I had such a fun weekend performing in Alice in Wonderland, and I am already missing the sound of laughter that erupted from the audience. Acting was a major part of this comical ballet, and I really got to enjoy myself in each of my roles. I have to admit, it was quite difficult to not laugh at myself when I portrayed a crazy maid with an extremely defiant attitude. From pouring salt in my mouth and choking on chili to stomping across the stage with my tongue out at the dutchess, it was hard to keep a straight face with such an amusing role. I honestly don’t know how I did it! It was a great show, but it was also very stressful as we had constant quick changes and responsibilities backstage. Overall, everyone performed beautifully, and I am so proud of the entire cast. I managed to snag a quick photo with these lovely ladies in my deck of cards costume, and I was so happy to meet my friend after the show! I hope the audience enjoyed their experience in wonderland as much as I did.
The house lights start to dim, and hushed voices lead into silence. The orchestra begins to play the first few notes as the curtain rises. The show has begun. Audience members witness the artists’ story, but the other side of the stage remains hidden from them. Behind the backdrop, beyond the Marley floors, and in the depths of the wings lays an unknown world filled with secrets that only dancers share… until today. I have selected my top 6. Enjoy!
Toothbrush Trick: Believe it or not, I blend my hair together with a toothbrush before shows to to remove the dreaded streaks from a wide toothed brush/comb. Gel and hairspray makes hair stick together, so this trick is lifesaving. I have a specific toothbrush dedicated for this purpose, and it has never been used in my mouth. I thought I should clarify.
Calamine: We always have to apply a light layer of calamine onto our new pointe shoes before a performance so they don’t reflect the bright stage lights. Most directors would agree that shiny shoes can be very distracting.
Butt Glue: It isn’t ballet related (DO NOT use this with tights), but this is crucial for contemporary/modern shows when we are only wearing a leotard. We put a line of butt glue on the edge of our leotard so that it doesn’t move onstage. Trust me, it has spared us from countless wedgies. Enough said.
Securing Ribbon: It is practically impossible to tie all of the pointe shoe ribbon around ankles, so the remaining ribbon is tucked in under the knot. However, they occasionally fall out, so we always have to sew them to the top layer with a few stitches with thick thread (dental floss works too).
Weird Words: This was actually my idea, and a few of my fellow dancers still think this is a bit odd… During a long corps de ballet section, we are continuously going on and offstage, and it can be intimidating to run offstage with ten seconds to remember which part of the dance comes next. I create weird words or letters so that I don’t blank out in the wings before my next enterance. I still remember the Friends dance of Copellia was “SAP D-G.” The first time I went offstage, I came back on with my Solo… ran offstage for a few seconds and waited for the Adagio section to begin. I continued to go through SAP D-G until the end of the dance!
Rosin: We often coat the back of our heels with rosin so that our pointe shoes don’t slip off of our feet if they feel loose.
Thanks for reading! Did some of these things surprise you? What are some of YOUR backstage secrets?
Have you wondered how Alice in Wonderland is coming together? Did you stop by to see which blog post won the most votes? Why is there a tutu in my title? I have lots of updates…
Alice in Wonderland is less than a week away, and these past two weeks have been so stressful (mentally and physically) as we put this entire ballet together. The cast list has been slightly adjusted, so I will now be dancing as Alice’s sister, garden flower, lead deck of cards, maid, and white queen corps de ballet. Yesterday, I was also given the responsibility to understudy the Mad Hatter due to a foot injury. I am praying that my friend gets better, but I will be sure to learn all of the choreography so that I can step in if she needs me during the long show weekend. I am excited to dance in this fun ballet, but I also am getting very nervous as all of these dancers whirl my brain in circles.
The blog post poll officially closed yesterday, and I am so excited to announce that Backstage Secrets won the most votes! I am so thankful for everyone who participated, and I will be sure to post all of these ideas at some point in the future. Right now, I am looking forward to sharing all of the weird things that dancers do before/during a show that the public doesn’t know. This will be very amusing and probably shocking to most of you. This post should be up on Tuesday, but please be patient if it gets delayed for some reason.
HAPPY TUTU DAY! (2/2/19) I know it isn’t on a Tuesday this year, but it is still a dance day worth celebrating.
