My days teaching high school theatre serve me well in belly dance!
I know and embrace the importance of the full dress rehearsal.
Briefly, here are five whys and hows of our dress rehearsals.
Note: We were in the fortunate position of having class in the venue we're performing in, so we had access to the stage/lights/sound.
Dress Rehearsals Provide Confidence
The Unknown is its own source of fear. Dress rehearsals give a sense of the real thing and take away one element of anxiety.
2. Dress Rehearsals Provide a Sense of Pride and Professionalism
Something changes when everyone sees each other in makeup and sequins and full regalia. "We look like professionals!" several women exclaimed when we held our first dress rehearsal ever on Wednesday. They began to fully realize how much work they had put in and how amazing they were as they sparkled under the spotlight.
The Hows (This changes depending on situation)
1. Hair, makeup, costumes!
Feeling the costume before performing is important. We danced in our full skirts for a few weeks, but putting everything together allows dancers to see if elements of the costume need adjusted.
I also firmly believe that hair needs to be done to make sure it isn't an irritant. For example, our skirt dance has several places where we bend over. I wore my fascinator to make sure it wouldn't fall off.
2. Three time's the charm
By dress rehearsal, the choreography should be set/ready, so there's no reason to over-beleaguer the run-throughs. We had to make some changes because three performers were out with illness, but these were minor tweaks.
I ran the song once with the troupe, then they danced without me. I gave some feedback, and we danced one final time.
After that, we got a drink, changed outfits, and followed the same procedure. Although I had scheduled two hours, one was enough, and we were finished!
3. Entrances and Exits (Gallumphing will not be tolerated!)
Entrances and exits are incredibly important--these are the first and final times the audience will see the dancers and leave a lasting impression.
My philosophy is that the performance starts as soon as the audience can see the dancers, not when the music starts.
I also know that often at least one performer will be missing for a major performance, so I set the entrances/exits the day of the dress rehearsal based on the final structure of the piece.
Dress rehearsals are also a time to encourage your people!
They've put in a lot of time and effort and money, and they need to know what they do matters!
Are you a theatre/dancer type? What helps you in dress rehearsals?