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What Does A “Normal” Work Day Look Like For A Dancer? Performance & Non-Performance Days.

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday, August 23, 2019

Checking out the days schedule.
Thank you for the Question Lina!

A normal day for a dancer would begin by getting to the theater between 9:00 am – 9:50am. Some dancers like to start their day with Pilates, so they arrive in time to get a workout in before ballet class. Others may have a physio appointment and get to the theater around 9:15am or so. Or like me, possible go for a run around Kongens Have before ballet class, arriving at the theater at 9:40am. Of course there is also a group of dancers that sleep until they have to get up and be in class at 10am.

Basically, our day technically doesn’t start until 10am for ballet class but most are up and moving before 10am. We work a six day work week too. (Monday through Saturday)

A Non- Performance Day looks like this.

Ballet Training Class: 10am- 11:30am

Ten Minute Break (grab a snack time)

First Rehearsal Period: 11:40am- 1:30pm

Lunch Break: 1:30pm-2:15pm

Second Rehearsal Period: 2:15pm-4pm

Napoli Second Act Rehearsal with dancers Ryan Tomash & Holly Dorger. Instructor, Sorella Englund.

The theater can call dancers for what we call an, Evening Call. An evening call is for one or two hours and you get paid extra for these rehearsals.

Extra Evening Call: 4:15pm-6:15pm

It is not uncommon to find dancers stretching in the gym, or boys doing a weight training session, or a dancer fitting in some extra cardio at the end of the their day. Either at 4pm or 6:15pm. There is also always someone with their feet in an ice bucket getting rid of the inflammation from the days work.

Torture and yet Divine.

A Performance Day looks like this:

Ballet Training: 10am-11:25am

Five Minute Break

First Rehearsal Period: 11:30am- 12:30pm

Lunch Break: 12:30pm-1:05pm

Second Rehearsal Period: 1:05pm-3:00pm

Stretching with fellow Principal dancer, Jonathan Chmelensky

Can be called for an Evening Call from 3:15pm-5:15pm

Start Preparation for a Show: (Makeup, Hair & Warmup ) Approximately 6pm
Some dancers start earlier and some start later. Depends on their personal routine or role in the evenings performance. I would say on average the dancers arrive between 6pm- 6:30pm to prepare for a 8pm show.

Right Before a La Sylphide Performance

Show: 8pm-11pm

(Possibly ice an injury, ice-bucket, stretch, or put your feet up after a show.)

Evening Stretch

Late night snack.

Bed.

The girls also have to sew all their pointe shoes at some point during the work week (between 1-4 pairs depending on the dancer). You can always find a dancer sewing throughout the day somewhere in the theater. We sew during a slow rehearsal or even in our own lunch break. Sunday is also a big sewing day. (our only day off)

The dancers have access to two Physical Therapists that we can sign up for throughout the day for 30 minute slots. One masseuse is also available for 30 minute massages throughout the day too. 🙂 (YES!!)

A doctor comes once a week (Wednesdays) so injured dancers can be looked at or scanned. There is even a sauna for us to use at our own disposal.

Dancers are always doing something, pretty much. 🙂 We live busy, hardworking, but magical lives.

xoxo
-Hol

Do We Have To Pay For All Our Stage Makeup?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, August 19, 2019

Thank You for the Question Gitte!

Well…. a little yes and a little no. The Royal Danish Ballet is sponsored by MAC make-up. We receive a 20% discount if we buy their products. Some years we are even given a little goodie bag filled with foundation, eye-shadows, eyeliner and lipsticks! Although, we can’t depend on it. We can be lucky and receive a goodie bag one year but not necessarily the next.

I am a big fan of BareMineral makeup so I end up buying almost all of my stage makeup (and everyday makeup) with them. My primer, my foundation, my lotion, my under eye concealer, my lip liner and my eye pencils. Bareminerals feels healthier on my skin and it isn’t as thick as MAC foundation which I prefer. If the foundation is too heavy then you’ll sweat like crazy under those stage lights!

BareMinerals

I am happy to use the free eye-shadows from MAC that came in a goodie bag a few years back. I’m not that fussy over what type of eye shadow I use, just the color. They work great! Luckily, eye shadows last a long time. The only color that I sometimes need to re-stock is the white.

MAC

I am also happy to use the free lipsticks from MAC. Over the years I have collected quite a variety of colors.

About once or twice a year the theater will give all the girls a specific free lipstick so everyone has the same color for a certain production.

Examples of this would be:
Spar Dame we were given a purple lipstick specifically for the third act.
Alice In Wonderland the black cards were given a black lipstick.
The Golden Cockerel we were given a plum lipstick.

We once received a free pair of false eye lashes in one of the MAC goodie bags, but other than that, we buy our own false eye lashes as well. I go through about 7 or 8 pairs of those a year! If I go back to the states in the summer I’ll just buy a bunch at once. I can almost always stumble across a buy two get one free kind of deal. 🙂

Napoli Team: Jonathan Chmelensky, Sorella Englund, Ryan Tomash (as Golfo) & Holly Dorger. (Me)

The only big exception is if you are playing a character such as Golfo from Napoli, or any of the animals from the Alice In Wonderland race scene. In order to become those characters it requires a makeup artist. The theater pays for all of that makeup. This also includes the white body makeup we use when dancing Swan lake.

