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The Dance Enthusiast Asks:

The Dance Enthusiast Asks:
Christine Jowers/Follow @christinejowers on Twitter

By Christine Jowers/Follow @christinejowers on Twitter
View Profile | More From This Author

Published on March 20, 2010

Do you have a pre-performance ritual? If so, what?


Christine Jowers
Dance Enthusiast Editor
Photo by Tom Carvaglia



Parsons Dance by Lois Greenfield

ZAC HAMMER- DANCE ENTHUSIAST AND DANCER WITH PARSONS DANCE
www.parsonsdance.org

Hey Christine, Our rituals are many and varied, but two that come to mind offhand (and are company-wide) are our ab warm-up and our "woosh."

We generally begin each warm-up class with 30 minutes of "self time" when most dancers choose yoga and Pilates to get their bodies moving and initiate heat flow. During the last five minutes however, someone turns on an upbeat song from his or her iPod and the company as a whole does a general ab series together. Recently we've been doing an abbreviated version of the P90X ab ripper!

Our biggest and best ritual however is known as the "woosh." this happens five minutes prior to the "places" call for every show. The dancers, stage manager, directors, and anyone else involved with the show who would like to participate, form a circle around center center and put their hands stacked one on top of the next into the circle. Words of encouragement, well wishes for certain dancers, and acknowledgement of friends and family in the audience are shared and then instead of breaking, the dancers woosh all that good energy into the center of the stage and then finish up their own warm-up. It's a great way to bring us all together before the show.



MARTHA OAKES- DANCE ENTHUSIAST, DANCER, OWNER OF MARTHA OAKES PRESS AND MARKETING, (MARKETING ART AND DANCE) LONDON, ENGLAND

Hi Christine, I'm skating a two- minute solo at Broadgate Ice Rink's end-of-season show! I will be doing some plies and ronds de jambes in the changing room and trying to channel the spirit of John Curry skating Twyla Tharp's “After All.”




Nikolais Dance Theatre by Tom Caravaglia
ALBERTO DEL SAZ- DANCE ENTHUSIAST, DANCER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE MURRAY LOUIS AND NIKOLAIS DANCE COMPANY, CO- DIRECTOR OF THE NIKOLAIS LOUIS FOUNDATION FOR DANCE - http://nikolaislouis.org/

Dear Christine,(In Nikolais /Louis) We always had a company class, worked out any of the problems from the previous show and always ran a piece from the performance to get a sense of the ensemble.
Personally, I get myself focused and reserve my energy for the actual show.



CORINNE CAPPELLETTI -DANCE ENTHUSIAST, PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATOR FOR LABAN INSTITUTE OF MOVEMENT STUDIES, CERTIFIED LABAN MOVEMENT ANAYLYST - http://www.limsonline.org/

Dear Christine, Pre-Performance I prepare I attend to three main aspects. I always make sure that I am clean-shaven and exfoliated.
I ground myself and provide longstanding sustenance with miso egg-drop soup (usually with fresh greens and seaweed of some sort.) And finally, I make sure that I go through a Bartenieff Fundamentals and Laban Movement Studies activation series that help me to activate my total body connectivity, connect to my breath, and stimulate efficient initiation and vertical throughness. I must include balancing, deep femoral flexion, and weight shifts that begin with yielding into the floor.




Gillian Murphy - Photo by Gaynor Mindon
GILLIAN MURPHY -DANCE ENTHUSIAST, PRIMA BALLERINA AMERICAN BALLET THEATER - http://gillianmurphy.com/

Thank you Christine!
I try to avoid developing too many rituals before a performance, because superstitions can be consuming, distracting, and unreliable. Ultimately I have to trust all the hard work that went into rehearsals and allow myself the freedom to enjoy the present moment on stage. However, if the schedule allows, I do generally take an early afternoon nap before evening performances.




Larry Keigwin with Nicole Wolcott
LARRY KEIGWIN - DANCE ENTHUSIAST, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR KEIGWIN AND COMPANY - http://www.keigwinandcompany.com/

I used to follow a very strict pre-performance ritual of 11-push -ups, 33 sit-ups and one back walk over. After each exercise I would thank my family. Today it's more like a tall cup of coffee and GO.



COLM GALLAGHER -DANCE ENTHUSIAST, PERFORMER, DANCETEACHER

I always have to clean my teeth... I do it before I teach too...(teaching is a performance of sorts too I suppose!)



