Lincoln - What Do Dancers Appreciate in a Theater?
Lately I’ve found myself thinking about Lincoln. Not Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, but New York's Lincoln Center, of course.
This theater is first class all the way. My first time there was in June 2011, when we performed a collection of highlights from past tours. This past January, we went into Lincoln Center knowing that the weekend shows was already sold out. We had five great performances and couldn’t wait to be back in the spring.
And before our April shows started, we learned that an extra show had been tacked on to the last day due to audience demand.
Taking the stage at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater this time, we were honored to have David H. Koch himself in the audience.
These are a few of my favorite things
Everything at the theater named after the philanthropist is top-notch—from its broad backstage and its elegant lobby to the fantastic crew.
Unlike you in the audience, when we get to the theater, we see the stage first, before it’s ready. The stage’s size and marley floor are perfect for us, which helps us put on a perfect show for our audience.
I remember, during my first visit, sitting in a corner downstage, right next to the orchestra pit, and admiring the auditorium. I couldn't help staring up at the chandelier. The massive ball of lights centered on a decorated gold ceiling seems like an enormous glistering lotus flower hanging above us.
I then got up and walked through the auditorium. I went out to the lobby and took a stroll around the balcony of the second ring, noticing that the lobby had a gold ceiling, too, complementing the white marble floor below. The balcony’s north face is all windows with a view of the Lincoln Center Plaza’s bubbly fountain.
On a lobby wall, a widescreen plasma TV plays videos about our dancers—an inside glimpse into our artists’ lives.
Then, it was back to my dressing room. After the stage, the most important place for us is backstage—it's where we spend most of our time. And, like its stage, Lincoln Center’s backstage is terrific.
We have spacious dressing rooms to do makeup and convenient quick-change rooms in the wings. There is also an easily accessible hallway behind the stage that allows us to quickly get to the other side during acts. These are the things we dancers appreciate.
'We want Pigsy!'
But what makes Lincoln Center so great is its excellent stage crew. They are one of the most professional teams we’ve worked with. From setup day, to show-time, to strike day, they cooperated with all our requests to run a perfect set of performances. They even meticulously cleaned the stage floor before the show and during intermission. They went the extra mile.
It seemed like they wanted our show to succeed as much as we did. Once, before a show, a stagehand said to our company manager: “It’s party night!”
“Yeah, Friday night, lots of parties tonight downtown,” our company manager replied.
“No, I mean in here. It’s a full house.”
Last season, when the crew heard that this year we have another story from Journey to the West, one of them said: “We want Pigsy!” Our piece the year before about how Pigsy joined the journey must have left a strong impression. After all, it’s not every day that pigs can fly.
As we left after the second run of the season in April, our Lincoln Center friends leaked to us that we’re scheduled to come back for two weeks next year. But they couldn’t wait for another year to work with us again. We also can’t wait to go back.
Did you see us perform at Lincoln Center? What did you think? And... should we bring back Pigsy?
August 1, 2012