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HomeDanceThe Scoop on Backup Dancing: 4 Dancers Dish on Tour Life

The Scoop on Backup Dancing: 4 Dancers Dish on Tour Life

Touring with a significant recording artist is on the high of most business dancers’ bucket lists. What might be extra thrilling than getting paid to bop, journey the world and work with mega-talented movie star musicians? It appears to be like glamorous, however most dancers don’t truly know what the job actually entails till they’ve booked it. Is it as nice because it appears? Is it the appropriate match for you? Dance Journal received the within scoop from 4 touring execs.

Sosa getting glittered by JoJo Siwa. Photograph by Ok.C. Siwa, courtesy Sosa.


TOURS: JoJo Siwa’s D.R.E.A.M., Season 16 of “So You Assume You Can Dance”

GETTING THE GIG: Ezra Sosa met Siwa on “Dancing with the Stars” in fall 2021, when he was a professional and she or he was a star contestant. Siwa quickly requested him to affix her tour. “She instructed me that I didn’t have to audition, however I instructed her I wished to earn it. I’m a giant, tall ballroom dancer; what I’m recognized for is completely different from what JoJo does,” he says. Not lengthy after the callback, Sosa heard the excellent news. “I walked previous JoJo on the best way to my ‘DWTS’ trailer, and she or he stated, ‘Did you get an electronic mail out of your agent but? You bought the job if you would like it!’ ”

THE DAY-TO-DAY: Like most performers on tour, Sosa usually wakened in a unique metropolis than he fell asleep in. “I used to be all the time so disoriented—by no means understanding what day or time it was,” he says. As soon as Sosa put his issues in his dressing room, he would instantly go to Siwa’s dressing room to hang around and make foolish TikToks earlier than getting his hair and make-up finished. Every present was themed, and JoJo would do her male dancers’ hair (herself!) to coordinate. “If it was a Candyland theme, then she would put glitter and sprinkles in our hair,” he says. “She is so proficient!” By 2 pm, the performers hit the stage for tech. “JoJo was our dance captain, so she knew everybody’s observe,” he says. “She had a videographer movie the present each night time, then she would watch it again and have notes for us. She is answerable for each side of her present.” After lunch and Siwa’s meet-and-greet, the artists would eat dinner after which carry out. A postshow bathe was important: “Getting all that make-up off would take like an hour!” he says. Then it was again on the bus to move for the following metropolis.

SELF-CARE: “JoJo’s present is the toughest present I’ve ever finished,” Sosa says. “There have been 24 numbers, and she or he had us in 19 of them.” Although he relied on his Hypervolt massager and ibuprofen, he needs he had taken the time to heat up and funky down extra deliberately. “I’m paying for it now with weekly chiropractic appointments,” he says.

Sosa’s Prime Tour Suggestions

GIVE IT TIME: “Richy Jackson’s choreography appears to be like wonderful onstage, however it’s difficult to select up. The primary 10 to 12 reveals I used to be fairly harassed—continuously enthusiastic about the choreography and formation modifications. Ultimately, I received to a spot the place I felt nice.”

MANAGE SOCIAL MEDIA: “There have been days when folks on social media would say I seemed like a clown, and it actually affected me. JoJo helped me cope with the hate. She taught me that what different folks say has nothing to do with me, and every part to do with them. She instructed me to be unapologetically myself.”

Jeremy Hudson. Photograph by David Odom, Courtesy Hudson.


TOURS: Pink, Woman Gaga, Kylie Minogue

GETTING THE GIG: When Pink wanted to exchange a dancer on her Lovely Trauma tour in 2018, her choreographers Nick Florez and RJ Durell pitched Jeremy Hudson, whom they’d labored with on a venture for Katy Perry. “Pink noticed my reel and had me reply a couple of questions, and I received the job,” Hudson says.

THE DAY-TO-DAY: A typical day started with downtime in his resort room earlier than­ heading to the venue round 2:30 pm to work by way of routines with the dance captain. “With the repetition of touring, you start to lose some high quality,” Hudson says. “We might all the time contact up particulars.” Then Pink would be a part of the solid for a rig verify—the opening quantity integrated bungees, which wanted to be secured earlier than the primary efficiency at every new venue—and sound verify, adopted by group yoga and a meal. “We had a catering firm touring with us who labored with everybody’s dietary restrictions,” Hudson says. Subsequent the performers had roughly 90 minutes to prepare. “Then we’d have a bunch prayer with Pink and her youngsters in her dressing room,” he says.

SELF-CARE: Touring is extremely taxing, so Hudson works with artists who assist wellness. “I began touring with Pink after I was 30 years previous as a result of she helps her village,” he says. “She is aware of what it takes to get by way of these reveals and this schedule, and makes positive we’re all seen and brought care of.” Hudson travels with nutritional vitamins to spice up his immunity. “I’ve by no means had an understudy on tour,” he says. “There is no such thing as a time to be sick, and if one particular person will get sick, everybody will get sick.” He does Sugarfoot Remedy and frequently will get bodily remedy and therapeutic massage supplied by the tour. “You will get lonely on tour, so I FaceTime household and buddies, and work with my therapist,” he says. “I additionally actually take pleasure in breathwork and meditation.”

