Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Behind the scenes of The Nutcracker: Rehearsals

Guest blog from Carol Cohen, adult dance student and cast member of The Nutcracker.
Gabrielle Beach and Jackson Kettell rehearse the
roles of the Arabian Leopard and her Trainer.
During our rehearsals of The Nutcracker, the cast has learned so much from Artistic Director Peter Stark. Here’s some of the most important things our dancers, including myself, have taken away from the rehearsal process.
  • Learn to play to the entire audience. Using The Addams Family as an example, Peter pointed out that the cast has to "play" to not only audience members in the orchestra seats in front of the stage, but to those in the box seats and up in the balcony and gallery areas.
  • Rehearsals are a prime opportunity to learn ALL roles. Be willing and able to step into a role at any time. Not only does it help to strengthen your skills but it could prove to be your big break in moving up from the Corps de Ballet. (NGB new artist William Dugan pointed this out in his interview with the Tampa Tribune.)
The Leopard and her Trainer rehearse
while Teacups and other dancers wait and
watch in the wings.
  • All students are expected to take responsibility for their costumes. Our costumes are part of a million dollar set. Many of them are very delicate. Dancers are expected to see to the care, fit, and location of all of their costumes and accessories during rehearsal/performance.
  • Learn from everyone, and show respect to all. When Bruce Marks visited the Patel Conservatory for a recent master class, Peter invited him to a Nutcracker rehearsal for his feedback. Dancers are expected to be open to constructive criticism. There’s always something to learn and ways to improve. Be open to it wherever you can.

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