Last week, we posted an article on Facebook by Erin Long-Robbins, the Co-Artistic Director of the dance company South Dayton Dance Theatre, on the subject of Understanding Understudying. We had an overwhelming response, so we decided to also post a link to article here as a resource! Understudying can be a challenging part of dance training for students to grow into, so we highly encourage to you to read this helpful perspective by Ms. Erin.
"I remember the thrill of being asked to understudy Snowflakes in The Nutcracker at the age of twelve in the small, pre-professional company in which I grew up. I also remember the terror of realizing that one doesn’t have to just know the steps, but the floor patterns as well. The first time I went in, I almost took out three older dancers because I wasn’t sure of the paths to take. Lesson learned. I was also asked at thirteen to understudy the lead in one of our major ballets because the choreographer wanted a ‘little girl’ that the guest male dancer could practice lifts with easily. I was on cloud nine being able to understudy such a role and under a dancer I really admired. Three years later when we danced the ballet again, I got the opportunity to perform that lead role. I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt when I remembered how technically difficult it had been for me just three years earlier and now how much fun I could have with developing the character instead of just worrying about the steps. It showed me how far I had come, not only in my technique, but as an artist..."