My son as the Chinese lead in the Nutcracker

Tonight is the dress rehearsal for our annual recital.  The day will be chaotic, no matter how you look at it.  My oldest is running a fever, but I already had to tell him to buck up because he is also in the recital.    I know that seems rather harsh.  He is a consummate performer – a dancer and a gymnast, which requires ignoring illness on performance days and falling apart later.  He is an old pro at it (even though he is only 10), so please don’t worry about him.  I have him resting comfortably at the moment letting the meds do their stuff.  If you feel the need, however, a homemade dinner would be greatly appreciated!

My daughter during class

A dress rehearsal is a run through of the performance.  It gives the choreographers, dancers, and backstage crew a chance to nip any glaring issues in the bud.  Up until now, we have done all our practicing in the studio – so this is the first time for the performers to strut their stuff on stage.  I will not be dancing in this years recital, but I will be one of the soloists in the finale.   There is a great deal involved even on dress rehearsal days.  Starting this morning I will begin the process of brightening the color in my hair and mentally preparing for the evening.   I know from experience that everyone’s nerves will build as the day goes on, so I am planning on a rather large lunch.  Dinner will consist of soup, salad or sandwich.  At our studio, dress rehearsal is when the photographer is wandering around taking snapshots and a video is made.  Now you can see why people aren’t as relaxed as you might think, as this is treated as the real deal.  The Videographer/Photographer (who is one in the same for our productions) does this because he doesn’t have the distractions of the audience through the show.

My daughter and I, backstage before the 2010 Recital.

Mid afternoon I will begin the process of applying stage makeup to my family.  My children are still relatively young and they require the help of their mother to get the right coloring.  I need to have their hair perfect and costume pieces all together in one place.   This is not even taking into account my own preparations.  For me, once I arrive and go through all my stuff to make sure I didn’t forget anything I can finally enjoy the rest of the evening.  The music begins, the lights shine in my eyes, and I can stop thinking and just dance (or sing, as the case is tonight).   It calls to my soul, it makes me feel alive, and I can just enjoy the moment.

Even so, with all of this going on – it makes me think of writing.  The process is very similar.  A writer sits down and creates something with their words.   He or she revises their story until they are satisfied.   The dress rehearsal for a writer is much like going to publication – where editing is done, the final touches are made.   It is an exciting process where both the dancer and the writer are reaching out to an audience.  The final product, whether a performance or a book, is out for judgment.  It really proves that artists everywhere face much the same issues.  I am proud to be an artist… jitters, nerves, excitement, euphoria, recognition.  This is what it means to live!