Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Assisting (Busiest Weekend Part 2)

One of my jobs as a troupe assistant was to snap a quick backstage photo of Skirt Full of Fire before their second set :)

For the most part, my job was to be chauffeur, go-fer, and holder of things. I was also on hand in case there were any problems with the DJ mid-set, so no one would have to jump off-stage and try to fix a bad music situation, but that didn't happen, thankfully. Being an assistant is not particularly glamorous but it is actually pretty fun. I enjoyed my behind-the-scenes look at being a professional and performing at a medium-sized, non-dance-community event.

I learned a lot about communicating with event organizers and clients, both from watching Jolie during the pre-show tour of the venue and from talking about the gig on the way home Sunday night. I also saw how gigging dancers have to be able to adapt on the fly to an unexpected stage layout or other small hitches in an event.

A lot of blogs and articles recommend ride-alongs like this as part of a would-be-pro dancer's education and I totally see why now. Why stumble your way through the world of professional gigs when you could get some hands-on experience beforehand? Since I didn't have the stress of getting ready and performing, I was able to observe everything from the outside, and then later pick Jolie's brain. It definitely helps to have a mentor who has experience in a lot of different arenas -- performing as a soloist, as part of a troupe, as a troupe director, with live bands, etc etc.

I'm looking forward to doing more assistant work throughout the year. Not only is it great for my dance career, but any chance to spend more time with Jolie, Brandye and Rachel is good in my book! Thanks ladies for letting me work with you this weekend.


  1. ride-alongs! A good idea I should use more often. I've done it with my mentored would-be pros, but never thought of doing it with my non-pro performing group. An extra person could be quite helpful :-)

    1. Yes, although I am doing it as part of my pro training, I would have enjoyed it back when I was "just" a student, too. I think it's a nice way for students to see what goes into being a professional. And I think it also makes the troupe/performer look better, too -- Look, she's such a big deal she has an assistant along to handle things for her! ;)


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