Dance Explosion Blog – 8-16-11
Even though you can’t see it, there is a great deal of work that goes on backstage before and after the curtain rises. We caught up with AMT’s Stage Manager, Andy Green, and asked him to share some of the behind-the-scenes happenings for Dance Explosion.
Andy and his team of technicians arrive about two hours before each show begins. During that time, they make sure the sets and props are in place, and the stage has been swept and mopped. They walk across the stage several times, diligently checking to make sure there are no foreign objects on the stage floor like hairpins, sequins, buttons or other little objects that could cause a problem for the dancers. The technicians also perform dimmer checks to make sure all the lighting works, and sound checks to ensure the stage monitors and front of house speakers are working properly.
The technicians continue to prepare, right up until show time, making sure everything is accounted for and in its proper place, even going over the set moves and set changes for the show. This is especially important after a couple days off, so technicians can review each move and get back into “show mode.”
Once the show begins, the technicians are literally off and running, as they sometimes only have seconds to get their set changes done. Not only are they working against the clock, but they also have the challenge of not crashing set pieces into performers who are running on and off stage or changing costumes. It’s definitely important that no one gets hurt! To accomplish all of this, each technician is assigned a specific order of tasks, or “a track” and the key is to learn their track in the best and most effective way, so that they can perform their track the same way each and every time. So, not only are the dances choreographed, but the set moves and changes are choreographed as well.
Even after weeks of live performances and daily pre-show preparations, Andy and the team remain on their toes to make on-the-spot adjustments, as they’ve learned from experience that you never know what might happen in live theatre!