This will be my first reply to a topic request. Thank you to everybody for their requests and hopefully I can get to everybody soon. This one comes from one of our fans in Canada:
What type of preparations do you make on the day of a performance?
Our preparation for a competition really starts the day before. Like I posted in an earlier blog, I really like to avoid practicing the full week before a competition. I do want people rested, but at the same time, don’t want people to forget the routine. To prevent this, we always schedule a walkthrough of the routine the day before a performance. This refreshes the routine for everybody and lets us work out any last minute details.
There usually is a mixer/pre-party the day before the competition as well. This is a great place to meet new people, have a good time, and just relax. However, we do have some pretty strict rules regarding pre-parties. There is absolutely no drinking, and we do have a time that everybody has to sleep by. Now some of you might say, wait, you do this for fun right? Why the strict rules? To answer that, yes we do, but we have found that we have more fun when we perform well. That is our number one goal and the rules help ensure that we achieve that goal.
I have never understood why people would practice for 3 months for a competition and then jeopardize that by drinking too much the night before or staying up all night.
The next day really depends on when our rehearsal time is. If our rehearsal time is early in the morning, then we obviously have to wake up early. If it is a little later, we have the luxury of sleeping in. Either way, we make sure to get up early enough to have breakfast. Performance days are extremely busy so it is important to eat and keep yourself hydrated when you can. Last year, we had a lot of props in our routine (thanks to Jigish Patel) that needed to be setup and built.
A few members of the team have to wake up extra early and ensure that these props are ready to go by the time our rehearsal begins. Rehearsal is EXTREMELY important. I have always said: the key to a good performance is a good rehearsal. It allows us to familiarize ourself with the stage and work on spacing. Before rehearsal, we make sure that each person knows what they are doing regarding stage setup. These responsibilities are assigned during practices so that each person is comfortable and knows exactly what he/she is doing. Once on stage, we take our time setting everything up and get in position to begin. On average, we have 15 minutes for rehearsal. We have 2 cameras video taping, one from the first row of the balcony, and one from side stage. This helps us cover all angles. During rehearsal, we go 100% and put the same energy we would put for the actual performance. After one run-through, we will identify the problem areas and make adjustments accordingly. If there is still time leftover, we will then do another run-through (either the first half or second half depending on which we need to work on). Once rehearsal is complete, we head back to the hotel/dressing room to eat, rest a bit, and start getting ready.
Once back at the hotel, the first thing we do is watch our rehearsal video. This helps us identify any mistakes or formation issues easily. We do this as a team and make sure each person is aware of what adjustments need to be made. We usually will have somebody get food for the whole team so we can watch the video and eat at the same time. After that, we start getting ready. The process of getting ready will take at least 2-3 hours. Guys take a long time because they have to get their pags (turbans) tied and girls take a long time because, well, they are girls. The mix of the performance will be playing in the background on repeat allowing people to mentally visualize what they have to do.
Once the team is ready to go, we will do all our stunts with full outfits to ensure everything is secure. At this point it is just a waiting game. We will make sure to start stretching out about 30-45 minutes before we perform. It is important to get the blood flowing a little so that you can give it your all. Right before we are called side stage to perform, we will huddle up. I will say a few words to get people focused and lead an Empire cheer to pump people up. If we have practiced hard, had a good tech time, and stay focused, there is nothing to be nervous about. All we have to do is go out there and do what we have practiced for the past 2 months. The one thing I tell everybody is make sure you take advantage of every second out there. The 7-8 minutes will go by extremely fast and the performance will be over before you know it. And that covers what we do on the day of a competition. Hope it gave you a little insight into the team.