Month: December 2013

The make up of makeup

When it comes to performance preparation nothing is left to chance. Every dancer has their own unique way of getting ready for a show. When nerves and superstitions are at play nothing is seen as unusual in the way of getting mentally and physically ready.

Routine is a necessity. Venues change, change rooms vary in size, available mirror space can be limited, carpeted and heated areas differ from place to place and available electrical sockets are sometimes located in slightly challenging places when operating a hair curler. Individual routines, however, remain as close to the originally developed version as possible. It is the most effective way of putting on a great show!

An hour before the show the dressing room is a hub of activity. Speakers playing feel good tunes at a modest volume for those who do not already have headphones in. Wafts of hairspray fill the air along with the occasional frustrated cry of “my hair is just not working today! Starting again!” A tangle of hair curler and phone charger cords occupy the available power sockets and individual tour boxes filled with makeup, hair and class clothing necessities endeavour to be placed as unobtrusively as possible against walls and under chairs.  Dancers peer into mirrors, checking their eyeliner precision and casually making ordinary conversation as the countdown to the ‘30 minute call’ begins.

Beneath this exterior of calm there is quite a lot going on mentally. Preparing the mind for a performance is just as important as warming up the body. I have noted in others as well as myself, that each dancer before a show generally follows the same routine. For example, I always begin with my hairstyle and then move onto makeup following the same order of application for each show. This methodical routine calms me before a performance. Basically, I am ticking off a mental checklist in the same order each time, allowing me to focus on what I am about to perform. Whilst applying eye shadow I am at the same time thinking through steps of choreography and technical things I need to focus on when performing those steps.

Fifteen minutes before the show it’s time to hit the resin box situated side stage to put on pointe shoes. A light spray of hairspray and some resin on the underneath and heel of my tights allows my feet to grip the inside of my shoes as if I am barefoot rather than wearing tights. The audience, unaware of the steady stream of dancers coming to and from the resin just off the stage can be heard. I love this moment. The friendly buzz of audience chatter ready for some live theatre!

From this moment it’s lights, music, action!

Today we perform our final show of this Tower Tutus on Tour season. I have enjoyed writing this blog so much! I plan to continue with it as we head into rehearsals for our next tour. We are off to tour America from late January through February. Busy and exciting times ahead! Thanks to all for reading along this tour with me!

Tonia 🙂