:  salzberg [ Thu May 04, 2000 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anxious Moments?

No, Grace, m'dear, you're 100% correct. Even the best stage manager needs time to learn the details of each dance. . .the subtleties of timing. . .the eccentricities of each dancer.<P>It's perfectly acceptable to use local stagehands -- it's done all the time -- but I can't imagine not having a stage manager who knows the show.<BR><P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg,<BR>Lighting Designer<BR>NEW URL: <A HREF="<BR>" TARGET=_blank><BR></A>

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