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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Unprepared for Show


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Hello all.


I am a sixteen-year-old student, and a soloist in my studio's upcoming performance of the Nutcracker, which is tomorrow. The whole rehearsal season has, to put it lightly, been a mess. I've often complained to my parents and teacher that I was not being adequately prepared for the role, despite my frequent requests for help. Nevertheless, I decided to proceed the show because I did not want to break my commitment.


Last night was the dress rehearsal. I had never done my piece in my costume or even on the stage prior to this. My teacher has continually warned me that my dance will feel a lot different in the tutu, so I knew that I needed this practice.

However, the management of both my studio and the theater wasted so much time during the rehearsal that we were not able to run either my solo or my two other corps dances. I was not the only one affected; one of the other soloists was practically in tears as she stood on the stage and begged for a chance to run her piece.


I now face a predicament. If I do this show, I will be doing the three dances in costume and on the stage for the first time. I have two quick costume changes which I will have never practiced (one of which is so fast I'm not quite sure it is possible). I have asked for help frequently to no avail. I feel completely and utterly alone.


I don't want to break my commitment, but I feel like my studio has broken their commitment to me as a dancer and performer. I am absolutely terrified to go onstage tomorrow. Any advice?

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There needs to be a rehearsal on stage tonight or tomorrow before the show for everything that was not done last night. Period. If the teacher does not do this, then all you can do is your best, and know that the fault of any problem is not yours. There was negligence in rehearsals by not rehearsing you in your tutu in the studio prior to even moving to the stage. There was negligence in planning for what appears to be the one and only dress rehearsal. Was there not even a tech and spacing rehearsal prior to the dress rehearsal?


Get together with the others who did not get rehearsed and talk to your teacher. If she won't schedule you, then all you can do is get there early, warm up properly, and get on the stage in your tutu and practice on your own. There is no excuse for lack of proper stage rehearsals for a production. Is there a warm up class for the advanced students given on stage prior to the show? Somehow you and the teacher need to figure out a way to get you, and the others, rehearsed. It is her job, and there is just no acceptable reason for this not happening.

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Thank you for the great advice, Ms. Leigh.


I have contacted my teacher, who has promised that we will rehearse on the stage tomorrow before the show. Given the way that things have gone throughout the rehearsal season, however, I am still not convinced it will happen (though I am hopeful). If not, I plan to get there very early tomorrow and rehearse with my castmates and on my own. We do have a warm up class, so perhaps we will be able to do it during that time.


There was no tech and spacing rehearsal before last night's run through (the studio could not afford to rent the theater out for more time). This is another thing which has frustrated me as well as many other students and parents. I have long since decided that this will be my last Nutcracker with this studio, and I know that many, if not most, of my fellow students feel likewise. Nonetheless, we all intend to give it our best tomorrow despite the lacking rehearsal time.

Edited by Pointyourtoes
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