Tech Week Survival Guide for Ballet

Nutcracker tech week for me begins tomorrow and extends for a period of two hectic weeks.  Let’s dive into my survival guide for a ballet tech week, specifically for Nutcracker.


Prepare

This is the first matter of business.  I always do this the two weekends before production week so that I can manage everything well and feel comfortable the weekend before.  Here’s what I do:

  • Make a packet.  I print this off and paste it into my journal along with all of my other production packets.  The packet includes:
    • casting: roles, casts for each role, role #s, performances I’m preforming each of those roles
    • attire: costume, hair, makeup, etc. for each role
    • checklist: each time before I leave to go to the theater, I make sure I have everything  I need
    • schedule: the entire schedule for all of tech week(s)
  • Pack!  Here’s what’s on my checklist:
    • exercise materials
    • attire (makeup, hair supplies, leotards/tights, warm ups, etc.)
    • hygiene/emergency materials (clear nail polish, perfume, chapstick, nail clippers, band aids, etc.)
    • entertainment (homework, book, phone and charger, laptop and charger, knitting, etc.)
    • food and water (I always keep a healthy and neat snack on hand, along with a water bottle and any meals I need to eat)
    • journal and pens (Coming soon I will do a post about journaling for ballet!)
    • shoes & toe supplies (2 pairs of flat shoes, 2 pairs of pointe shoes, shoe/toe supply kit (see Dance Bag Tour post))
    • money (I like to get giftcards for different shops or restaurants they have available in the theater or the buildings connected to/near it that I always eat at so that I don’t have to pay cash every time.)
  • Label your makeup.  If you have many different roles like I do, it’s important that you use tape and Sharpies to label all of your different lipsticks/blushes that you need to use for each role so that your makeup is ALWAYS perfect.

When You’re There

  • Stay warm!  It’s usually 2 – 3 hours before the show that your warm up class finishes.  You are obviously not going to stay warm for that long.  So, do crunches, jumping jacks, and stretching backstage whenever possible.
  • Stay concentrated!  It’s easy to get too excited and crazy with your friends when you’re all there.  Stay with your friends and have fun, but the production ALWAYS comes first, so stay concentrated and disciplined.
  • Be very, very early.  I’m definitely one for punctuality, and I recommend arriving at the theatre at least 2 -3 hours before the show…as soon as possible after warm up class.
  • Stay quiet, and listen!  At DeVos hall, where GRB performs their Nutcracker, the orchestra pit is adjacent to the dressing rooms for the students.  It’s important that we stay very quiet so that the audience/orchestra doesn’t hear us.  Also, the stage manager typically comes over the intercom to give 30, 15, 10, 5, and places calls, so keep your ears perked!

Thanks for reading today’s post, and good luck!  See ya.

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