Tag Archives: adult ballet

A scene from Sleeping Beauty


I posted scenes from the wings of our production of Sleeping Beauty last week because we have an official photographer. But here is one from the production.

I am the lone guy in the photo talking to my stage wife during the variation by the fairies, which happens to be the one we did in class earlier in the week that I mentioned in a previous post.

Curtain falls on Sleeping Beauty

It seems so surreal.

It seems theater week flies by faster and faster each performance.

Three shows. Two days. So much fun.

The glitches, the problems we had during the tech rehearsals and dress rehearsal? They disappeared once the curtain went up for real.

My spur of the moment Act III role? I eared praise from the boss, our artistic director. I pretty much had my Act I part down.

All three shows were amazing, from the dancing, to the costumes, to the dancing.

I’ve mentioned before that this has been an odd year at the ballet school. A lot of our best dancers moved up the ladder to more well known companies and schools, or graduated and went to college,

We have a much younger group of company dancers than we’ve had in years,

But you would not have known it this weekend. Despite having to rush to the finish because of wedding delays, this was one of the coolest productions I’ve ever been in.

It was three acts, the longest performance I believe we’ve done. But it was really nicely done.

My mind is tired from the week. So are my legs,

Withdrawals have already set in.

Don’t know if I’ll be in the fall production again, but it’s still months off.

Going to use the next few months to see if I can’t polish what I can as a dancer before I get to old.

I love performing. I hope I have a few left in me.sbfinale

Getting lost in the fog

The one thing that bothers me this theater week: Not all elements have been in play during tech rehearsals, especially when I’ve had to learn a part from scratch.

Enter the fog on dress rehearsal night.

I was told there would be fog.

I was told it would be at my feet.

My vision is already obscured.

So there is nothing like the terror of seeing the fog rise above your head. All I could see was a sea of white, and the Lilac Fairy’s incredibly bright costume.

In my confusion, I drifted a little too far upstage,

Once again, the backdrop came down and I caught it. I was able to finish the scene, but seriously, that can’t happen tonight. Tonight is our first show.

“We’ll get to rehearse this again before the show, right?” said the guest artist playing the prince.

Evidently, not.

I’ve been told the fog won’t be as high when we perform the scene for real.

I’m hoping so, but came up with a plan B in case it’s not.

Well, you know what they say: Bad dress, great show?

Actually, dress rehearsal wasn’t bad other than the not being able to see part and the backdrop coming down.

I thought I did well in my Act I part. My suspenders kept sliding down, which is not a good thing when your nickers are a little loose (not a good thing when you’re wearing women’s white tights that are not nearly opaque). I think I did OK not making it too noticeable adjusting when either slipped.

Fortunately, my tunic comes down long enough to cover the parts that would not need to be seen (not to mention the small coverage of a thong dance belt).

I’d rather not test the theory, Safety pins are going to keep them in their place tonight.

I may not be able to do anything about tech malfunctions, but wardrobe malfunctions I can prevent.

On the positive side, I watched Act II from the audience. It’s the only Act of the three that I’m not in. I’ll have to watch it from the wings the rest of the way,

The dancing, costumes, the lighting, the tech work were outstanding. It really is going to be an amazing show … especially since it was thrown together almost at the last minute because of the wacky winter weather that postponed many of the in-studio rehearsals.

And I found out in the last couple of days that I’m not the only dancer having to learn a part on the fly. There are a couple of others, including our school director (one of my teachers) who were drafted to fill in for others.

I’m confident tonight will go off without a hitch.

Act II

Ran into a backdrop, plowed into a tech guy in the wings, and was a fairy in class, yeah, an eventful day.

I know, a long headline. Theater week is turning into a fun one.

Tonight was “learn the Act 3 part I didn’t have until Monday” night.

I am a boatman in Act 3 who ferries the prince and the Lilac Fairy to Aurora so the prince can wake her up.

First time I’ve ever gone into theater week not knowing a part, Didn’t know the music, didn’t know my cue, didn’t know the pace of motion.

There were some glitches tonight. First run through, I was too much upstage and a backdrop came down on me. Second time, I plowed into a tech guy in the wings as I was exiting the stage, While humorous, I don’t count that as a mistake since I was already in the wings.

The next four (or was it five?) run throughs were pretty much fairly flawless. I’m no where near stressed out with dress rehearsal tomorrow night. Hard to believe the performances are almost here.

My Act I part of a court man, I pretty much have down, It’s not the most complicated part I’ve ever had, but Sleeping Beauty is turning into a lot of fun.

Speaking of the fun, we ended up working a little bit on the performance in the open class this morning. There is a scene in Act I where all the fairies come out and do first arabesque and then a pas de bouree and pirouettes in order in a line.

Not all of the fairies were there, so our artistic director drafted everyone in class to be fairies, including the guys, We spent about a half hour on the combination.

