Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Arriving at NYU Skirball Center

Photo by Matthew Murphy
BalletCollective had an amazing run at the Skirball center! Thank you to all who attended our performances and supported our many artists. For those who missed it...

Wednesday was a jam-packed day! Brandon Baker, BalletCollective's lighting designer, arrived at the theater at 5am to begin "set up" and lighting for the different ballets. After taking class at Steps, Troy arrived at noon to assist with lighting, and oversee any other theater doings. The dancers trickled in around 1pm to put on our stage make up ... because press photographers were going to be shooting our dress rehearsal. Soon after the musicians arrived and did their sound check, we were ready!

Both premieres: Dear and Blackbirds and All that We See, had complete dress rehearsals, meaning performance makeup and hair for both male and female dancers, and a full out run of the ballets with live music and lighting. However, each ballet began with a spacing rehearsal with the musicians playing through the piece, as the dancers took it easy (marked through the steps without going full out with energy and feeling). Then once the music levels sounded balanced and the dancers had a sense of the space, we danced each ballet full out. For The Impulse Wants Company, since it was not a new piece, we rehearsed in practice clothes and took it under top speed - to make sure we saved some energy on reserve for the evening's performance, which was a very quick turn around!

Photo by Matthew Murphy
It's a hard day, entering a theater for the first time, having dress rehearsal and then the first performance all in a few hours. Getting ourselves organized and comfortable on the stage has to happen in about 60 seconds! Thankfully the Skirball Center is a wonderful theater. The stage was a great size, much bigger than I had imagined. It is rather wide compared to most theaters. There are two large columns that flank each side - though the stage extends about five feet farther on each side into the "wings". Yet, there were no actual wings. And the floor was not slippery nor too hard.

At five o'clock, the dancers grabbed a snack and headed to our coed dressing room to relax before beginning our pre-show rituals. With the music blaring Simon and Garfunkel or the occasional "Call Me Maybe," we were pumped.

Two hours before every show I start my makeup and hair. Once my face and hair are made up, I change into my Uniqlo warmup fleece sweater and pants, eat a banana, put on the last finishing touch: my Mac Russian Red lipstick, and head to the stage to start my barre. I love stretching and warming up on or near the stage; it gets me in the zone. One hour before the show I give myself a ballet barre warmup, similar to morning ballet class in that it works the whole body, do an ab series, and then put on my pointe shoes. I then change into my costume and grab two Altoids for the road!

Photo by Matthew Murphy
About half hour before the show, the audience started to file in; meanwhile the dancers were warming up on the stage, for all to watch. Troy loves to remove the wings and curtains from all our stages. He feels that it allows the audience to see what goes on behind the scenes: stretching, talking, hugging, heavy breathing, collapsing to the floor, etc. One of Troy's hopes for BalletCollective is to help ballet become more accessible by breaking down the barriers and removing the facade.

Brandon, acting as stage manager and lighting director, called "places" and soon the audience grew quiet and the lights went dark.  

Stay tuned for more about our performances!

1 comment:

  1. That's really great post for ballet lovers its full of great information .
    you have done great job my friend ,
    i bookmark your blog for future update thanks .

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