A company is only as strong as the sum of its parts—and at ABT, each member plays their part to the utmost. I had the opportunity to be a super in ABT’s Taipei productions of La Bayadere this weekend, playing one of the two girls who stand on stage left during the pas d’ action scene in Act I when Nikiya takes gets bitten by the snake.
It was amazing to take part in rehearsal and see how the company works behind the scenes. The company takes a lot of things with them on tour—costumes, sets (even the huge Buddha head for Act III!) and each dancer's stage bag which contains things they use in the dressing rooms. In addition to 130 dancers, ABT also came with their stage and wardrobe crew to facilitate scene changes and quick costume changes.
I would get into my costume early and sit by the stage just to watch the dancers warm up. During the performance, I usually stood and watched from the wings (except during the Kingdom of the Shades, when no one is allowed in the backstage area because the dancers need to focus). I felt like I had the best seat in the house as I got to watch Hee Seo, Marcelo Gomes, Cory Stearns, Paloma Herrera and Veronika Part dance up close. The hardest part of my role was to make sure I didn’t let my jaw drop involuntarily because I was so in awe of these stars. The dancers get into character so well, and I was really moved by the expressiveness of their bodies and faces.
Being among the hard-working dancers and crew these past few days has made me realize what a spectacular company ABT is. They had just finished performing an eight-week season at the Met and immediately packed their bags for Taipei. Their next stop is Seoul, Korea, where they will be dancing Giselle for the lucky audiences there.