Before the Curtain Opens

Yesterday I danced in my twelfth recital at the studio I currently dance at. And magic filled the day.

 I realize, though, that most people reading this never experienced the thrill and chaos of a ballet recital, so today I want to give you the insider's view to the goings on of ballet performances. I will show you the mess and the beauty, the work and the joy! Come with me as I relive such a wonderful day!

Something about entering in through the back door of the theater and dumping my bags in the dressing room excites me and makes me feel like the day begins. I make myself at home at my place in front of the mirror, which basically means that I throw my stuff everywhere. But no one minds, because everyone else's stuff covers their space too.

Recital day for me takes up the whole day. Because it costs money to rent the stage for rehearsal, we always do stage rehearsal and the performance on the same day, the same very long and wonderful day. The little dancers practice first, but this didn't mean that I get to relax and warm up, not a chance. Since I teach the little girls (and boy), I helped them learn how to dance to the audience.

 I must say that I pride myself in the pieces that I choreographed for the little dancers. First, they wear white as Elsa's little creations and I lead them in a dance to Piano Guys Let it Go (see this post to read more about this). They run off waving their arms in front of them and I stay on, commanding the audience to look at me.

Then I perform my variation, my solo.

The first run through of my variation as Elsa scarred me. You see, dancers have a special relationship with the floor. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but hear me out. Everything that we do grounds itself on the floor, every jump, slide, and turn relies on the floor and can change depending on the floor. A slippery floor makes turning more risky. A bumpy floor makes moving across harder. A sticky floor makes movements feel weighted. The floor means a lot to a dancer, and yesterday, the floor and I did understand each other, for the floor wanted to slip and slide but I just wanted to do ten turns across it and not fall!

But after rehearsing the little class' tap number, my group pointe piece, the contemporary ballet piece, and the optical illusion piece, the floor and I begin to get along a bit more. Rosin, a substance that we spread across our shoes, covers my pointe shoes and makes my grip on the stage more secure, and I leave the stage feeling a bit better about the fast-approaching performance.

But we still have over an hour before it starts.

So what do I do?

I put on lots of make up.

Eat a snack,


Walk around backstage.

And visit with my friends. We all talk giddily about our nerves and excitement. The group of girls that I danced with this year just make my smile! We work together seamlessly and just like to hang out with each other! I believe that the people make the show. Our ballet family brings the magic to the day, and that shows through our dancing.

Before I know it, only half an hour remains until Recital begins.

This is where the panic comes in. All of the things that I put off pile up and I rush through my warm up, change into costume, and apply last minute make up. Thirst comes upon me at the thought that in just ten minutes I will open the show with Let it Go and my variation. I keep running in place to warm up my legs, and I generously apply rosin to my feet. Before I feel ready, there I stand, right behind the curtain, listening to the Nation Anthem. My little class stands in first position behind me, and my teachers stand in front of me. Everyone looks ready, but why will these nerves never leave me.

What if I fall?

What if I don't do my best?

What if?

I breath in and remember what I prayed about this morning, that today I will not let fear steal the joy of dancing in Jesus' hand. I know that my identity doesn't rely on this performance, and that God gave my a talent to use for His glory, a talent that I get to use right now. I can either chose nerves or joy, but I don't have long to decide.

"Jesus," I pray. "I chose joy. I chose to have fun in this next hour. I chose you."

The National Anthem ends and my music starts. Then, slowly, the curtain opens and my time begins.

Recital starts.

Stay tuned next for the next post about the show and what Jesus taught me though this year's recital! And comment below about any rituals you have before a big day! Love you guys! 

Princess Hannah


  1. Princess Hannah does suit you well, even though Elsa is a queen! Haha! :) The same thing happens when I go out to dance, too, having to rehearse and perform on the same day! Back stage things are so crazy; because I'm one of the more older dancers I have to try to make sure the kids don't run into the set design area, where there are tons of paints and hammers hanging high up in the ceiling! Ah! I can't wait for tomorrow's post!

    xoxo Morning

    1. Ah, yes the princess life. Thank you for the comment!

      Backstage is so crazy, yet we love it! I didn't know that you danced? How long have you danced?

      And the show had a lot of depth to it, although it may come up on Wednesday not tomorrow.