Guest writer: Shauna Tysor, Company Manager
Those of us who remain on tour are counting down the days to our return Sunday. This is my first tour with the company, and with 64 travelers – 42 dancers, 12 production/wardrobe staff, 5 artistic staff, 2 management staff, 1 athletic trainer, 1 pianist, and 1 child to perform in Madame Butterfly – it has been quite a remarkable feat to pull off with very few glitches. All in all we are happy to be winding down the tour with a mixed rep – Clear, Hush, and Velocity – to be performed tomorrow (Saturday) at Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Our tour started in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Oct. 9 (yes, that is 13 days on the road; 14 for our crew who arrived on Oct. 8). The company performed three shows of Madame Butterfly and one mixed rep performance at the Walton Arts Center. Our ballet mistress Louise Lester and ballet master Steven Woodgate also participated in community outreach programs with ballet students from all over northwest Arkansas, teaching classes to all levels of students. Also, we had 11 local Fayetteville children perform or cover parts in Madame Butterfly with us. This was a very exciting experience for them as well as the company. We all loved the picturesque college town where we were welcomed by the locals in true Razorback style and were able to see their town really come alive on game day.
From Fayetteville we took a four hour bus ride to Kansas City, Missouri for two shows of Madame Butterfly in the Music Hall. The dancers and staff enjoyed Monday off and were able to tour the city, seeing various landmarks and museums as well as shopping. The crew on the other hand had a full day of load in, which is the unloading of all three semi trucks carrying every aspect of the show – from the lights and floor to the dancers’ theater cases – and when it came to load out they spent five hours in the pouring rain reloading the trucks for their journey to Minneapolis. During our stay the Kansas City Ballet was very gracious to let us use their facilities for company class and rehearsals. They also supplied us with six local children to perform in Madame Butterfly – for some this was their stage debut.
Yesterday we arrived in Minneapolis via Chicago. It was a full day of traveling on buses and planes. We are looking forward to the mixed rep tomorrow, and the company is spending today in rehearsal at Minnesota Dance Theater. Stanton Welch is teaching a combined class of our company with theirs first thing this morning.
As I said before we are all excited about coming home on Sunday. I thank my lucky stars that everything has gone well and everyone has enjoyed themselves. Most of the company and staff toured to Kansas City and Minneapolis a few years ago, which has helped with round two.