Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Day At The Theater

Today I thought I would give you a sneak peak into the life of a Ballet Magnificat company artist and what a typical performance day looks like for us! You'd be surprised to know that the majority of what we do on a performance day is actually not the performing! Unlike most ballet companies, who's members solely stick to the dancing and rely on stage crew and specialized technicians to prepare the theater prior to the performance; here at Ballet Magnificat, we do all of that work ourselves! It is one of my favorite things about being a member of this company. We learn to wear many different kinds of hats so to speak. We are taught all the necessary skills such as the lighting and audio of the theater for example, that are required for putting on our full-scale productions. Though it makes for a LONG DAY for us, having a hand in the technical preparations prior to the actual show broadens my perspective and appreciation for what we do as performing artists.

Recently we toured to Florence and North Augusta, South Carolina where I very intentionally documented the on-goings of our time there, in order that I may then share them here with you. For the inquiring, go ahead and take a look below at my composition covering all of what our set up days involve!

What  Tour  Life  Looks  Like : 

8:30AM  Waking up in Florence, SC in the most comfortable bed ever; After I get dressed and am made all presentable for my day, I emerge from my bedroom of temporary residence and join my host family (and 4 other dancer companions that they were also able to host) for breakfast. I love breakfast. Because of waking up too late this day, I was unable to have my customary set aside morning quiet time, but at least I was able to get some bible reading time in the night before. 

9:50AM  This is the time we had to leave our host home in order to arrive at the theater on time to begin our setup and performance day. Our venue for this booking was at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology; Nice place! We start off by unpacking all our stuff from the trailer. This includes all the audio and lighting equipment, rolls of marley for the floor, props, costumes, sales merchandise and more. We had trouble getting the trailer door open at first so our efforts were stalled, but once we got it open the 19 of us company members, as well as some volunteers, got on a roll! Many hands make light the load.

The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SIMT)

How many men does it take to open the trailer?

Though I would take the opportunity to snap this photo while waiting for the trailer to be opened, me and my happy friends!

let the unloading begin! That green thing in the foreground is a rented generator. Sometimes if the venue doesn't have a large enough power source, a generator needs to be rented for an extra supply to meet the needs of our demanding lighting and audio equipment.

Emily's job is to tell people where to put stuff! ^_^

 As Margot from inside of the lighting bin heads up unloading the stage lights, we assembly line it.

11:38AM  By this time we had finished unloading the trailer and it was time for me to start the assigned set up job I am in charge of which is to unpack and organize all the products we sell and to set it all up at the merchandise table in the lobby. I like that my job has me in the lobby with windows instead of in the dark theater which once my set up job is done, is where I will spend the majority of the rest of my day. I used to be John's helper with doing the audio cables in the theater, but that didn't last long. Though I learned very much about the audio, sound, speakers and monitors, and all that stuff during that season, I am not very technologically inclined and I struggled, so I was reassigned to a job where my natural giftings in the areas of organization and marketing could be used. Surprisingly it takes nearly two hours to set up and organize all of the merchandise. I have a helper, Maggie to assist me. We have a lot of stuff we sell that makes for quite the display! I will take this moment to say: if you are interested in purchasing any Ballet Magnificat Memorabilia please check out our online gift shop HERE. ^_^

Abbey's setup job is to lay down and arrange the marley floor on the stage.

Elisa's set up job is to set up costumes and here she is straightening out some wigs.

Rachel, our tour director focuses the lights.

Here is sweet Maggie, my helper and I setting up the product display.

Our setup in North Augusta at Grace United Methodist Church.

1:23PM  Not quite done setting up the merchandise table yet, but we are invited to break for lunch so we happily comply, drop what we are doing, and follow our noses to the dining room.


1:55PM  By this time I am back at it with the product table, wrapping up last minute details such as making sure everything is price labeled correctly, ironing out display shirts, or straightening out backstock etc.

2:15PM  By this time it is time to get into performer mode; Primp and preening time! We are scheduled this allotted time to do our hair and makeup. I like to do my hair first and my makeup second. On this day, we were to perform the ballet Stratagem, a ballet in which I wear a wig so not much is needed to be done with my hair. I like to do my makeup a little different each time depending on what ballet we do. For Stratagem, I like to use pinks and purples. 

My Makeup station

Our messy makeup and hair station. I spy, one angel and one demon...
Can you find them?
(you might not know what to look for unless you've seen Stratagem)

My finished face! Maybe in the coming days,
I will write a blog entry on the different
kinds of makeup I prefer to use. 

3:00PM This is the time that we began "blocking and marking" which simply refers to the time that we take to physically and mentally walk through the ballet in a compressed amount of time. We review and talk through the placement of where the dancers should be and where they should go, discussing traffic patterns and the pathways we should take to work around sets and other hindrances that their maybe be, due to the platform shape or size. The stage at each venue we perform at tends to vary.  

4:30PM  Next after blocking, we usually  circle up and have a time of devotions unto the Lord. W
hat we do during this time is never the same. Sometimes we'll sing, sometimes we'll share stories, but we always make sure to offer up to the Lord through prayer, our evening and to ask him for fruitful ministry, his blessings and favor, and that all may run smoothly with our show. 

A photo I snapped during our time of devotions in North Augusta.

5:00PM  This is the time that we started our warm-up class which we take to prepare our body and muscles for the performance.

These are the portable, collapsible, tour friendly ballet barres that one of the guy dancers built for us to use for when we take class on the road.

Here we are taking warm-up class on stage; getting our daily dose of tendus in for the day.

6:00PM  This was our thirty minute call time until the show starts at 6:30. We must clear the stage, put on our costumes and do any last minute hair or makeup retouches at this time.

Usually, we don't eat dinner until after the show, so we request that there be a snack table provided which helps us to get through the evening.

It is soon to be showtime!


9:00PM  The show ran on time and went well! After performing we have a time where we get to go out into the audience and meet people and sometimes pray for them too if the Spirit leads. Then, when that is over and the house is cleared out, it is time to STRIKE, undo what we did during setup, tear down, pack everything back up!

Down come the lighting poles!

And time to pack back up the costumes...

 saying goodbye to an again vacant theater.

Back into the trailer everything goes!

10:10PM  Thankfully striking everything went fairly fast. After everything is packed back up, at 10 at night, NOW we can think about having dinner. Usually, we request a light dinner that will sit well in our stomachs so late at night.

My random assortment of food! ^_^

11:00PM  A successful performance day behind us, we head back home to our host homes in hopes of having a good night's rest after having had such a full day of so much physical activity. Then at 7:30am the next day, we must wake up and head out by 8:15am to travel 145 miles to North Augusta, SC where we will do it ALL OVER AGAIN!

Amo Mi Vida!  

Thanks for reading!

Do you have a topic idea or suggestion of something I should write about? 
Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?
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  1. I really enjoyed reading this behind-the-scenes look, especially since we got to see you in person! I am still marveling over what your company does and I pray for many people to come to know Christ as their Savior through your work.

    1. Thanks for your read and thank you for your prayers! it was SO wonderful to meet you. Be Blessed!