The Art of Rehearsal

By Laura Dodge

Dance is the Word participants were given an insight into the rehearsal process yesterday, watching the emerging dancer nominees in their final stage call. The six exceptionally talented young dancers had only finished the company’s 54 show run of The Sleeping Beauty the previous day and have been rehearsing frantically alongside their busy performing schedule.

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At this stage, there are three key elements to perfect – lighting, entrances and staging. Which lighting looks best without blinding the dancers? When exactly should the music be started? Should the dancer walk on in darkness or light? How is it best to use the stage space effectively? All of these questions need to be answered before performance time.

Rehearsals are also about ‘marking’, a way of going through the steps without expending too much energy. This involves a fine balance between ensuring the technique has been mastered, the dancer is familiar with the stage (dimensions, flooring, wings etc) but doesn’t end up exhausted.

In her emerging dancer video, Alison McWhinney describes ballet as “the constant desire to be better – a never ending quest for perfection”. It is this desire that makes dancers always want to perform at their best and all the nominees gave fabulous dress rehearsal performances. It was repetiteur Yohei Sasaki who had to remind them to “save something for tonight”, and interestingly it was not the dancers who made the greatest impression in the dress run that shone brightest on the night.

Laura Dodge