Last week, we were invited to a special preview of “Men in Tutus” at PJ Live Arts. While the preview was all fun and games, we got down to business in our interview with the cast of “Men in Tutus”. Here’s where we discovered the real hard work behind putting the show together and how they’d usually best prepare themselves for it.
Victor, tell us, how did “Men in Tutus” originally start?
“Well, the art form was put together a long time ago in the 70s by a man who used to be a wardrobe master for the American Ballet Theatre. He loved ballet and he made beautiful costumes so he grabbed a bunch a group of his friends and made beautiful costumes and then they went into a theatre called La Mama which was a tiny, experimental theatre. But it’s not heavily dance, it’s more theatre. Later, ‘Men in Tutus’, I mean, trained dancers started coming in to do this type of work so I decided to create a whole company of trained dancers to do this. The technical side of the dancing became stronger so that people will not just laugh but also leave with the appreciation of the dance.”
What do you guys usually do to, sorta, calm your nerves before you go on stage?
“We do a class to warm up, to get our bodies ready. But mentally everyone kinda does different things – some of us like noise and music, some of us like silence. We try to separate into different rooms so that we can mentally prepare for the show. Everybody came here with different experiences. I’ve been dancing to this kind of stuff for a long time. When I first started, before I step out to do a difficult role, I’d get very nervous but now..not anymore. Like Walter, he’s always very excited when he dances because he’s a very upbeat person. And that’s the wonderful thing about this company, you know, each person brings their own personality to the stage and I kinda encourage that.”
You know, people don’t know this for a fact yet so..is this a full-time job or a hobby?
“It’s a full-time job although there are opportunities for people to work at other jobs and other dance jobs because this is not all-year round. We’re all full-time dancers and this is our professional jobs. Walter is a costumer, and he’s also a makeup artist so you know, they have other skills. Like me, I’m a choreographer.”
What do you think is the most common misconception about “Men in Tutus”? Because, you know, men in tutus is a little bit..unorthodox..
“I think that maybe people believe that we’re not serious about dance. That we’re just a bunch of clowns putting on costumes and making jokes. But everybody is a trained dancer – everybody in the company is a dancer first. That’s their foremost career. I don’t hire people who aren’t interested in being dancers. It’s unorthodox, definitely, but this art form has been around now for over 30 years and it still continues to develop. As any art form, when it’s young, people weren’t very good dancers but it has evolved and has become a career that a lot of people are considering to do seriously. Dancing in pointe shoes is such a challenge – it’s like learning how to roller-skate or ice-skate. It’s not like just dancing on your regular feet. You have to master it.”
Come and enjoy men in pink tights and, of course, in tutus.
Deets are as follows:
- 2nd June (Sunday) – KL Live
- 4th – 9th June (Tuesday till Sunday) – PJ Live Arts (part of Laugh Fest)
- 11th – 16th June (Tuesday till Sunday) – Performing Arts Centre of Penang (part of Georgetown Festival)
- 18th – 23rd June (Tueday till Sunday) – PJ Live Arts
- Ticketing : 017 – 2289 849 or via Tix My.
* “Men in Tutus” will play at various venues within Peninsular Malaysia from 2nd – 23rd June 2013. Show times vary at different venues.
For more information, visit this website.