I have to say throughout my lifetime in dance I have always suffered with nerves and in the moment difficulty to remember the choreography when the time came to step out on stage in front of an audience no matter the size or occasion. This video I happened across hysterically captures the moments of being caught in your own world, losing the choreography and those little slip ups we all make. The turn outward instead of inwards mishaps, arms up rather than down, a misjudged position on stage, little things that when exaggerated like in this video serve to show how much precision is really involved in your typical seemingly smooth running performance.
Often its not even a case of forgetting the steps, you can be in your own head and get carried away just dancing, momentarily losing the routine in your mind and sight of your fellow dancers, innocently performing an impromptu solo. This piece performed with grace, lovely technique and an abundance of humor by the Vienna State Opera Ballet just makes me smile.
This also serves to show the interaction between dancers on stage, although exaggerated it is true that if someone goes wrong you instinctively try to help, you certainly notice immediately, first try to prompt, then perhaps push gently into the correct position, do what you can while attempting at all times not to let the audience notice, which in this piece is the whole point, they are being allowed to notice, the compete opposite instinct for any dancer. The audience is being let in on one of the biggest secrets in ballet. There is never a perfect performance, adaptation and quick thinking are the corner stones of a show. Obviously we all strive to never make a mistake but we are all human and sometimes no matter how well practiced or prepared you may be the unforeseeable just happens and you must keep going.
I adore how this short piece not only shows the very real visual repercussions of a blunder but also shows just how quick the mind of a dancer works when the realization of a mistake dawns. A split second adjustment is made in the mind of the dancer to get them back on track and blend back in with the group, in this case admittedly and deliberately the adjustment is not as seamless as would usually be aimed for. I have experienced this feeling of being lost momentarily, realizing and recalculating as it were to rejoin the routine, all in the blink of an eye, a fraction of a moment. Mentally the instant a mistake happens your mind automatically says ‘shit’ swiftly followed by ‘smile, just smile’ all whilst maneuvering your body back into the correct formation and sequence of movements. It is a phenomenon every dancer experiences and is a true skill in itself, the mark of a sharp mind and skilled artist.
Even if you are not a dancer I’m sure you can agree that this is a great piece of performance and a humorous, light and beautiful snippet of ballet.