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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Falling during performance


joyofaleap

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My daughter's end of the year recital was this past Sunday (yesterday). She was the lead in Sleeping Beauty. She is the youngest lead the school has ever had, she has never done a pas de deux, so it was a first time in everything. The lead this year was shared, my daughter would be Aurora in the morning and her classmate in the afternoon. Her classmate who is 16, a beautiful dancer,had been lead last year.

Throughout dress rehearsal she had been beautiful, and my daughter handled her role just fine.

But yesterday morning, when it was her time, she came out beautifully and towards the end of her first variation she just slipped. She simply slipped, it was as if she had slipped on a banana peel. She recovered immediately and was able to finish with the music, but my heart and the public's heart just sank...but mine, I would say, sank a bit more. Yet, when she came out again and her leaps were just breathtaking, the public just roared and applauded her like you would not believe. She finished her performance beautifully and the public just loved her.

Nevertheless afterwards she cried and cried...because she felt it was her one shot, she doesn't know if she'll ever have a chance like that and she just cried...I have explained that this has happened to all the great ones. And that a good dancer must go through this. She just must. Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom here to share? By the way, the teachers were great and they were sincere in their praises. But I think that if there are some war stories out there, it would help.

thanks,

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There are stories of Makarova falling all the time. There is a video with her telling many stories of falling both on and off stage (as in, into the pit). The rare thing would be to find someone who has never fallen or slipped on stage. DD slid like she was on a Slip and Slide a few years ago while coming in for bows. Whoosh!

 

vj

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Yep, been there, done that. Not fun at the time, but funny later. It happens to all of us at some point. I had a couple of really big splats during my career, as did just about everyone else I know. These things hurt your ego more than anything else, and that recovers quicky :pinch: Her performance will be rated on the how well she recovered and danced the rest of the show, not on one slip. :yes:

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At a recent competition, DD walked onstage, and stepped confidently into her starting pose for Kitri, and as her front foot touched down, she slid at high speed right into a split. Judges comment tape said, "never seen anyone begin Kitri that way!" Two years ago, in her last recital at her old studio, parents were videotaping dressrehearsal. DD was the center dancer in a 9 girl kick line on pointe, slipped, and took down the ENTIRE line. Dramatic tumbling which was taped by EVERYONE~ Two years ago at Grand prix competition, a male dancer was doing the dramatic tours to finish his variation. He had some serious height in his turns, and when he neared the backdrop, got a little too close to it, turned in the air, hit it full force, and rolled sideways down it. He hit the floor with an audible thump, got up, shook his head, said "duuuude", and finished his variation with a goofy smile. Our competitors loved his response so much they begged for a video tape, and got his autograph. Falls happen to everyone. Cry, laugh, and move on.

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On the New York City Ballet website, on the page entitled "Dancer on Dancer," Ashley Bouder talks about taking a big spill on stage while dancing Dewdrop Fairy in the Nutcracker

 

I seem to recall people who saw that performance marveling about what an incredible recovery she made after that.

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If I recall correctly, Bouder has taken more than one spill in performance. She charges the music and that's one big reason she's becoming such a beloved dancer. Balanchine LOVED risk takers on stage. He didn't want his dancers to hold back. Suzanne Farrell talks about this in her book, "Holding on to the Air."

 

AD's and teachers don't hold falls against their dancers. They all understand that it just happens sometimes. Often, it's the floor: sweat, a bobby pin, a knot or dip in the flooring.

 

Joyofleap, this is probably the first of several, if not many, spills your daughter will take. The first is always the worst. :( Eventually, dancers laugh off their falls.

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I agree: It's all in the recovery.

 

Fall, cry, give up, ... FAIL.

Fall, recover, overcome, ... CONQUER.

 

Actually, I think there is a greater benefit in "Fall, recover, conquer" than there is in "Perform flawlessly." Your daughter is blessed in that she knew how to recover and conquer, and doubly blessed that the audience was right there as a good support and encouragement.

 

Print out this whole thread and just let her read and re-read the responses.

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Just wanted to add anohter from my daughter. A year ago at her old studio she was danicng in a recital. Doing a variation from something (maybe Don Q - all the performances start to blend together.) Was flawless and really going for it. Down to the final 30 seconds or so of the variation, you got it - fell right out of a turn. Was a far easier turn than earlier in the variation. Finished the variation, and her mom and I could see she wanted to melt into the floor. Next night she did same performance again - flawless this time.

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at my studio i have gained somewhat of a reputation for my falls. being 5'9" when i go down, i go WAY down. so i have definitely taken some tough falls. my worst was during class, but its definitely worth telling. we were practicing attitude turns and my teacher was correcting me and i was working on it and all of a sudden i was in the air and then SPLAT! i fell face first on the floor, literally. my face broke my fall! i had got a minor concussion, bruise my nose a little, and bruised my hands a good amount. i had to sit and watch rehearsal with an ice pack on my nose. the pianist playing for class was writing at the time and he showed me that when i fell he messed up writing because it was so loud!

and for an interesting performance story,

last year at our spring performance i was dancing the Dawn variation from Coppelia. halfway through the variation i completely forgot the choreography, and instictively i just start making up stuff until i could figure out in the music where i was. i was able to make it offstage after the variation and just started bawling. and this was at the beginning of the evening. i still had to make it through the finale and 3 more pieces. to make it worse it was the night that my family had come AND the teachers from Butler University's dance department. but i learned from that, and my teachers were very supportive and proud that i had covered it so well.

so you live and learn!

hope your daughter is feeling better, and encourage her to just stay positive!

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...what amazes me is how all these young women recover I suppose you will not be a real ballerina if you don't have a story like this to tell or a few of these to tell. She has read most of the postings and she is already feeling better. Like she belongs. She did recover beautifully and that is why the public responded so well to her, I think. I have seen other girls go through that and they just don't recover. Thank you for sharing these stories. They are important and they show what you are all made of. The art of dance is lucky to have you and so are we!. :(

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DD was 13 years old, we had traveled from Edmonton to Toronto to spend Christmas with her, she was performing in the NBoC Nutcracker. DD had not seen her Dad or her brother in over three months, and it was the first time in two years they had seen her dance. It was Boxing Day and I had purchased the best seats in the house so we could take in every second, we where so excited to be there to see her perform. Ten minutes in, during the girls dance and with all the girls holding hands, daughter stumbled to her knees was dragged along a couple of feet before the girl in front and behind managed to pull her back up.. My husband laughed loudly, I was mortified, her teacher didn't even notice. Daughter was a little upset that day, but she got over it. Her Dad loves to tease her about it to this day and she laughs along with him.

 

I think it would make a good credit card commercial:

 

Thousands of dollars in ballet training

3 airline tickets $1800

5 Nights Hotel Accommodation $750.

3 Ballet Tickets $270.

 

Watching your daughter perform and fall to her knees on the Hummingbird stage, priceless!

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This is entirely true. :party:

 

And sometimes one truly spectacular fall can be given extra credit! A friend of mine was performing in "Donizetti Variations" as one of the demi-soloists and in one of the movements, both her feet seemed to sweep out from under her, and she hit with a perfect three-point landing (both heels and one other place). As fast as she hit, her eyes went as wide as saucers, her mouth went into that shape that says, "Oooo!" and the next beat, she was back up and in arabesque, and so on flawlessly to the end of the ballet. People who had never seen the ballet before thought it was a built-in joke, but we knew differently. What got me was how fast everything happened, and it was over. The only thing I could ask was "Are you OK?" She said, "Yeah, sure." And that was that.

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