This past Saturday, A and I were asked to represent FBP at Trinity Repertory Company‘s Season Kickoff Party. The day-long event featured live performances from over 30 theater, dance, and musical ensembles from across the state, all free and open to the public. Just the first of what will hopefully become an annual gathering, the event lent a healthy space for the growing excitement of loyal performance art fans, as well as a welcome cultivation of new ones. And it sure got me anxiously awaiting the first day of FBP’s 38th season!
A and I presented a short video clip previewing the coming season, and it had me missing those long days in the 4th street studios like you wouldn’t believe. We even introduced the works to our (new?) audience a bit- though we would have much preferred to be dancing. What is it about silent expression that feels so much more natural? Well at least we practiced our public speaking skills, and in the company of professional projectors, no less. Proud.
Clearly I had a good time exploring the backstage area (when I should have been studying my lines). Check out some of my snaps below, if you’d like…
As a child of performing arts, the view of an empty theater from behind the “fourth wall” is wildly nostalgic.
To me, the rows of vacant seats are not hollow, but filled instead with a warm familiarity.
They are balanced, orderly, reliable. Overflowing with the promise of their imminent fullness, but still an expression of beauty as they wait.
Arriving hours before opening to prepare for performance, I silently converse with the sacred space which lives in the absence of a dark red curtain. I see the theater in its polished glory.
I see its restful moments in between shows.
And so too, its occasional center stage nap.
Hamburg-born photographer Klaus Frahm created a series of images featuring European theaters captured from behind. The collection feels oddly personal to me, like a visual documentation of my relationship with performing. Equally insightful is Frahm’s philosophy regarding the art of photography as “revealing something laying under the surface”, a concept beautifully manifested in his work.
Though as diverse as the countries they inhabit, there’s a strange sense of continuity in a venue specifically intended for the sharing of performance art. I find looking out at a theater from the perspective of the performer always provides a sense of home, whether that stage be in Rhode Island or Russia.
I wanted to call this post “Nutcracker Selfies and Feet Pics” but it seemed a bit crude lengthy for a Tuesday evening montage of slightly immaterial photos. So instead I called it “Untitled”, added the aforementioned random assortment of iPhone-captured shots and called it a day.
I was told that (and I quote) some of you will never tire of seeing backstage ballet pictures, so here you go! Enjoy the reflections and feet of Nutcracker before they disappear for a whole year.
And if you’re wondering, yes those are ice baths my feet are “relaxing” in, yes, I struggled through one every night during the weekend of the show, and yes, they hurt like hell.
I knoooow I said I was done with Nutcracker posts, but I kind of had to share this compilation of, well, hair. It’s known amongst all FBP veteran women (and quickly learned by those just joining the ranks) that every year before the first Nut dress rehearsal of the season, our artistic director bursts into each and every ladies dressing room with two large plastic bins; One containing hair and the other full of jewels, flowers, feathers, pearls, and small animals lace. He distributes ziplock bags based on (general) hair color, dress color and “which embellishments match each dancer’s personality”…supposedly. After the dispersal of the accoutrement, it’s up to us ladies to concoct and construct the most extravagant Victorian-era-inspired mountains of hair we can come up with. Which usually leads to the emptying of everyone’s bobby pin supply, faux curls stuck in rhinestones, tangled strands of pearls, flying feathers and finally, six successfully flamboyant cornucopias of hair.
The braided and curled coifs that take us far too long to build serve their purpose in the party scene only to be ripped from our scalps just after leaving the stage to make way for the delicate, sparkly headpieces of the snow scene. The quick change from Clara’s Mom to Lead Snow (one that I had to complete 5 times throughout the weekend), was a tad hectic, which is why my face looked like this after the last one was completed:
Hello all! Just popping in before the first show (eeek!) to let you know I’ve hijacked the FBP instagram account for the Nutcracker weekend to bring you behind-the-scene peeks into our performance. Follow @festivalballetprovidence to see all of my posts (and apparently a little selfie action) from the wings and dressing rooms of the magnificent Providence Performing Arts Center. Now it’s off to warm-up class! xx