When the Stage Calls
Chances are that as an adult dancer the curtain to performing on stage has been closed for quite some time now, besides the occasional supernumerary parts. After all, we know how demanding ballet can be and are well aware of the cost of productions (and that’s just the beginning). Yet there is a rich education to performance that anyone from beginners to patrons can learn from: the power of eye contact with other dancers, finding light, lessons of good nerves versus bad nerves, the costumes, and the inevitable prop. Dance is art, remember- performance art.
Which leaves us in an odd place as adult ballet dancers. Many of us don’t have the resources or ability to perform on stage at this point in our lives, nor may we have the time or commitment that productions often require. Not to mention a little thing called stage fright (which will probably always sneak up on us, no matter what age we are). Regardless of any reasons, excuses, or fears we have about being on stage for either the first time, the 100th time, or somewhere in between, our questions and thoughts about performing are still there.
Until we can find that performance niche, our classes will continue to provide us with an ample stage: one that is on a very personal level and has enough opportunity for both lessons and mistakes. Not only that, but studio classes provide a creative space for experimentation.
As a teacher of a five-week adult ballet workshop, I am discovering a way to experience the artistry of ballet beyond the traditional class. Taking a classical stage variation, I simplified and altered the choreography to fit in a studio space. In addition to that, I am posting a video of what we learned of the variation that week online after class, allowing my students and fellow busy adult students in the world to practice at their own convenience. I’ve found that the power of video is incredibly educational in its own form and a new way to discover performance in and out of the studio as an adult ballet dancer.