With gritty images of Black Swan dancing in our heads, there’s an expectation that warfare among dancers is a given. When they’re looking to outshine competitors during auditions, or manipulate their way to a lead, dancers can’t expect rapport when the stage is set with so much rivalry—or can they? “My experience was that there is a strong community, people become friends, even at auditions, and are very supportive of one another,” says Beverly Durand, of the time she spent performing in Forever Tango and Swing! “A competitive nature is natural when many people are trying to get the same job, but I never saw rudeness.
“I remember lots of laughter, in and out of the theatre,” says Durand. “There was a great camaraderie amongst the cast. I have great memories of opening nights, dancing in The Macy’s Parade and the Tony Awards. There are a million little, wonderful stories.”
What about all the backstabbing, hair pulling and catty dramatics—there must have been some? Wasn’t there a diva or two in the dressing room? “We had four girls in our dressing room,” Durand recalls. But the mockery was limited to the content of their conversations. “I’m deaf in my left ear and the dancer who sat on my left side was deaf. The other two dressing roommates were in hysterics half the time because we were constantly misunderstanding each other. Apparently the back and forth was quite ridiculous,” she says.
No one undercut Durand’s confidence; in fact, she says she left Broadway with a stronger belief in her abilities. “While doing a show, I felt a strong connection to the Broadway community. I couldn’t help but feel very proud of what I was doing, and I’ll admit, it was a lovely feeling to have people asking for autographs outside of the stage door after the show.”