If y'all have paid attention to my social media this past weekend, you probably saw a plethora of posts, consisting of backstage looks into the life of a ballet company. Well, this is because during Spring Break, I had the wonderful opportunity to act as a stage mom/prop master/seamstress/whatever-they-really-needed for my old ballet company's yearly production of Cinderella. And let me tell ya...it was a lot. But honestly so worth it.
From Mayhem To Magic
As a past dancer for the Beaumont Ballet Theatre (and a current dancer with Baylor Dance Company) the most backstage knowledge I ever really had was from the practices that happened within the studio. I had a rough idea of what happened for Cinderella because my mom was so involved in the makings of it, but this past two years I gave my mom a break from the backstage/behind the scenes shenanigans and took her place as stage mom, and it's even more hectic than being on stage honestly.
You are constantly running around looking for the next prop to bring on stage or to take off stage, maneuvering between girls of all ages, holding mini flashlights between your teeth so that you can see the hooks on a tutu, and so much more. And God forbid you have a dancer with a quick change (I had two dancers who had quick changes, and one of them was Cinderella, who has multiple ones) because you have to change them at a rapid pace, in the midst of about 10 people, in the DARK, under an intense time crunch. Can you say stressful? I honestly bow down to my mom and other stage moms out there killin' the game, because it is not for the faint of heart.
Also as a backstage mom, you have to stay sharp! Especially, if you have a production with younger children in it...which Cinderella has. So between wrangling the mice and birds to gather around Cinderella for first act, and making sure the little 4-year-old page doesn't run on the stage before his cue, I had my hands full.
Staying sharp doesn't just apply to the younger ones though, it also applies to the older dancers, because you have to make sure all the fairies have their hairpieces in, and the men of the court are all in their correct shirts. One slip up of your attention could lead to some interesting situations. For example, my sister was Fairy Godmother this year, and she was wearing her leg warmers to keep her legs warmed up before she went on stage. I told her multiple times that she needed to take them off before she went on stage. Low and behold, I hear the cue for FG and I look to the stage and homegirl is dancing on stage looking beautiful in her tutu...and her LIGHT BLUE LEG WARMERS! I was so done, but luckily it was a school performance so we all just had a really good laugh about it. This would have been a whole different story if it was opening night. One word to describe that would be: Meltdown.
All craziness aside, being backstage is also incredibly fulfilling, and as a dancer, I get like 1000% more joy from watching a performance backstage than I do from the audience. It's just so much more exciting!