A cellist and I both agreed that the authenticity and emotion of an art is lost when the artist is not fully in the present moment. So what to do when the pressures of a past performance show up to haunt me? Well, this wonderful young cellist had come up with a strategy, and it has altered my approach to performance ever since. She said that before she begins a repeat performance she tells herself "make it even more beautiful."
I once heard a male ballet dancer say they were tired of playing "just" the Prince roles. OK, granted a male dancer needs the acting challenges that a female dancer is accustomed to, but is a ballet Prince really an easy part to fit into? And why do so many audiences feel that only few gents are convincing while donning the tights and bodice required to stand behind a ballerina?
One of the best moments on the opening night of a performance is dressing for a role. Although I spend weeks, if not months, preparing and working to get the movement and characterization just right, it is not until I have all of the finishing touches in place, from makeup to costume to earrings, that I truly find the essence of a role.
Visions of Sugar Plums are dancing in my head, but not in the way portrayed in T'was the Night Before Christmas. I'm visualizing my corrections and my goals for the solo and pas de deux I perform as The Sugar Plum Fairy in Act II of The National Ballet of Canada's The Nutcracker. I have just woken up and I am already in the process of preparing for my performance in the evening.
When I worked near Queen Street West and Bathurst Street, I would pass a sign on my walk that advertised classes at Barreworks Toronto. The woman on the sign is SO toned, glistening with sweat and in possession of a set of abs I want, so I took the stairs up to the studio two at a time. A feat I almost used as another entry for my workout diary. Seriously. So so many stairs.
I'm a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and am presently working on the role of Hamlet in a production from American choreographer Kevin O'Day. I guess one could say I'm spread a little thin these days. Luckily, that's the way I like it. The best part about being so busy is that there's no time to get nervous!