ELISABETTA D’ALOIA, Rehearsal Director
What do you do?
I’m working on this project as Rehearsal Director/Assistant to the choreographer. I teach morning training for the dancers and
work alongside the choreographer during the creative process to support the way tasks are developed. Once the work is finished I’ll rehearse it until its polished.
When did you first realise that you wanted to be a rehearsal director?
I worked as a performer for many years and then was asked if I wanted to give rehearsal directing a try. I tried it and really enjoyed it, so it became a part of what I do as a freelancer.
Where did you train and what qualification did you get?
I trained at The Place on the three year BA course and I have an MA in Performance from Laban Centre London
What kinds of things did you study?
We had technique classes in ballet and contemporary, covering different styles, practical sessions in improvisation, contact, choreography and dance teaching (in the community and for special needs) and theory classes on anatomy, dance history, gender studies, ethnography and dance, repertoire. We also had independent choreographic projects to make and present our own work.
Do you have such a thing as a typical day?
During creation time my day starts around 10 leading a warm up (or joining in warm up if I am not leading it) for an hour and a half. There is usually then a conversation with the artistic director about the previous day and what we got up to, and how to progress it, alter it or leave it. During creation weeks we spend all day making, videoing, discussing the work, clarifying intentions, breaking down tasks to eventually put the piece together. The day finishes around 6 pm (with an hour lunch and two short breaks, one in the morning, one in the afternoon). Once the work is assembled our time in the studio is spent cleaning and clarifying the material. The piece gets run through daily in shorter chunks and eventually as a whole. That's important to get a sense of the work in its entirety and also good for the dancers stamina!
What personality traits or skills do you need to be a producer?
I think to be a good rehearsal director it is important to have an understanding of how process works (so it helps to have been a dancer!) and what the demands are on the maker, on the dancers, on the collaborators. It is important to have an interest in group dynamics and to know when it is useful to step in/contribute ideas /offer solutions and when it isn't and to try and support a healthy conversation between different personalities. A lot of the work is quite intuitive and about thinking on the spot.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being part of the creative time in the studio, to see the work begin from an idea and develop into a full piece. I also love observing and having a part in the dynamics of the team to try and find an 'optimal' set up for the work to be happening in.
Are there any bad bits?
Not really. Apart from the fact that it is an 'invisible' role. Important but not in the limelight. But that's only a bad bit if it is vital for you to be in the limelight...!
What advice would you give to a young person wanting to do the job you do?
Go and watch work as much as possible, not just dance but theatre, opera, music, live art, performance art, exhibitions.... Read about dance and theatre and engage in conversations about it whenever possible. It helps to have performed and have toured and experienced the broadest possible range of performance challenges. Also…keep up your own practice.