In love with swan corps rehearsal; BPB Week 6, Day 26

Rehearsal for Swan Lake Act 2 was wonderful tonight. It was one of those nights that make this all worth it, that makes me happy and makes me remember why I do this. Which is good, because for balance there are also rehearsals like the one I had last Saturday, which somehow I just couldn’t get my swan on.

What made me so happy tonight? Aside from some inexplicable magic thing that can’t be explained and the fact that I was dancing as a swan (yes, classical ballet! Don’t get me wrong, contemporary is great, but this is what I’ve been craving), I was standing in the swan corps.

If you are a dancer or know anything about being in the corps de ballet, especially in Giselle and Swan Lake, you may be questioning my sanity right about now. Corps work is tough, and without the luxury of going offstage to prepare for Cygnets or Big Swans, the swan corps must stand on stage during three different dances, mercifully switching legs. And it’s not enough to just stand there for ten minutes, but you must not move at all. A swan must look like a swan, not like an uncomfortable person. A swan must not let herself sink into the position, but must keep the energy going at all times. A swan must stay in character as a swan the entire time with just as much energy as the soloist and principal swans dancing in the center.

And through all of this I am happy. Today was the first rehearsal we did all of Act 2 without stopping, so it was the first time we did all of that standing and staying in character without stopping the music for corrections. And I was pretty proud of myself. I was able to stay pulled up and in correct alignment (something I’m working to fix while at BPB) for at least most of the time, as well as stay in character as a swan maiden trapped under horrible Von Rothbart’s curse. Well, at least I thought I did pretty good. I’m sure when we have more nitpicky rehearsal time I’ll be corrected plenty, but since we are working with the students to flesh out the corps they were the main focus tonight.

At the end of it all, today I am happy. I usually am, but today was especially wonderful. I understudy the Little Cygnets, but I’m happy to be standing in the corps all that time. I won’t complain, because it will only make me stronger and I will improve my alignment. Besides, any budding ballerina must do corps work, so if I am able to enjoy the nitty-gritty parts of ballet then I know I am in the right career. (Also I cut my bangs again finally, and they always make me feel a bit more ballerina-like, in a Gelsey Kirkland kind of way.)

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Swan-to-Be


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