Becoming Wendy in PA Ballet's "Peter Pan"
Pennsylvania Ballet presents Trey McIntyre's Peter Pan for the first time this month. PAB soloist Lauren Fadeley, who is dancing the part of Wendy, is guest-blogging the rehearsal and performance process for Pointe. Read her first posts here and here.
This past week has been a whirlwind in Neverland! We made our way to Philadelphia's Academy of Music last Tuesday night to start tech work. It was important to take the time to work out the mechanics of elements like Captain Hook's final fall from his six-foot-tall pirate ship ledge, and a shadowplay scene behind a lit screen that can only be rehearsed onstage. We also had to practice flying again, as it had been a while since our last aerial rehearsal. With all the massive sets and flying rigs backstage, there was barely room for us dancers to stand in the wings!
Each cast had a run-through in costume before the show opened. My Wendy costume is a simple pink nightgown made of silk chiffon that moves effortlessly as I dance. To appear younger, I have to hot-roll my hair into ringlets and secure them with a cute pink bow. It definitely helps me get into character! Many of the ballet's costumes are quite extravagant—almost everyone has some sort of wig or headpiece and make-up in every color of the rainbow. I love the pirates' crazy ragged ensembles and the adorable, almost animal-like outfits of the lost boys.
After several rehearsals onstage, I debuted as Wendy this past Friday night. I was definitely more excited than nervous—I couldn't believe that after all this hard work, the day had finally come. Dancing the first act was just a blast. It has a lot of acting and storytelling, and I felt like a little kid playing around in my room again. In Act 2, I share a beautiful pas de deux with Peter as well as my first meeting with Captain Hook. I have to say I was legitimately scared of him that night, all done up in evil costume and makeup! The ballet finishes with Peter defeating Hook, and Wendy deciding it's time for her to say goodbye and grow up. That last solo is my favorite part of the ballet; it's incredibly free.
Performing the ballet for the first time was exhilarating. Afterwards I had such a sense of accomplishment and joy. I can't wait to do it all again this weekend!