Sunday, June 7, 2009

In The Wings

I just finished reading the book, In the Wings behind the Scenes at the New York City Ballet by Kyle Froman, and it was wonderful. It really brought me back to when I was a dancer and I could relate to everything he was saying. It had me reminiscing on the long and grueling practices, the pain, fatigue, and injuries, and the joy and excitement of recitals. I felt as though I was living my life as a ballerina all over again. This book sums up a day in the life of a dancer; “These are the world’s finest dancers, and this is a chronicle of their struggles for perfection, and sometimes their struggles just to make it through the season able to walk” (Froman 1).

It starts off at 10:15am explaining a dancers daily routine before class begins and how they warm-up before warm-up. The dancers prepare their Pointe shoes and start their barre exercises. Everyone is rehearsing for their big show. It’s now 11:30am; he talks about how dancers have a physically demanding schedule and the importance of maintenance for their bodies. There is every kind of machine and therapist under the sun to help heal them from their toes to their hands. At 2:15pm the rehearsals become more demanding and nerve-racking. There are several run-throughs that help perfect the dance. “For dancers, there is nothing so transporting as hearing the orchestra for the first time and feeling the stage lights electrifying the stage. The overwhelming buzz we feel when everything finally comes together makes the tedious rehearsals before worth it” (Froman 57). 6:15pm superstition leads the way as each dancer performs their ritual before the show. The chaos behind the scenes is filled with excitement and anxiety as everyone scrambles to get ready. They prepare themselves and their shoes. It’s Showtime! “For all the work dancers do during the day, the reason we do it is that short time onstage” (Froman 95). As that curtain rises there is an unimaginable feeling that goes through each dancer. When the light hits their eyes the audience turns black and if feels as though you are dancing for yourself. As the music starts the dancers start the dance. The dancers feel and move as one. The show is tiring and seems never-ending but it is all worth it in the end.