When you’re a male dancer in ballet, sometimes it’s good to have a sense of humor … especially when you’re asked to be a fairy,

It was fun and I “felt pretty.” It was a hysterical,sbatc3

The photo is from the wings, just before my time to rehearse.

The awkward moment when you have one day to learn a part

I’ve seen dancers get injured before performances before, and see understudies have to learn a part of the fly.

Just never thought I’d be one of those dancers who has to be a quick study.

Let’s just call it the tech week surprise.

Nothing like having your artistic director ask you to do a part with only one rehearsal before dress rehearsal, especially when it is in an act you haven’t been in.

My part of a court man in Act I I have down, But now there is a part in Act 3 I have to learn. I did walk through with Mr. O before Act I rehearsal tonight, It’s simple enough, except that we did it without music, Not having a clue about the music, or the cue of when I come in, that’s a little bit frightening.

But how could I refuse?

Being an old recreational adult dancer, performing is my one little glimpse of what it must be like to be a professional dancer, especially during tech week. And this just adds another layer to that.

As for Act I, there was a lot of tweaking tonight in our first rehearsal on the stage. There was a lot of stopping. In the words of my court lady, we really haven’t had a run through without stopping, which is unusual.

Last year during Cinderella, we ran the kitchen scene that I was in about three to four times a week.

Because of the wacky winter weather, we’ve been behind the eight-ball for Sleeping Beauty. I am confident, though, that we’ll pull things together. On the years that I’ve been a part, the company has not failed to put on a good show.

There is a lot of good dancing in this show. At least in Act I, the only act I’ve seen so far (I will get more than a preview of Act III Wednesday, I’m sure).

As far as classes go, I was a bit lethargic at the barre today, and really struggled during petite allegro.

But the final combination I acquitted myself quite well, which is amazing considering I normally struggle with one of the steps in the combination. It was a four-pique turn, balance turn, ton be couple jete combination in a horseshoe.

I never have been able to get the ton be coupe jete part.

That was until today.

The not so quality photo was from the theater tonight,


Musicality, movement quality and line

There really isn’t much dancing involved with my part in Sleeping Beauty.

That’s sort of by design.

There are four court men in Act I.

I am the only dancer. The other three are dads, and I think the notion of having to do any difficult steps would have frightened them away.

Our wives, like me, are dancers.

But in Act I, we’re basically props.

But that doesn’t mean we just stand there.

Because I am the lone dancer and most experienced performer of the court men … my lady and I are front and center. We have the most to do.

Even when you are performing more of a character role in a ballet, you can’t forget three important elements to what makes ballet, and dance in general, beautiful and graceful.

Musicality, movement quality and line.

With my part it means when and how you walk, gesture and pose.

Twice in the scene, we’re in lines, we halt and go into first arabesque. My lady and I are at the end of the line. No one in front of us.

Two questions run through my mind: Will our line look good to the audience? Is my knee straight when we tendue?

I know the latter is such a small thing, and the audience wouldn’t notice. But as a dancer, to me that’s important considering this is one of the few things we’re required to do that is balletic.

I don’t think people realize how much the three elements I’ve mentioned really are important to a dance performance.

Must of us focus on the steps and technique.

You can do all of the steps correctly, but if you don’t those three elements, you can really look bad performing.

If you don’t believe me, watch Dancing with the Stars.

That’s become my daughter’s and my guilty pleasure.

My daughter is amazed how many times I will mention whether or not I like a couple’s movement quality, comment on their music quality or line, and one of the judges will say basically the same thing.

They may not be dancing ballet, but those elements are just as important when you’re doing other forms of dance from contemporary, ballroom to even hip hop.

Everything was beautiful at the ballet

This really isn’t about the song, but there is a line that really is true for me.

The ballet studio is home for me.

It’s a home I didn’t visit as often as I would have liked since Christmas break.

But I’m finally getting back in a ballet-groove with classes Thursday, Saturday and today in addition to rehearsal on Saturday.

I didn’t realize how much of a boost ballet gives me until I stopped giving in to the fatigue of long work and college hours and started forcing myself to really get back to class.

Going to class refreshes me mentally. It’s restoring my energy physically.

And it’s been flat out fun spending time with what really is my ballet family.

Among the tidbits from today’s class from Mr. O:

Two things make a dancer: Technique and movement quality.

We worked on movement quality today, how we should look in our transition steps, in arm movements, walking.

Sometimes we get so caught up with technique we become mechanical, at least that’s been my problem.

I needed to have that lesson thrown at me today. My part in Sleeping Beauty doesn’t have a whole lot of dance steps. But there is a movement quality that is needed.

And that’s what I’ve liked about the three classes I’ve attended since Thursday. Each have had a different theme, from body alignment, to proper technique to movement quality.

And one of the cooler things is that I’ve noticed I haven’t beaten myself up on what I struggle at, or things I can’t do that I should be able to do.

I think I’m finally learning really just to enjoy class.