The irony of the rehearsal

by Henrik on June 28, 2011

Some of the dancers in my new company, the Győr  Ballet Company, are really good! I mean, they are all good dancers! By the way, I think the level here in Győr is more equal than in most of the companies I know – they have a very strong corps, with lots of able dancers. Still, in any company, there is always going to be dancers that appeal more to you, someone that has that extra something that makes them stick out from the crowd.

To be in the studio, and to take part of a group of such dancers movement is quite the joy. I realize, the audience misses out on quite a few magic moments, here. They see the dancers on stage, fully dressed up, made up, focused and rehearsed. They see the finished product. And hopefully, it is magical.

Two dancers, black and white, chairs, rehearsal, dance rehearsal

Lívia Kodolányi and myself in rehearsal for Eric Trottier's piece "U2". Photo by Tamara Cerna ©

But what they miss out on is when those dancers dance for themselves, and their colleagues. The stress is gone, the atmosphere is completely different. If something goes wrong, you smile, and go again. There is no pressure, no critics or photographers, no audience and no-one to judge (Well, thats not completely true, dancers are quite good at judging each other. Anyway, more on that in another post).
In the studio, you can go for that extra turn, or try the stuff that doesn’t always work out the way it should. Why not, in the end, that is why we practice. And with practice comes results.

When dancers are rehearsing, there are moments that aren’t fit for the stage. There are times when you have to stop, re-think, re-do. Thats normal, and the way a good performance is being born. But there are also moments that really should be put on stage. The moments where it works out, where you pull it off, or when that other way actually works. Those moments are true magic.

The only problem is, you can’t take that and show it to an audience. Because once you do, it’s not the same anymore. Once you put it on stage, it’s something else. It’s a playback of that moment in the studio. It’s rehearsed.

Japanese dancer and two british dancers is rehearsing the ballet A midsummer nights dream for Birmingham Royal Ballets trip to Japan

Miyako Yoshida is rehearsing the role of Titania from "A Midsummer Nights Dream" with César Morales as Oberon (left) & Robert Parker as Bottom (right). Photo by Angela Kase / BRB ©

That is where I want Tights and Tiaras to come in. I want it to be your key-hole to peek through, that little window in the studio door that allows you to take part of whats going on inside. It may not be the same, but it’s close, you can hear it, see it, feel what’s happening in there. I hope I manage to be that window. Because those moments are worth sharing!

Have you seen anything magical lately?


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra Lindsey June 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I love the view you give us of ‘behind the scenes’ of dance :-) Over here, the BBC is currently showing a series following the English National Ballet – I’ll have to catch this week’s online later as I’ll be out when it’s on, but my favourite bit of last week’s episode (about their Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall) was seeing the two dancers who were playing the Prince and Odette/Odile when they were offstage on opening night :-)


Henrik June 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Yes, there are so many moments the audience never sees.. So if I can give you a hint of some of them, that is nice, isn’t it?! I wish I had a bunch of spare time, and knew how to handle a camera – that could make for some pretty cool pictures ;) Glad you liked the post!


Chris June 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Honestly, if give the choice of seeing a production preformed on stage with all of the bells and whistles or watching the rehearsal backstage I’d choose the backstage version. I’ve always preferred something that’s still a bit rough around the edges.
I really enjoy reading your blog and twitter posts.


Henrik June 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

HI Chris!
I like the “real” deal too, although I do believe it should be shown as a supplement to the performance rather than a performance in itself. There is (there has to be?!) a reason why we keep rehearsing until perfection!
I’m very happy to hear you enjoy Tights and Tiaras.


Jordon Cloud July 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Another great post! I agree that part of the magic of being a dancer is the rehearsal process. I also think that this is what can make a group of dancers so close. (or not-so-close, but like you said, that’s a different post!)

Thanks for providing us a behind-the-scenes look at your experience as a dancer.


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