Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our First Performance Weekend

It's always a thrill; going to the theater. You've practiced several months in grueling rehearsals, killed multiple pairs of shoes, undergone hours of teachers yelling at you and you're finally ready to go do it all on stage! Ok ok, fine that was a little dramatic :) ...except for the fact that it's all true.. hmm. Anyway, I always look forward to tech week on stage, despite how awful it seems to end up being. You go from a nice, safe studio with mirrors and familiar spacing, to this big dark stage that you're not used to dancing on and you're expected to have perfect spacing in the first run through. Tech week means late nights, going over and over again the same choreography you've been rehearsing for who knows how long, and sometimes you simply wanna die. Then again, there really is nothing better than stepping out onto that stage and overlooking the hundreds of red upholstered seats and the ginormous chandelier hanging from the beautifully decorated ceiling. Although, I can't speak for all theaters, but Capitol Theater is one gorgeous theater. It's kind of a cool set up actually. The company is based in the Capitol Theater. They take class and rehearse on the third floor where there are two studios, the administration works  on the second floor where they have all their offices and intimidating cubicles, and the theater is on the first floor; this huge, amazing theater (with real box seats!! I don't know why I find that so cool, but it is!). So everything's all in one place! As opposed to the good old days of having to drive an extra half an hour to get to late Nutcracker rehearsals in Denver. Then you'd get home at 11 o clock or later and still have to do your hair for the next night and your homework for the next day. Yay for graduating high school :) and yay for not having to put my hair up in curlers every night before Nutcracker performances! haha.
So, all the trainees and the academy kids (and I mean ALL the academy kids) have been rehearsing a little piece called De File for the Gala that Ballet West puts on every year. It's this huge fundraiser they put on and honestly, I wish I got to be one of the people who was watching the show! They all get fed an amazing meal, then watch the performance, and then they all meet again for dessert. And they were all wearing these fabulous dresses and killer shoes..man, what it would be like to be rich!! haha They bring in all these people, who most likely have a lot of money based on what I comprehended, and put this whole night together in hopes of convincing these people to donate money to the Ballet. It's kind of awesome! They start out the show with De File, which is basically 150 kids on stage at the same time, doing who knows what because there's too much commotion to even tell what is going on! But it was a blast :) The choreography isn't anything too complicated, but the fact that the school director can get us all in organized formations is a miracle!
Our first night in the theater at Tuesday and we basically spent two hours trying to get a million and a half kids on stage and ran De File four times.. which is death.. on a stick. For the entire five minutes we are actually on stage, the majority of if is running around, and me, with the retarded lungs, can't for the life of me handle all the cardio without dying a little bit. The second night, we rehearsed the piece a few more times.. more dying :) But, at least the director, Peter Christie, was pleased with the progress we were making. It's so nice to hear when you are doing a good job and the people in charge of you are actually proud. To reward our hard work, he shortened our Thursday night rehearsal. haha it was funny because every single dancer walked out of the theater totally stunned that it was still light outside! Oh, the life of a dancer. Never seeing the sunlight :)
Friday night was my favorite night; dress rehearsal!! There's just a special thrill to a dress rehearsal. You slap on layers of break-out inducing stage makeup and head into the wings of the stage where a few company dancers are hanging out in their warm-ups. You only get one shot to get it right because, after that, the show has to go on! The orchestra and the other dancers aren't going to wait for you to get it right! Thankfully, the rehearsal went really well, except for a few minor mishaps. You know, little kids picking their noses on stage and having full on conversations during the Port de Bras section. Little things like that. The highlight of the night, though, was getting to sneak into the balcony after having rehearsed our piece, and getting to watch the company rehearse. They're all so inspiring! The way they own the stage and nail the choreography. I know it's super cheesy and nerdy to say, but I think it's important to watch a ballet every now and again. It helps me remember why I love it so much; why I put myself through countless hours of sweating bullets and angry teachers and blood blisters and frustration. We kill ourselves every single day so that when we get out there and see the hundreds of people paying to watch us dance, we can be proud that we worked so hard and accomplished something! Alright the nerdy part is over :)
After a long week on stage, performance day finally came!! The theater is fun, but when there's actually an audience out there, it makes it ten times better. You work a little harder and stick it out a little longer just for that applause at the end.. and then it's all over. We lined up on stage, the orchestra began to play (much too slow, might I add. One con of having a live orchestra is they always get the tempo wrong somehow. But no complaints!!) and we performed the piece, just like any other day of the week. It all went smoothly.. or so I thought, but I'll get to that later :) At the end of the piece, the conductor was supposed to lead us all into a bow, but instead he just put his head down and waltzed right out of the orchestra pit...leaving a little girl in charge of the bow. So obviously, she didn't know what to do, so we all just stood there in our final pose until the audience awkwardly stopped clapping and we clumsily headed off stage. Then, I heard that one of the trainees ran into one of the guys, leaving perfect makeup face print on his shirt! haha, I'm sure the audience didn't even notice though. You'd be surprised about what you can get away with without the audience's knowing :) But overall, it went well. It feels good that it's all over and we can start focusing on other things!
This week, we've been doing Ballet West for Kids so more on that soon!!

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