Thank you for reading, and have a fantastic Superbowl Sunday! 🙂
During a live performance, nothing is promised, and the audience experiences something new each time the curtain rises. They are able to witness the real-time mishaps and slips that cannot be undone or edited out. Each show is simply an unparalleled mystery to both the dancers and audience members because it is never certain what the outcome will be regardless of the repeated choreography. Even though dancers try to maintain a professional image, we are just like the people in the darkened theater clutching tickets in their palms. We make mistakes. We fall. We have off days just like everybody else. No matter how hard we strive for perfection, we will never be flawless, and that is reality.
Saturday, we took Flight, a guest-choreographed modern piece, downtown with peacock feathers perched delicately in our hair. To be honest, I am quite disappointed with my performance. It was an incredibly stressful night as things continuously went wrong, and I had to endure that defeated feeling as I took a bow. This piece will be performed again later this season, so I am hoping that we can redeem ourselves. As of right now, we must move on because it is going to be a busy week in the studio as we prepare for Alice in Wonderland in three weeks! I will not waste any more time thinking about the past. We have a ballet to learn. 🙂
Last night was even more magical than I imagined as I finally got to perform the role that I had admired ever since I was a very young ballerina! I couldn’t have asked for the snow pas de deux to have gone any better for the shows, and I am so incredibly thankful for my snow king who supported me through it all. Despite the 14 hour-long day that was spent in the theater, this production generated so much positive energy within me, and I really wish that I could rewind the clock to do it again. Even after I came offstage, I could not stop smiling as the sound of applause filled my heart with so much happiness. However, the curtain has officially closed for the Nutcracker, but we will be back in the theater in a month for our production of Alice in Wonderland. I heard that casting will be announced within the next week, so be sure to keep an eye out for it! 🙂
I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend!
Despite the wet, windy weather that took over Nashville, we still had a great day exploring Music City. We visited the Ryman Auditorium (“the mother church of country music” since 1892), line danced, and experienced lots of live music. I am so lucky to have seen Preston James perform that night… He made Blake Shelton’s team on Season 11 of my favorite singing competition, The Voice! He is so amazing, and I am so fortunate to have seen this 17 year old star perform right in front of me.
The 2017-2018 season is quickly coming to an end, and we are mentally/physically preparing ourselves for our last two productions before the curtain closes for the summer. Rehearsals, however, have been delayed, and we now find ourselves trying to whip these shows together before we head back to the theater. On top of all of this chaos, finals week is rapidly approaching…
My brain is spinning…spinning
This is turning into a crazy week!
Phenomenal… Outstanding… Touching…
My new favorite movie.
I had been wanting to see this for awhile, so I was so excited when my friend invited me to go see this with her a few days ago. The Greatest Showman was very well done, and I think it is one of the best movies that I have seen in a long time. Aside from the film, the soundtrack is amazing, and the songs have such great meaning. I will definitely be watching this again, and I highly encourage you to experience this yourself!
Have you seen this already? What are YOUR thoughts?
I never thought that I would enjoy performing this variation. Canary Fairy had always been one of least favorite classical ballet variations, and I never imagined myself performing it in front of hundreds of people. Surprisingly, I adored portraying this vibrant character, and I was upset when I took the final bow. My costume was glowing… My gold crown was shining…
This was such a wonderful Tribute to my yellow Daisy Bird, and I had a lovely time as the Canary Fairy in this weekend’s production of The Sleeping Beauty.
I am shocked to announce that all of the performances have finally come to a close. After spending over 12 hours in the theater yesterday, we were able to whirl through two separate ballets in one weekend. Each show definitely had its own challenges, but I think that is one of the most exciting things about performing live (you never know what you are going to get!) I am so proud of ALL of the casts, because they were all absolutely stunning. This was a fantastic weekend, and I am so fortunate to have been blessed with the opportunities that I had been given. Have a great week! 🙂
Despite all of the stress and pain that lies behind the curtain, it was such an honor to bring Swan Lake to that stage tonight… This is one of my favorite ballets to watch, and it makes me so grateful to be a part of it. I am beyond thankful to have been cast as one of the four swans, because this is an opportunity that I may never get to have again. I am so happy that I am able to perform this weekend and do what I love with all of these wonderful people… It doesn’t get much better than this.