Photo: Costin Radu

Overall we mostly pay for the makeup ourselves. Some take advantage of the MAC discount more than others. We are always happy to receive little gifts from time to time. 🙂
xoxo
-Hol

What is an Easy Ballerina Meal For Someone Who Doesn’t Cook?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, August 12, 2019


Amen! So feel ya here. I am not a good cook. It never interested me all that much to take the time and effort in to creating a meal. When I’m busy, I view food as simply… fuel. No time to master chef! That said, I LOVE being spoiled and having someone cook for me.

Here is a very simple, quick, and delicious recipe that I happen to eat a lot. It looks a lot like a poke bowl. The bowl consists of a cauliflower salad with pomegranates, avocado and salmon.

To make this dish (for one) you will need.

1 Cauliflower, 1 Pomegranate, 1 Avocado, 1 Package of Smoked Salmon, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper.

The cauliflower salad recipe I learned from the mother of these two cute, future ballerinas, when they treated me to dinner at their lovely house. Thank you Marie Andersson!!

Let’s start!

Step. 1

Wash and cut your cauliflower into smaller chunks.

Step. 2

Place the cauliflower into a food chopper to cut it in to even smaller pieces. (Of course, you can chop it up yourself with a knife. A food chopper is great if you are like me and when you are hungry, you no longer have the patience to wait for your food.)

Step. 3

Place all the chopped cauliflower in to a large bowl.

Step. 4

Grab your pomegranate and cut it in half. (Fingers crossed it is a juicy, ruby red)

Step. 5

Beat your pomegranate with a spoon so all the seeds fall in to the large bowl with the chopped cauliflower.

Yumm!! Look at those red seeds! Go ahead and mix it all up.

Step. 6

Grab an avocado and peel it. Cut it in to slices and add the entire thing to your bowl.

Step. 7

Drizzle olive oil over the entire salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step. 8

Open the salmon package and add as much as you’d like to your delicious, healthy bowl.

Step. 9

ENJOY!

What Do You Do 1 Hour Before A Show?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday August 9th, 2019.

I usually get to the the theater around 6:15pm before an 8 o’clock show. The first hour is for changing into ballet warm-ups, turning on some country music, getting my hair organized and lastly, putting on my stage make-up.

Calming Tunes. Photo: Morning Projects

Once my makeup is done and my hair is all good, I’ll grab my dance bag and go upstairs to the studio to warm up, around 7:15pm. Still with my country radio playing in my ears. 😉 I love listening to country music before a show. Country singers tend to sing about the simple things in life that makes one happy. A cold beer. A date night with your love. Blue skies… Reminds me of non- stressful things which I appreciate at this hour. 😉 I’ll do a small barre including stretches for about 15 min. Then I’ll tape my feet and head down to stage. (Still in my warmups)

Photo: Sofie Mathiassen

I ALWAYS test my pointe shoes on the stage before a show. The dance floor on the stage feels different then in the studio. I want to be 100% certain that I feel good and confident in my pointe shoes. Pointe shoes can’t give you your technique but a good pair of shoes can definitely give you an extra boost of confidence to help you perform at your best. Getting the right pair of shoes just sets it all off on the right foot.

Usually, the theater has audience members on a tour of the theater about this time. I almost always get to wave and say hello to a few people. I think it is nice taking a break for a quick hello. Brings you out of your own head.

Photo: Susanne Grinder

After that, I go back upstairs to my dressing room, use the bathroom for that final nervous pee, put on my costume, add any extra jewels, earrings, head piece and look over my notes to give me those final thoughts especially, before playing a character. Then I head down to the stage to start the show with a water bottle in hand.

Photo: Tejs ‘Olm

Let the magic begin…
xoxo
-Hol

How Do Ballet Dancers Remember All Those Steps?

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You’ve just spent two and a half or three hours in your seat watching a beautiful ballet. Have you ever had the thought, “How do they remember all those steps!?”

Photo: Kasper Nybo

Ballet dancers have two major tricks up their sleeves.

1. MUSIC. The music does absolute wonders for dancers. Once the music becomes familiar, the steps are 100 times easier to remember. Even if you haven’t performed a role for several years, if you hear the music, usually the steps just start coming back to you.

Photo: Kasper Nybo

2. MUSCLE MEMORY. Ballet dancers have a tool that they’ve been training from the very first day that they took a ballet class. Our muscle memory is highly tuned. When we are preparing for a premiere, we practice the steps for 4-6 weeks. Our muscles get familiar with the sequences, until they are so familiar that we don’t even have to think about the steps anymore. Eventually, after hours of practice, the steps just come and we get the luxury to finally let go and perform.

xoxo
Hol

Do Professional Ballet Dancers Get Help With Their Hair Before A Show?

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Please Help Me!

Absolutely! If you are like me, where hair styling is not a talent, then it is a must. I have been that girl who thought she didn’t need a hairdressers help and then, my hair came out on stage! Luckily, it was during first-act Giselle, which made it somewhat ok.

Having hairdressers is a luxury which most major ballet company’s have, but (!) never underestimate the power of teamwork and helping each other, in case a hairdresser is not an option!

Photo: Kasper Nybo
Photo: Sofie Mathiassen
Napoli First Act Preparation

At Royal Danish Ballet, you can choose to do your own hair but between the wigs, the headpieces, the fancy braids (Bournonville), the curlers and the slicked back French twists, most of us choose to take advantage of the help. Boys and girls. It feels nice to let someone fuss over your hair while you can take a few moments to calm down and zone out before the curtain goes up. Over time, the hairdressers become your friends and a permanent part of your preparation routine before a show. I’m extremely grateful that we have such lovely colleagues to work with.

Queen of Hearts Wig

xoxo
-Hol