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Performances and rehearsals are another normal part of ballet (Speck & Cisneros, 2003). Performances are able to exist because of the many hours put into rehearsal. With each performance there are also the subjects of ranking among the dancers (Clarke & Crisp, 1976; McDonagh, 1978; Speck & Cisneros, 2003).

 

As stated previously in the 'Rehearsals' section, each role given to a dancer is an important one. For without each dancer, the production will not exist. The roles can vary according to country, but predominantly, the roles from the highest to lowest ranking include principal, soloist and the corps de ballet (McDonagh, 1978; Speck & Cisneros, 2003). The highest ranking given, higher even than that of principal, is given to the lead role. This is the role of prima ballerina absoluta. This role is rarely given to the dancer, who is the head female role. The principal dancer is more commonly the named lead role, particularly in the United States. This is the role of the main character/s of the production. The soloist is second to the principal in that they play second lead roles and are often fully capable of playing lead roles. The corps de ballet is the most common role given to a dancer. This is the group that is not a lead role and plays more of the characters in a ballet that are in the background (Speck & Cisneros, 2003). Although these are not the stars of the show, the practice they embark in is still rigorous and presents a unique challenge in that the dancers must dance in unison (Clarke & Crisp, 1976; McDonagh, 1978).

 

The performance involves a lot of activity (Speck & Cisneros, 2003). While the dancers that are onstage performing, dancers backstage are changing costumes, drinking water, fixing hairs out of place or getting ready to back on stage. The best thing for a dancer to do while backstage is to be quiet, prepared and to stay out of the way of other dancers who are near the stage. While on stage, a dancer needs to remain calm and not over think the steps. There are bound to be more mistakes if the dancer over thinks every combination. Also, while both backstage and onstage, the dancer needs to be aware of the audience and learn how to avoid distractions. Audiences often make noise talking to the person next to them, particularly prior to the beginning of the performance and also get up to the go to the restroom. This behavior makes it disruptive and harder for the dancers to concentrate on performing. Because of these disruptions, the dancer needs to learn how to tolerate it (Minden, 2005; Speck & Cisneros, 2003).

When performances are ready, dancers learn to tolerate disruptions from the audience, be quiet backstage and stay out of otherís way that are coming offstage, which means to stay far enough away from the entrance to the stage (Minden, 2005).

While there are many different aspects to a performance, the end result for the dancer is a love for the ballet (Speck & Cisneros, 2003). A love for ballet is the sole purpose of a dancer being a dancer (Neale, 1980). Because without the love for ballet, a dancer would cease to participate or be able to enjoy all that is involved in a performance (Clarke & Crisp, 1976; Kassing & Jay, 1998; McDonagh, 1978; Minden, 2005).