February 2, 2016

33 Things That Make Touring Performers Very, Very Happy

 travel day in Holiday On Ice - luggage watch

I came across this post from June 2014 on Community on Buzzfeed that someone had shared in the HOI group on Facebook.

Still with me?

It was written by Gabrielle Mirabella, who apparently toured with Mama Mia in 2014.  I'm glad she used the word "performers" in her title, so this skater can glom on to her hard work of making lists.  I bet any of you lucky enough to go "on tour" would agree her list.

It's listed below in blue (minus pictures) and here is the original article on Buzzfeed.  I've added my own comments underneath in red italics.  My experiences go back 20 - 30 years ago, primarily touring Europe, but I'm throwing in a park or dinner show in the US and Japan too.

Guess what?  Some things never change (like #28 MAIL)!

1. Hotel rooms with kitchens  - we found one by surprise in our hotel in Zürich and were stoked!  We immediately made a list of all the "dinners" we were going to have that week.
2. Experiencing famous regional fast-food chains for the first time 
3. When really important people come to see your show 
4. Swing seats on the bus  - I think the Capades skaters may have started this, but I remember seeing skaters try to sleep in the overhead compartments on the bus.  Cramped for sure, but all the length you needed to stretch out.
5. Hotel massage-bar soap 
6. Hotel rooms with a view  - personally, I was always excited for a room with a nice breakfast!
7. Being a tourist - as a newbie to Holiday On Ice touring Europe, this was one of the main reasons for joining.  Hello - Paris for two months!
8. Hanging with the band  - how many skaters out there ever traveled with a band? *crickets* We had a drummer in HOI and in our dinner show in Japan.  As I recall, they didn't hang out with the skaters much, oh well.
9. Having a rental car for the week 
10. Skype sessions with loved ones  - obviously there was not Skype, no internet and long-distance calls were neither easy or cheap, but if you discovered the rare broken phone (both times in France) that felt like winning the lottery.  Free international calls!
11. Family members seeing your show…then taking you out to dinner  - having family travel to Europe or Japan to see you skate meant at least a week or two of free dinners!
12. When a fellow performer gets a new piece of clothing 
13. Avant-garde gas station decor 
14. New flavor additions to the coffee box 
15. Staying long enough in a city to actually use the closet  - see #7 above, we sublet a Parisian apt for two months and lived like locals (well, we tried anyway)
16. Finding a couch to nap on during 2-show days 
17. Hipster coffee shops  - there was one in Dubuque, Iowa that was the best. I think I held up the bus for a couple of minutes.  Worth it though.  Changed my entire opinion of Iowa.
18. Finding someone else on tour just as invested in your favorite TV show as you are  - there was a dancer in Atami, Japan whose mother taped EVERY episode of Days of Our Lives and mailed the videos over each month, she never missed a day's worth in six months
19. Golden Days 
20. Seeing other shows - the nice thing about seeing other shows when you're in a show, is you usually don't have to pay for the ticket, the worst thing is when other skaters come to see you skate - oooooh the pressure!
 21. Adding new states to your list 
22. When someone lets you stop and play with their dogs on the street 
23. Press days 
24. Homemade baked goods 
25. Signing autographs for young performers 
26. Weird gas station cuisine 
27. Playing “haunted” theaters  - I don't think this ever happened in the giant venues we skated in in HOI, but when rehearsing in Vegas, the guy that worked at the rink swore it was haunted - something about the mafia stashing bodies there in the thirties, hmmmm?
28. Mail! - especially before the days of internet and Skype, mail was the ONLY way to hear from family and friends, I was even excited when others got mail
29. Seeing your friend’s name on a wall tag 
30. Playing beautiful venues  - with Nutcracker On Ice, I got to skate in such landmark theaters as the Atlanta Fox Theatre and the Louisville PalaceThey were gorgeous theaters, built in '29 and '28 respectively, and I hope we didn't ruin the stage by putting a sheet of ice down.
31. Spotting your show on a new marquee  - or billboards in the metro will suffice
32. A travel buddy you can rest comfortably with  - in HOI, the better get was having a strong guy (adagio partner?) help you carry your suitcase up the stairs in the train stations (no elevators or escalators yet)
33. Playing a show in your hometown - unfortunately, this never happened for me, but I know others were so excited for this, it meant a huge crowd could come to see you skate
Thanks Gabrielle for your list!
 So, does anyone out there have any they'd like to add?


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