I am in Los Angeles where the Joffrey Ballet is performing this weekend at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. We are on what I call the "Madness Tour" phase # 1. We are set to tour for almost two months and performing in over 20 cities across the U.S.
While various situations always come up, I have been preparing myself for such tour by staying in great shape and buying nutritional foods along the way for the long flights and bus rides between cities. I also take along my normal vitamin and protein supplements to maintain strong muscles and general good health.
The main challenge for dancers is keeping our bodies in shape and our stamina up because there are so many cities on this tour, and we are traveling pretty much every other day or every two days. Most of our fans and the public in general think the hardest part of touring is performing, but on the contrary, the hard part is the traveling and the wear and tear on our bodies it creates.
You see, after each performance, there is a very crucial necessary period of time for recovery. The body is going through different phases of muscles getting tighter, soreness from the previous performance, and lactic acid build-up in our muscles form overworking them. Sometimes we get muscles spasms and cramps. When traveling on buses and planes, there isn't the time and place for proper physical therapy.
So the worst part of touring is seating for hours in planes or buses, not the ideal places for our bodies to recover.
The short engagements in various cities are due to the changing Ballet World and performing arts in general. Much of this is due to cut-backs in funding for the arts due to the economic times.
Presenters who book ballet companies don't want to risk booking several shows since they don't know if they will sell enough tickets. They want to make a profit or at least, not lose money. Union requirements for bigger companies, which protect dancers under work rules, can make the programming pricey. So producers now also focus on shrinking the load-in and prep time. They want companies that can "walk in", perform, and leave with as little expense as possible.
The Joffrey Ballet tours with mixed bills (three dance pieces per show) and not with full-length ballets that require larges stage sets so we can keep our expenses down. Our management compresses the load-in and prep time to as short as possible. I think these actions make us a very marketable and attractive company. As a result, we can perform classical, neo-classical, and modern pieces during the same night in a mixed bill but not have the burden of large sets and elaborate costumes.
Please check our web site www.joffrey.org to see if we are coming to your city. Ciao for now and hope to see you at a show!