As dancers warm up and mark through their choreography, bright sunlight streams in through the Palladian windows in Tacoma City Ballet’s gorgeous Jan Collum Ballroom. Chairs are arranged for the artistic staff and final preparations are made for the final Saturday morning rehearsal of Storybook Ballet Theater.
Over forty young dancers are in attendance, taking their places and preparing for the run-through. The music begins, and the Junior Company dancers settle in to watch, entranced by the older Performing Company dancers, and perhaps envious of their prized pointe shoes. Soon, it is the younger dancers’ turn; it is time for one of three numbers in which the Junior Company joins their older role models.
Less than an hour later, the run-through is complete and the company dedicates additional rehearsal time to work on the show: a bit of time for the new finale, for working out the best way to use a newly completed set piece, for practicing a tricky sequence of steps. It is a beautiful day in Tacoma, but these dancers willingly spend it indoors, happily working towards their upcoming performance. With another hour before the Junior Company is scheduled to be picked up, the Artistic Director decides on one more run-through of Storybook Ballet Theatre, “from the top.”
There is a feeling of summertime, working in the beautiful studio with its huge windows. The light pours in on dedicated dancers, fixing a step here, practicing a jump there, or working with a new prop. They are just a week away from their opening performance, and just eight days from their closing show. As dancers, they are accustomed to the ephemeral quality of what they do; rehearsing for months in preparation for just a few performances. In a show like Storybook Ballet Theatre, the delight they bring to young audiences makes all the preparation worthwhile.