Here's What Happens Backstage Before an American Ballet Theatre Performance

July 4, 2017

As dancers, we know how crazy things can get backstage before a show. But backstage before a show by the world-class American Ballet Theatre at the 3,800-seat Metropolitan Opera House? That’s a completely different level of crazy.

The New York Times recently took a camera behind the scenes at the Met as ABT got ready for a performance of Alexei Ratmansky’s Whipped Cream. They condensed the two-hour tour into a seven-minute video (“Don’t blink,” says a helpful caption)—and captured a little bit of all the different parts of the Met’s bustling backstage world.

We see tons of delicious dance stuff, of course: Misty Copeland warming up in class, David Hallberg texting in a hallway, James Whiteside (ID’ed not only by his given name but also by his drag queen name, which is amazing) prepping to play Prince Coffee. But it’s also nuts to realize just how much non-dance stuff is happening inside the giant theater. While ABT may be about to take the stage, the scenic shop is busy crafting faux flowers for an upcoming opera production of Madama Butterfly, and the Met Orchestra is rehearsing Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in a basement room with (very famous) conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Take a look, and then click over to the NYT page for all kinds of other juicy tidbits.