Is Your Pre-Show Ritual Uninspired? Take A Cue From These 12 Pros
But pre-show routines are also highly individual, and involve artists preparing their heads for performance just as much as their bodies. That could mean anything from listening to a favorite song, bonding with cast members or meditating.
Feeling like your pre-show ritual could use a bit of inspiration? These 12 pros shared their tried-and-true routines with us:
Choreographer and Entrepreneur Jacob Jonas
Miami City Ballet's Nathalia Arja
Dancer and Choreographer Emma Portner
The Washington Ballet's Ashley Murphy
Dancer and Choreographer Ephrat Asherie
Pacific Northwest Ballet's Leta Biasucci
"For roles that are accompanied by nerves, I like to find time before a performance to spend visualizing the piece. I close my eyes and imagine how the 'perfect' performance would feel. I find this practice to be meditative and allows for me to feel more excited than nervous.
"Not necessarily a ritual, but I have to double-check my performance shoe ribbons and re-sew ones that look like they might possibly come unsewn. Who wants to spend a show worrying about shoes falling off?"
Martha Graham Dance Company's PeiJu Chien-Pott
"I usually arrive at the theater much earlier than the call time. I set up my dressing room to create a feels-like-home space. I do my makeup and hair while I listen to some calm music. And right before I get onstage, I meditate for five minutes and 'talk' to Martha. Finally, I give the stage a kiss."
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Hope Boykin
"My most important ritual is prayer. I simply ask that the audience will see the most honest artist in me. Despite the frustrations, feelings, aches and pains I may be experiencing, I long for the best performance to resonate in the hearts of those watching."
Dancer and Choreographer Caleb Teicher
"I usually improvise to a couple songs by myself to get some creative juices flowing. Then, I try to find some quiet time so that listening to music onstage feels fresh and focused. I may eat some gummy bears, too."
Ballet Dancer Joy Womack
Dutch National Ballet's Michaela DePrince
Choreographer James Alsop
New York City–based choreographer and director Jennifer Weber once worked on a project with a strict social media policy: " 'Hire no one with less than 10K, period'—and that was a few years ago," she says. "Ten thousand is a very small number now, especially on Instagram."
The commercial dance world is in a period of transition, where social media handles and follower counts are increasingly requested by casting directors, but rarely offered by dancers up front. "I can see it starting to show up on resumés, though, alongside a dancer's height and hair color," predicts Weber.
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
What happens during a performance is the product of the painstaking process of realizing an artistic vision. Whether held beforehand, afterward, offsite or online, audience discussions tend not to be so preordained, easily thrown off track without a skilled moderator at the helm.
"I'm someone who dreaded talkbacks and Q&As," admits Bill Bragin, former director of public programming at Lincoln Center. "While I was in New York, a lot of the time it was just audience members trying to show off how smart they were."
These events present a pile of difficult questions: How much do you reveal about a piece before it's shown? How can a conversation designed to hit key points feel casual and spontaneous? How do you cater to the needs of diverse attendees, from novice dancegoers to lifelong fans to scholars and critics? And how do you avoid smothering dance with language, flattening all its complexity?