Another guest post from Karen (Piper), sharing some reflections on the transformation that happens as one prepares to perform…
It’s finally here – all the rehearsing for a single event is finally here, and the performance is about to start. We begin to invite the audience into our world. What a process of transformation a dancer goes through to get on stage and perform the piece they’ve been working on. Whether in a troupe or a solo, we all go through a ritual of getting ready for the show. For me, it’s 2hrs from shower to show time; and that’s ok.
I start by putting my music on. This helps me get the music so ingrained into my head that I can tell where we are at any point in the music. Every dancer will always know her music inside and out. After my shower, I gather the costume and begin the transformation. The longest part of getting ready at this point is still the hair; blow dry, style, then restyle.
Once the hair is about 95% complete, the makeup goes on. This is where I really start to feel the transformation of “Plain Jane Karen” into the dancer “Piper”. The more the eyes begin to take shape, the more I start to believe the dancer is coming out.
Once the makeup is complete, the costume goes on. Now the dancer “Piper” is really coming to the surface. And then the final piece of the costume for the tribal girl: the headpiece–and the rest of the jewelry.
No matter what dance form, I think for the dancer it’s always that final full on dress rehearsal that pushes one to that next level; you start to really feel the performance that is within. When you are beginning to rehearse, you are yourself, learning your music and your choreography and how you want to convey your dance. But once the full costume and makeup is on, the dancer becomes more than herself.
As dancers, we strive to communicate effectively to our audience both emotion and attitude through our dance. Once the costume is on, the makeup is just right, the hair is finished, and our bodies are adorned with the perfect jewelry, we immediately become more proud–we become that dancer and storyteller that lives within our soul.