Surviving on tour

Jeanette Kakareka

You may have noticed from all my Instagram and blog posts, but I do a lot of both national and international touring here at English National Ballet. We have now begun the start of our 5 week regional tour throughout the UK, and with that on the brain, I thought I would give your some touring pointers for those of you who are new to it. It's hard to avoid touring if you're in the business, plus it can also be a lot of fun!

  Rehearsing Odalisques from Corsaire while on national tour during my first season at ENB.

Rehearsing Odalisques from Corsaire while on national tour during my first season at ENB.

1. Be smart about purchasing food. 

This is essential to not going over touring allowances... Or perhaps even saving some of it! If you can stay somewhere with a kitchen, cooking most of your meals is always best. The problem is, you don't always have that option if you're staying in a hotel. So this is when finding some cheap eats is important. Either look online or take a walk around to find some small sandwich shops or cafes with reasonable prices. Then buy your snacks (like yoghurt, nuts, etc) at the grocery store instead of when you're buying lunch. They always hike up the prices for those things at take away places. 

2. Pack some basic medicine and throat lozenges. 

After dancing in perhaps less than perfect conditions, going in and out of hot and cold, traveling for hours, etc, it is easy to find yourself a little under the weather. It can be a real pain having a sore throat and then having to choose between suffering through it or running to a pharmacy between shows. It's best to have a general pain killer, throat lozenges, and some sort of cold medicine or tea already at hand. I also suggest keeping vitamin C tablets around in addition to taking your every day vitamins and probiotics. 

  Part of my personal stock. 

Part of my personal stock. 

3. Peppermint tea. 

Most hotels at least have a kettle in the room! A little something to help you relax and wind down after a show is always welcome. Or, if you're like me, you get a little stressed or overwhelmed sometimes and peppermint tea can really help alleviate those feelings.

4. Bring a few clothes you can mix and match. 

You don't want to weigh down your suitcase with a different outfit for every day. You'll need that space for ballet stuff (or souvenirs if you're on an international tour). Plus, if you're traveling during the autumn/winter, no one will see what you're wearing underneath your coat anyway!

  I <3  ️ sweaters!

I <3️ sweaters!

5. Ice and physio. 

I am one of the first to get a little lazy about properly taking care of myself when I feel overwhelmed by shows. It's so obviously counter productive... And yet I find myself doing it! It's more important than ever to force yourself to do what your body needs to help it function at its peak. 

6. Wear warm clothes for cold stages and compression socks. 

I have been in quite a number of cold theatres, unfortunately. And until they sort out the problem, (or sometimes they don't...) you'll need something to warm up you up when you feel a bit chilled to the bones. Keep those knits and thermals handy! Additionally, compression socks for your shins are very popular here at ENB. They're good for preventing or lessening shin pain and I highly recommend finding yourself a pair or two of the shin sleeves. 

7. Something to occupy you. 

Music on your phone, a book at hand, or a downloaded movie is important for keeping you busy during plane or bus rides. Not all planes will allow you to watch movies for free, or worse, your headset plug won't work at all. I've forgotten to bring anything along before and being bored made it a loooooong journey!

8. An international adapter. 

They can be really expensive, but I found one on Amazon for a deal and it makes my life so much easier! Mine has two USB plug-ins as well as a spot for plugs. 

  Very handy and not too heavy.&nbsp;

Very handy and not too heavy. 

9. Remember to let things go. 

While it is obviously important to do whatever you can (within reason) to do your job better, you also have to leave stage door and live your life. When you leave, say whatever you need to say but also have different conversations then you might have at work. You will be more present while dancing, and also while with the ones you care most about, if you can learn to tell the difference. 

10. Positive people. 

Ok, you can't literally pack people, but hopefully you have a few true friends around and you know who they are. You can all form a support group for one another and help each other maintain an overall positive attitude even when the going gets tough!

  Playing tourist with my friends Guilherme (left) and Vitor Menezes while on tour in Madrid.&nbsp;

Playing tourist with my friends Guilherme (left) and Vitor Menezes while on tour in Madrid. 

... Happy touring!

  Universal Studios, Singapore.

Universal Studios, Singapore.