Italy Tour Travel Journal: Day 4 (Wednesday)

There’s a heat wave in from Africa and it’s HOT. We’re dancing hard in a gorgeous theater, and “suffering” from multi-course Italian hospitality (there are two courses even for lunch, and at least one always involves pasta.  AND EVERYTHING IS DELICIOUS.).  There are actually mosquitoes in the theater, which is something we’ve never dealt with in the States–supposedly it’s because the doors get left open all the time for loading and unloading, and we are in a beach town, after all.  It’s just weird to put on bug spray as part of your pre-rehearsal regimen!

The most challenging and memorable experience of today is acclimating to the raked stage (in addition to the time change).  For those of you who don’t know, “raking” a stage is an older tradition that involves building a stage that is higher in the back than in the front, to help the audience see the performers (originally invented for opera).  Obviously for dancers–especially those of us on pointe and those of us promenading around someone on pointe and trying to keep her on balance–it’s scary.  It forces you to rethink your balance, your turns, your landings from jumps, etc…and it puts more stress on tendons and bunions that are already hurting (and still a little swollen from the airplane).  Some of us still have lines on our legs from where our calves swelled outside our socks a day ago.

And we’re dancing on this raked stage for the first time in the dark (!): in what Alberto tells us is typical Italian fashion, the tech guys (who really know what they’re doing, but speak about as much English as we speak Italian) show up “Italian time,” wherein “I’ll be there in 25 minutes” means 4 hours.  Because the theater takes all stage lights out and stores them between shows, there are no lights on the stage (even work light), so we have almost no light while we rehearse.  Ack!

Donna gives us a crazy-hard class (as per usual) and we get to work in running the show and working through issues.  It’s only Alberto’s second day dancing with us, and he’s doing great!  But of course we have to re-work spacing and timing with the relatively recent arrival of our male protagonist and a new space for all of us, and everyone else is still getting our dancer legs back, so it’s a LONG rehearsal.  Though there’s air conditioning, it’s nothing like the exact 72 degrees in the US, and we’ve been walking back and forth the hot 6 blocks between Hotel Paneta and the theater.  We’re hot, dehydrated, still tired from our trip, and worried about doing our best on an unfamiliar stage with a tech crew that we can’t communicate with very well.

But we’re also really proud and happy.  We can’t wait to see this finally all come together, and knowing that it’s finally time after so many months (years!) of groundwork and weeks of rehearsal is crazy!

A few photo highlights of the day…

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About Ballet Fantastique

Experience Ballet Fantastique's unmatched creativity and dramatic prowess. Comprised of 7 stunning dancers directed by mother-daughter team Donna and Hannah Bontrager, Ballet Fantastique presents productions full of sizzle and spice. Hailed as "la creme de la creme" (Eugene Weekly), Ballet Fantastique's all-original choreography infuses ballet with diverse new style, brave musical choices (from tango to Metallica), and passionate expression.

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