As is life in the backstage of the ballet, there is a whole world full of movements and secrets.
Did you know that up to 20 groups of actors are preparing a ballet performance, specially invited people sometimes shout “bravo”, and the dancers themselves lose up to three kilograms of weight during the performance?
What happens in the backstage of the ballet?
Learn about the intricacies of life behind the scenes of the ballet.
20 “teams” for a performance
Soloists in ballet always have understudies who are ready to replace the dancer at any time if he/she is injured or otherwise unable to perform.
They dub not only the prime ministers, but also the entire solo group. Variations are often learned by multiple acting teams at the same time.
If the performance is shown every day, then these groups replace each other, in large theaters the number of such “teams” reaches twenty.
Only the corps of the ballet remains unchanged, even when solo dancers from other theaters or abroad are invited.
My own makeup artist
Before the performance, in the backstage of the ballet, the dancers most often put on make-up by themselves, especially on tours and company presentations, because they are taught how to put on make-up in the choreographic school.
Unlike conventional theatrical makeup, ballet makeup includes large elements: huge arrows, large eyebrows, and false eyelashes.
Also, the dancers do not use dramatic makeup, but ordinary cosmetics.
No strict diets
In the middle of the last century, choreographer George Balanchine controlled and limited his dancers’ diet. He was famous with the words: “I want to see your bones!”
Currently, dancers do not torture themselves with diets, because even in support, it is not the dancer’s weight that plays an important role, but her ability to help her partner, for example, to jump high enough with the leg push.
Of course, actresses take care of their figure, eat low-calorie foods, limit themselves to sweets and starchy foods.
But these calories are burned during many hours of classes and rehearsals, and for one performance on stage, actors can lose up to three kilograms.
No breaks, no mistakes
On stage, the dancers look fantastic: they jump on the splits, stand on the tips of their fingers, spin complex pirouettes and fouettes, they do not have a second to pause.
If in a dramatic theater an actor can take a short pause to, for example, remember the words, but forgetting the “text” in the ballet is an irreparable error that will lead to the failure of the entire production, because each musical measure is programmed, for seconds, the ability to stop and catch the breath is virtually impossible.
Injury fatigue and pain
Due to intense loads, dancers feel constant pain in the muscles, it is called pain fatigue.
At performances and rehearsals, they sometimes get hurt: sprains, dislocations, but they try to finish the performance.
In the year 2000, during the ballet “La Bayadère”, the prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater Ulyana Lopatkina injured her ankle; she danced until the end of the performance, although the injury was so serious that the dancer had to leave the stage for several years.
But ballet training has another side: constant physical exercises allow dancers to stay in shape for a long time. As an example of this, the legendary Maya Plisetskaya on her 80th birthday came out with a dance number on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater.
Support group in the hall and in the backstage of the ballet
Ballet is a performance not only on stage, but also in the hall.
Rookie actors are supported by clackers, specially invited people who clap their hands and shout “bravo” at the right time.
They are placed one at a time in those places in the theater where the sound resonates the most; thus creating the illusion that not one applauds, but several.
Clackers, on the other hand, throw flowers onto the stage when the dancer bows, their work being paid for by the artists themselves.
the other side of the coin is that unscrupulous competitors can use “paid spectators” to boo an artist or a performance.