What a great start to the day, blue skies, the sun shining and 30 of our great customers on a bus headed to Toronto’s National Ballet where we would get to spend the day sharing what we all love, “dance.”
No problem getting the dancers up this morning as everyone arrived nice and early with a buzz of excitement. John our bus driver did a great job getting us around the stopped traffic jam as we hit Toronto and we made it to our destination in good time.
Our tour started with the “shoe room”, wouldn’t we all love to have an endless supply of shoes ready for us when we need them, just walk in grab what you need and away you go to rehearsal. Next was the set model room holding binder upon binder of intricate designs for production staff to follow. Each ballet has a full mini model with complete detail of each set. Pretty impressive.
Leading to the wardrobe workshop the halls were lined with sketches of costume ideas, dancers, and large wooden boxes that held specific costumes for different roles for each ballet. It was a busy day in the costume department, with all three workshops busy at work making alterations and designing costumes. One was being made for Greta Hodgkinson for a Gala she will be performing in the next few weeks. Our last stop was the rehearsal studio and thank goodness our guide hurried us along to get there as they were rehearsing Chroma, performances start June 13, and we just happened to have the timing perfect to be able to watch the whole piece. An excellent display of dance, a modern touch to ballet. Just to top things off a number of our lucky ladies got to sit right behind Karen Kain and Rex Herrington, who could ask for a better day!?
Here’s some neat facts we learned on our tour:
- Ballerinas go through 2-3 pairs of Pointe Shoes a performance
- Between 3-4 full sets of costumes are made for each production
- When the ballet goes on the road it takes four to six 48 foot trucks to transport everything, now that’s a road tri
- To put together all the sets used in each production The National has a 59,000 sqft workshop located in Scarborough where carpenters and painters build the sets, the same size as an airplane hanger
- The youngest dancer with the company is 18 and goes up to 40
- It takes a minimum of 120 hours to build a basic tutu
- A dancer will go through about 2,000 pairs of Pointe Shoes a year, one pair a year doesn’t sound so bad now!
- The company employs 120 dancers, artists and musicians
- The National Ballet celebrates 60 years this season