the Ballet
the Performance

The Set

Now the dancers are almost ready to perform. Are they going to perform on a blank stage? Of course not. There must be sets and lights so that the audience can see the dancers and so that it looks like they are in the setting they are supposed to be in.

If a ballet has been performed before, like Swan Lake, sets will have been designed for the ballet by the original designer. However, quite often new sets are designed to fit a new adaptation of the choreography, or to fit in a certain theatre, or because of financial constraints. The set designer will first draw his or her concept of how the stage will look and present it to the director, choreographer, producer, and anyone else who needs to know. If they like the designer's idea he or she will build a model of the set to use as a guide when building the real, full-size version. Believe it or not, both Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso have worked as set designers.

Work will then begin on the set itself. Building a set requires a large team of skilled painters, carpenters, and other craftsmen. Hanging backdrops will be painted to look like the insides of houses, or lakes, or whatever is needed for the ballet. Buildings and props will be built and painted, and sometimes a special coloured or patterned dance floor will be laid down to help complete the image.

Lights are required to see the dancers on the stage. With the help of the director, the lighting designer will decide where all of the lights in the theatre should hang, what they should point at, what colour they should be, (regular white light is rarely used in a theatre, it is usually a mix of colours to create a certain mood), and when they should be on. He or she will then start hanging the lights in the theatre; usually there are some people helping the designer hang lights because there may be hundreds of lights to hang. Finally, the stage is ready for the dancers, but what are they going to wear?

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