BX Dancer Francesca Forcella takes us through a typical rehearsal day in the BalletX studio for #WorldBalletDay
My alarm goes off, and I begin my day. The first task of my day is always to make coffee…I’m a bit of an addict and need my French press and freshly ground coffee to wake up.
I make breakfast. Usually an egg, cream cheese, and Sriracha sandwich on toasted Tuscan bread is on the menu. (Inspired by former BalletX dancer Jaime Lennon.) If I am in a rush, I will typically just have cereal. However, I prefer the egg breakfast because it is more likely to keep me full until lunch.
I prefer to pack my lunch and snacks. Most of the time I make a sandwich, but sometimes I will bring dinner leftovers or some kind of salad depending on how heavy my rehearsal schedule is that day.
I pack my dance bag, throwing in a couple different rehearsal outfits to ensure I feel fresh throughout the day. Then I throw on street clothes, do my hair, and put on some makeup.
I start my walk to the studio. I live about a mile away, but I prefer the 15 or 20-minute walk over taking public transportation. I find it is a good pre-warm up before class. It can be a bit rough in the winter, but if the weather is really bad, Philadelphia definitely isn’t sparse on cabs!
This is when I usually arrive to the studio. It gives me time to quickly change into my dance clothes, and have about 20 minutes to prepare for class. To warm-up, I usually start with my feet, using a TheraBand. I then do a mixture of Pilates, yoga, and basic stretching before putting on either my ballet or pointe shoes to begin class.
BalletX company class begins. We have a daily classical ballet class to maintain a foundation underneath all of the contemporary work we do.
Class ends, and there is a 15-minute break before rehearsal starts. Within this break, I usually change into dry clothes and grab a quick snack. If we are rehearsing or learning a new piece of choreography, I will also use this time to go over what were taught the day before.
Rehearsals start. Right now, we are working on a piece titled Malasangre by Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto. The movement is very detailed, strong, and sassy, danced to fun Latin music. It is always exciting to learn new work and styles because it expands my dance palate and challenges me.
Lunch time! Most of the time I will stay at the studio to eat lunch with the other dancers, but sometimes I like to eat outside to get some fresh air.
I head back into rehearsal.
Generally, this is what time I finish my workday. At this point, I will either walk home, or grab dinner and drinks with fellow company members. We are all very close, which I think is part of what helps us work well together.
If I head straight home after rehearsal, this is about the time I get home. The first thing I do when I walk in the door, is take a shower. If it has been an exceptionally long day filled with new choreography, I will also soak in an Epsom salt bath to try to prevent the inevitable soreness. Once freshened up, I will begin to cook dinner. I usually try to make something quick and easy for myself. But if my boyfriend comes over for dinner, I will sometimes get creative in the kitchen and try a new recipe. I always find it more fun to cook for two rather than one!
After dinner, it is time to start working on school. Since last January, I have been enrolling in one or two college courses each semester. I was not able to get a college degree before diving into my dance career, but I have set a personal goal to achieve one. I feel like it will benefit me in the future.
I begin to wind down. I’ll read a book (I’m currently trekking my way through the Game of Thrones series), or catch up on missed TV shows.
Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy of the Vail Valley Foundation