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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Going on tour...


Katarinaballerina

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Hello!

 

Not sure whether this is the right place for this topic, but here goes! I am very happy to announce that I have booked the national tour of a broadway show!!! Now, before this development, I had just begun training much more intensely in ballet (1 or 2 90-min technique classes 7 days a week), and was about to go en pointe. Now that I'm touring I won't really be able to take much class, and I have a few questions.

 

1. For those of you who have experience touring with ballet companies, other than company class (which I won't have), what do you do to stay in shape on the road??

 

2. What can I do as a substitute for daily class to ensure that I don't lose all the progress I've made?

 

3. Do you guys have any recommendations for good pilates DVDs, or DVDs of ballet classes?

 

This show has a fair bit of dance and I have a history of pushing too hard and injuring myself, so it's super important that I maintain my strength. Any other advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

 

Katarina

 

p.s. I can't say enough how helpful this site is! I'm fairly new here and haven't posted much, but I've already benefitted so much from all of your experience!

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Congratulations, Katarina! It should be great fun. I loved touring!!!

 

It will be extremely important for you to warm yourself up with at least a full barre prior to all rehearsals and shows. Download a couple of ballet class CD's from iTunes for your iPod. You have had enough training, I hope, to know how to do a full barre by yourself. :offtopic:

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Congrats! Depending on your level you might want to look into company class in the cities your touring. We use to have touring dancers take co class with us from time to time. Contact their Co Mgr to find out their policy. If you think that's a bit over your head, no offense implied, check with their school if they have one. Most will have adult classes or may allow you to take an upper level class. Some may charge you but see if they have a "professional rate". The closest substitute to class would be a good, and I stress good, pilates class.

 

PS. Save as much per diem as possible!!!!!

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I agree, our home studio used to have drop ins quite often for touring shows and artists. Make sure you have proof of being a professional dancer and most local companies will allow you to take class. But Ms. Leigh is correct, even if that does not work out, you need to give yourself class or group with other dancers to have it. We're discussing the problems that can occur when you don't on the SYTYCD thread.

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Congratulations! What an exciting time you're going to have! So you are one of many dancers? If so, that's great. It should be easier for you to band together with other dancers to warm up, stretch, give yourselves a ballet class or barre if it's not automatically included in your day.

 

My daughter has 6 years of full-time touring with a dance company under her belt, and also spent a year as the featured dancer on a national tour with a musical. There should be a dance captain of your tour. Normally, a dance captain's job is to give the dancers a daily warm-up or ballet class and to give daily corrections to dancers based on each previous performance and in accordance with the choreographer's wishes. If the dance captain is not able to find the time daily to give a warm-up - this is certainly true on some tours - then it's up to you dancers to give yourselves one.

 

Ideally, you should be giving yourselves a daily ballet class. On some of my daughter's tours, the dance captain gave the class, on other tours one dancer was assigned the role of giving ballet class daily, on still other tours no one was assigned that position, so dancers independently took turns doing so. The class was sometimes not mandatory, but you sure could tell the true professionals from the rest by seeing who attended the daily class!

 

Keep in mind that you'll be spending loads of time, hours on end, on the tour bus traveling from location to location. You might enter a city late at night after having had an entire "travel day." Stretch frequently on the bus. Band together with other dancers so you can have "stretch classes" on the bus together. If you are flying to and from any location, don't be bashful about stretching in the aisles whenever possible. Flights are especially hard because of fluid buildup in the body.

 

Know that it's often extremely hard to get transportation (and/or find the time) to take class at a local company or school once you've arrived in a city or town. Normally, national tours book venues in larger cities first and then fill in small cities along the route between the big venues. Those small cities and towns are where you can really have trouble finding an outside class, finding the time and transportation to get there, and even fitting in a full class for yourselves. You might roll into such a town at any time of day, and you always have to re-stage at each new venue because each stage is different from the others. if it's a one-night stop (I forget what it's called - a "one-over" maybe?) - and many of the small cities are - you'll be plenty busy with stage directions. Again, if you band together with some other dancers, you can at least give yourselves warm-ups each day. Depending on the production you're in, you might be allowed to stretch while waiting. Some tours don't allow this. Some venues don't allow this; I think it's due to insurance considerations, possibilities of injuries if a stretching dancer gets in the way, etc. Still, do your best to put yourself through ballet barre daily.

 

Sometimes a city might have a yoga or Pilates class in the downtown area that you can take. Keep your eye out for them. But again, you might have a dance captain or choreographer who has already worked all of this out in detail, especially if you're a dancing company, not a musical.

 

I hope this helps. Your tour and my daughter's might just cross each other's paths. She's met performers from many other national tours when they're in town together. In Europe, the tours have sometimes waved at each other across the railroad tracks.

 

You're going to have a great time as long as you take responsible care of your body. Oh, and bring decks of cards and lots of games for all the tour bus hours!

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Thank you so much for all your thoughtful responses!

 

This is a fairly luxurious tour, as it is an Equity tour, so thankfully no one-night stops! We stay for at least a week in each place, and we stay in some cities for 3 or 4 weeks, so it's really nice. I will be sure to do a full barre every day. Taking class in each city is a wonderful idea, and while I think company class would be too advanced for me, I'll be sure to do my research and check out the best schools in each area. Hopefully I'll have time to make it to class. I'm hoping our dance captain will also provide some sort of structure.

 

My biggest concern right now is actually maintaining flexibility. I'm naturally VERY stiff and it takes a lot of work for me to maintain what would be considered a very average level of flexibility for a dancer. As you mentioned, vagansmom, we will be spending a lot of time traveling and so hopefully I'll be able to stretch on buses/planes (though I'll have to find some way to warmup beforehand, otherwise I will surely hurt myself). We'll see how it goes!

 

I will definitely keep you all posted, and vagansmom, maybe I'll meet your daughter! :rolleyes:

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Katarinab, Yay, an Equity tour - that's even better! (better pay :angry: ). Best of luck to you in this upcoming year. Sounds like a great tour!

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