When I first returned to dancing as an adult, I vowed never to perform and never dance with kids.
Funny how your dance journey changes. Friday and Saturday, I’ll be performing the most dance extensive non-Nutcracker part I ever had. And I’ll be one of only four dancers (out of more than 40 in the show) above the age of 18.
Today is sort of the calm in the storm. Just an evening company ballet class. That’s after three days of rehearsals and dance classes to fill the morning and early afternoons of my weekend.
Tomorrow is moving day into the Von Braun Center concert hall. We’ve got a three-hour rehearsal tomorrow, which I know will include both spacing and dancing. And for me, it’s always that first rehearsal in the vast empty concert hall where the butterflies really hit. They never really go away, but they usually calm down when we take the stage.
It’s crazy fun, and a totally different vibe than you get by just being in class. Sunday, we had our run through in costumes, but still, it’s not the same type of world as it is at the theater. To be honest, I think during performance week is when you really bond with the family that is Huntsville Ballet.
You share a cramped dressing room with your fellow dancers (if you’re a guy, it’s usually the smallest around, and there are only eight of us in the production). You really get to know your fellow dancers with the time you spend with them in the wings getting ready for rehearsal, the many hours of rehearsal, and the relaxed time of warmups and stretching.
And you get to know the wonderful people who work behind the scenes to help pull a performance off, like the tech crew who have been doing their jobs almost since I was a child, many who started as dance parents and kept volunteering for the ballet long after their kids hung up their shoes.
And you have the costume people and the makeup people. It’s amazing all the work they do. Some of them are parents, and its good to really get to know they away from the occasional “how’s it going?” at the studio.
Of course, the thing that I enjoy most about production week is how it stretches you as a dancer. It’s your chance to create art, to create something beautiful for an audience.
Unlike the dance family you’re a part of that’s working behind the scenes, you never really get to know their stories. I know many are there to support their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins or friends.
But if they’re someone who loves the arts, or someone there just looking to relax, enjoy and get their minds off their problems, then you want to give them their money’s worth and help them enjoy their evening all the more.