Bayaricshes Stattsballett artist Jeanette Kakareka takes us through a day in her busy life as a professional corps ballerina.
Hi, this is Jeanette Kakareka, and today I’ll be taking you through one of my work days at Bayerisches Staatsballett. As I spoke about on a previous guest blog for C&V, I just moved to Munich this season.
It’s a very different pace than what I’d experienced my last four years as a profession ballet dancer, mostly because the shows here are mainly all in one theatre at the Staatsoper and so are our everyday rehearsals, etc. I’d been used to being more of a nomad, so it’s been a nice change of pace this year to have consistency.
That said, many our of performances are also spread out, so we are constantly revisiting rep which we learned earlier in the season. Personally, I’ve learned 10 new productions so far this season, going on my 11th, having only performed Cranko’s Onegin previously.
Honestly, it’s been exhausting but oh-so-rewarding to have this much stimulation for the mind and body. Our company recently finished putting on Raymonda, which it hasn’t performed in many years. The music is really beautiful, and I’m lucky I was in the first cast for the Grand Pas along with dancing “Weiss Damen” and Raymond’s Friends, Henriette and Clemence.
This day-in-the-life was from when we were preparing for Raymonda – I had a lot to look forward to, and a lot of work to do!
7.50 am My cat greets me in the morning with a lot of meowing, as if to say both “one of my favourite beings is awake to pet me” and “feed me immediately”. I make my daily bowl of porridge (which I never ever tire of,) and brew coffee for myself and my boyfriend, (but I make his to go). While I eat, I usually learn some choreography or watch Netflix or catch up with things on my blog. Today I am definitely reviewing choreography because it is a more full-on day.
9.20 am When I get to the theatre I get dressed and start getting ready for class.
10.00-11.15 am Class starts, it’s being taught by our director, Igor Zelensky.
11.30 am-12.30 pm Today, I’ll be rehearsing two ballets–Raymonda and Alice in Wonderland. First is a full call for Alice because we have two shows this Friday and Saturday. It’s mostly to review because we just recently performed this ballet during our Ballet Festival Week. Plus, I like Alice because I get to dance with my boyfriend, Jinhao Zhang.
12.45-2.00 pm Next, I have a corps calls for Raymonda Act ll to learn a new group section.
2.00 pm Rehearsals have changed, so I luckily get a little extra time to recover, snack, and go over some choreography. I was originally supposed to run over for a soloist Friends call, but instead I’ve put my feet up to drain the blood and reduce swelling.
3.00-4.15 pm Now it’s time to start learning a new section for “Weiss Damen” in Raymonda. This soloist character is meant to be looking after Raymonda and help guide her through her decisions in the ballet. “Weiss Damen” has three solos and lots of little entrances, so there’s a lot to rehearse, but today we’ll be learning some pas de trois work for the “dream scene”.
4.15 pm I’m now going to go grab some lunch from our canteen and start preparing some new pointe shoes to sew. Today I did manage to have a couple breaks, but I don’t always get this much time when I’m busy so I try and pack a lunch I can eat really fast when necessary. My feet are feeling pretty swollen so I’ll try putting them up again.
6.00-8.30 pm Now we’ll begin learning the Grand Pas couples in Raymonda. I’ve always imagined that dancing these couples would be fun since the music is so beautiful and iconic. I’ll be performing this for opening night later on this month. If you’re in Munich, come watch us!
8.30 is a really late time to finish, but most of the company actually does this every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday that is not a show day. I’m still getting used to this, because although my commute is very short, it’s hard to feel motivated to cook or do much of anything at that time of night. I’ve found that weekend preparation is key, and if I don’t have any soloist rehearsals, I usually have a break between 2-6 where I can get some errands done or nap.
9.00 pm Now that I’ve gotten back home, my boyfriend has ordered some food delivery since he finished earlier in the day than me. So now we can just rest, talk about our day, and cuddle with our cat, Moqi.
Header image: Perry Curties