GABRIELA PASCUALI -DANCE ENTHUSIAST, PERFORMER-ROSERIO, ARGENTINA


I like listening to music to relax before I get to the performance place. Then I practice the routines with my friends until I have to be on stage. It’s just to be sure I know every move. If i can’t practice the moves, I just do them inside my head!




Mambo Tse
MAMBO TSE –DANCE ENTHUSIAST, PERFORMER, AND ORGANIZER OF SIREN-PROTECTORS OF THE RAINFOREST (DANCE TROUPE AND ARTS EDUCATION COMPANY)  - http://www.myspace.com/MAMBOFROMCAMEROON

Well, the first thing I do when I notice that the bottom of my feet are sweating, I seat down and meditate a little. I repeat this mantra to myself, "Mambo you never intended to dance but the crowd wants to see you dance so let the spirit that guided you the first day you did a performance guide you through this one." This is when I am a solo dancer in a band.

When I am performing with my group, I like them to feel like a team so I reiterate the goal of the performance we pray and we start chanting SIren, Siren, Siren and then walk the stage.

But before I even show up for the gig, I take a very long shower and thank God for my legs, my thunder thighs and the gift of body expression. I take a shot of brandy or Vodka and I wear my heart shaped panties. No food before the show, just water. Hate when people try to feed me before the show. I end up throwing up between sets. All that anxiety. I just started getting anxiety though. I was watching a clip of this chick, whom I used to dance with, perform with a big name and her girls and there was someone in the audience yells "those girls suck, they need to get off the stage." So I have been having nightmares about that as well. Needless to say the anxiety has kicked up since my Strange Fruit show about 20 years ago.




Rainey Welch Tribe of Human
RAINEY WELCH –DANCE ENTHUSIAST, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, TRIBE OF HUMAN

Hi Christine! Yes we have a ritual. We do each other's make-up, sew on costumes last minute, but most importantly, we stand in a circle, fists together and say in a low roar "TOH!" (Like the NFL).... weird...but we are superstitious and have to do it every time...hahah!




Pascal Rekoert with Jennifer Muller/The Works photo by Carol Rosegg
Pascal Rekoert

I have gotten into the habit of putting my feet on a heating pad while putting my performance make-up on. Weird, I know, but many stages have cold or unsprung floors, and this relaxes my lower legs before the show.

The matinee mole is always a fun ritual for me personally, plus it makes for a great experience when your colleagues look at you and notice a never-seen-before beauty mark.

Before the curtain goes up the entire performing group gathers in a prayer circle and thank each other and the universe for giving us the talent and joy to perform. A great opportunity to step on stage TOGETHER




Ballet Noir Photo by Lois Greenfield
BALLET NOIR – DANCE ENTHUSIASTS-COREY BAKER AND LEYLAND SIMMONS, ARTISTIC DIRECTORS - http://www.balletnoir.org

Before every performance all the performers of Ballet Noir grab hands, make a circle, close our eyes and usually both Corey and myself say a short prayer before it's time to perform.




Viktor Ruban
VIKTOR RUBAN-DANCE ENTHUSIAST- KYVIV, UKRAINE- CENTER OF MOVEMENT AND CREATIVITY PSYCHOLOGY

Greetings Christine We have only one and pretty small ritual I think it's very often used – we sound together until we hear all of us in this sound and that sound become some kind of a song.

There is a great possibility to hear ourselves and each other at the same time on stage together. That is great to start with sound before the show.




Jane Comfort photo by Arthur Elgort
JANE COMFORT -DANCE ENTHUSIAST, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JANE COMFORT AND COMPANY - http://www.janecomfortandcompany.org/home.html

We always circle up on stage just before curtain, hold hands and let our energies become one. Then we rub our hands together, touch the floor, stand and release our hands and vibes upward. Depending on the piece, someone might make a joke afterwards to turn the earnestness volume down



MAIA HARARI -DANCE ENTHUSIAST, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, MAIA HARARI DANCE THEATRE

Hi Christine, before performances I usually get totally hysterical and cry and then drink lots of coffee and then do my "four square breathing" to CALM DOWN and then warm up warm up warm up




Amy Marshall Photo by Lois Greenfield
AMY MARSHALL DANCE –DANCE ENTHUSIASTS –DANCE COMPANY - http://www.amymarshall.com/

W e do a huddle and our version of the hokey pokey to bring ourselves together and lessen our nerves.
 

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