Hudson’s Prime Tour Suggestions

GEAR UP: “Certainly one of Burton Snowboards’ luggage splits into two items, so you possibly can simply distribute your issues with out stressing about being obese on the airport.

ENJOY THE ADVENTURE: “It’s a very enjoyable life. Connecting with so many various kinds of folks world wide is completely thrilling!”

Findlay McConnell backstage on McRae’s tour. Courtesy McConnell.


TOUR: Tate McRae

GETTING THE GIG: Findlay McConnell and McRae have been greatest buddies since assembly on the competitors circuit as youngsters, so when McRae was on the lookout for tour dancers, McConnell was a no brainer. “She FaceTimed me and requested me how busy my college schedule was,” says McConnell, who’s a pupil on the USC Glorya Kaufman College of Dance. “She stated, ‘How would you’re feeling about happening tour with me?’ ” McConnell responded with a resolute “I’d completely like to!”

BONUS: USC Kaufman is giving him tutorial credit for residing his dream.

THE DAY-TO-DAY: McConnell spends most of his sleeping hours on the tour bus, then eats breakfast on the venue earlier than settling into his dressing room. He’ll loosen up, heat up and stretch earlier than heading to sound verify, then do his hair and make-up earlier than donning his costume. Put up-performance, he showers on the venue earlier than getting again on the bus. Throughout downtime, he’ll watch Netflix, FaceTime household and buddies, play card video games or make TikToks with fellow performers.

SELF-CARE: “You don’t need to run the danger of getting sick since you weren’t taking good care of your self,” says McConnell, who takes benefit of days off to loosen up. “Some days we simply chill in our resort room all day as a result of it’s what we’d like,” he says. “Different days we really feel like exploring and purchasing. In the future, all of us rented electrical scooters and went to Entire Meals and ate lunch outdoors, and it was so good to get some contemporary air and hang around,” he says. He additionally makes positive to gas his physique earlier than a efficiency.

McConnell’s Prime Tour Suggestions

GET READY: Rehearsals for McRae’s tour had been solely a few week lengthy. Choreographer Michelle Dawley supplied footage of the choreography a month forward, so by the point the dancers got here collectively they already knew the motion.

IT’S A MARATHON: McConnell says approach lessons, cross-training and intensive rehearsals ready him for the stamina touring requires.

Shirlene Quigley. Photograph by Jayme Thornton.


TOURS: Lizzo, Rihanna, Beyoncé

GETTING THE GIG: Shirlene Quigley’s most up-to-date tour was with Lizzo, as one in every of her well-known “Massive Grrrls.” She was launched to the “Juice” singer at an audition for a dance phase with Lizzo on “The Ellen DeGeneres Present.” “I noticed that she was a giant lady and thought, Okay, she is gonna like me,” Quigley says. “I walked into the audition and she or he commented on how a lot she liked my outfit.” Quigley booked the “Ellen” job, then joined Lizzo at Coachella. The following factor she knew, choreographer Jemel McWilliams requested her to affix Lizzo on tour. “I’m 38 years previous, and that is the primary time I really feel actually comfy in my pores and skin,” she says. “I waited 20 years to have a job that made me really feel so assured, and I’m so grateful for it.”

THE DAY-TO-DAY: Most mornings begin with waking up within the tour bus in a brand new metropolis. “Sleeping on a tour bus is comfortable to me,” she says. “Rihanna as soon as requested me if I used to be mad at her as a result of I used to be spending a lot time in my bunk. I stated, ‘No! I simply find it irresistible right here!’” Quigley heads into the resort, the place Lizzo’s administration gives a room for her to bathe and do laundry earlier than heading to the venue for sound verify and staging. “Then we do hair and make-up and eat,” she says. “There’s all the time catering, which I like.” In the event that they’re not staying the night time, after a postshow bathe, she packs and heads again to the tour bus for one more lengthy drive. “I like touring the world, consuming new meals, assembly new folks and having new experiences. After 20 years within the business, touring remains to be my favourite job.”

SELF-CARE: Quigley depends on her private religion to bolster her emotional well being on tour. “My morning devotionals are so essential to me,” she says. Quigley goes to the health club to construct her stamina, and she or he makes some extent to eat wholesome. “I don’t do medication, I don’t eat pink meat, and I like fruit and veggies,” she says. “That mixture has been super-helpful for my bodily well being.”

Quigley’s Prime Tour Suggestions

KEEP IT FRESH: To make the choreography really feel new night time after night time, Quigley recommends creating tales out of the lyrics you’re dancing to and having enjoyable with it. For instance, when she dances to the tune “Juice,” she imagines herself squeezing oranges down in Florida and working on the seaside.

SPEAK UP: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions so as to keep away from errors.”

Haley Hilton is a dancer and author based mostly in New York Metropolis.



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