If you’ve ever taken part in any kind of ballet production (especially a full-length production), you’ll know that long rehearsal days are inevitable. Compulsory. I mean, those productions don’t just come together by themselves right? As much as it is satisfying and fulfilling, long rehearsal days can also really take a toll on you mentally and physically. In order to survive and get the best out of a long rehearsal day, check out these tips below!
1. Get Enough Sleep
We know, you really don’t need us to tell you that dancing requires a lot of energy. Perhaps you would even do okay without much sleep in a normal class, but in a rehearsal? Long hours, multiple repetitions, several corrections – all that’s going to test your limits – both physically and mentally. You need to be on top of your game during these rehearsals working through the movement and flow, getting everything just right, figuring things out and then remembering them when it matters most. A good night’s sleep will ensure better bodily functions in a long rehearsal!
2. Have Your Big Breakfast
Let me tell you this: you cannot expect to go to rehearsal on an empty stomach or just stuffing a few bites of food on the go. You’ll pay for it later, big time. Assuming you followed our tip above, wake up early so you have time to eat a proper meal. Well, maybe not nasi lemak or anything you know is too heavy, but something that carries a little oomph to make sure you have that energy to kick start the day. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so eat up!
3. Drink Up!
Sweating = losing water. And your body needs adequate amounts of water to function optimally. So when you get a little break in between, remember to sip some water. Gulping down your entire bottle isn’t advisable either – we recommend more of a get-some-water-in-at-intervals kind of routine instead. Keeping hydrated is always a good rule of thumb for general health anyway, so drink up!
4. Warm Up
Some rehearsals start off by way of a warm up class first, before actually going into the rehearsal itself. If that’s the case, great! Your muscles definitely need the warm up to get going and to prevent any injuries when you rehearse. If you know you’re going into rehearsal straight, then it’s best you get to the studio early to do some warm up yourself. Nobody ever had a good day dancing without a proper warm up first.
5. Snack Helpfully
Again, let’s talk about energy expenditure. You may have eaten a full breakfast, but that’s not going to last you the whole day, especially when you’re dancing. Make sure you bring along some snacks that will help you keep your energy levels up throughout the day, and eat them when you have a break. Recommended snacks are dark chocolate, bananas, apples, yogurt and nuts just to name a few. Uh, also, junk food is a big no-no, so don’t even think about it! We’re snacking for efficiency, not entertainment!
6. Use Your Breaks Wisely
Definitely, you’ll get some breaks in between. Whether it’s a break due to your teacher/choreographer working on other parts or other dancers, or it’s a designated break time, make sure you know what to do during these times. If it isn’t an official “break”, and you’re just not dancing at the moment, try to avoid being idle for a long time – your muscles will get cold and stiff again. You could practice your own parts if possible, otherwise a good idea is to go through your most recent corrections in your head. Move once in a while. When it comes to your designated break time, do take a rest. Take off your shoes, layer up, eat some snacks, elevate your feet, maybe even catch a quick 10-minute nap… all these will help you once rehearsal resumes. Tiring yourself out before rehearsal ends isn’t a good idea.
7. Pay Attention
It goes without saying, but at a long day of rehearsal, your mind can wander, or your focus can slip. The key is to not let those things happen. Especially when your teacher/choreographer is correcting you, you focus 100% on the present and what needs to be done. The less you pay attention, the more you’ll have to do in the end. And the rehearsal drags on and on. Not ideal at all. Get it right and the rehearsal can progress as smoothly as it can!
8. Have Fun!
This is actually the most important thing of all! In regards to the above tip, we know that sometimes no matter how hard you try, mistakes will be inevitable. All that matters is that you keep doing your best, and enjoy every single moment in rehearsal. Rehearsals have been known to create long-lasting friendships, memories and wholesome experiences, and that’s what will make you a better dancer and person. Long rehearsals are tiring, but they’re also the most fun you’re going to get!
Speaking of long rehearsals, I’m missing rehearsal times a little myself. Do you have any other tips to share on how to survive a long rehearsal day? Let us know in the comments below!
Embarking on the journey of self-discovery through dance.