To know what to bring to wear at rehearsals, you need to first understand a basic rehearsal schedule. Below is an example of my day at rehearsals for a new tour season:
- 8:00AM--Breakfast at hotel before walking over to the venue
- 9:00AM--Group warm-up and on-ice class session
- 10:00AM--Act I numbers
- 11:30AM--Lunch break
- 1:00PM--Continue Act I numbers
- 3:00PM--Run Act I
- 5:00PM--Independent practice ice
In the morning, after our warm-up and on-ice class, my limbs will be warm and loose. However, once we begin rehearsing a few numbers in Act I, if I'm not in the numbers being rehearsed, I will head off (skates stay on) to sit by the ice and wait for a number I am in to start rehearsing. Since it's rehearsals, one number might take quite a long time to clean up and get through--meaning, I might be sitting by the ice for a while, my limbs gradually getting tighter as I get colder. Additionally, my sweat from earlier skating (and having on icy skates for hours at a time) will quickly make me freeze up. Finally, it might be time for me to hop on the ice and join in on a number--but then I'm tight and freezing, so my movement is restricted. Thankfully, most of rehearsals at this stage don't involve major jumps, spins or pair maneuvers (since it's mostly to work on blocking, place new-to-show skaters in their spots, and understand the character/emotion/dialogue of each scene), but it can still be challenging to skate while cold and tight.
So! What do you bring to wear? I suggest bringing the following:
- EASY ON & OFF COLD WEATHER GEAR. You want to be able to quickly (under 5 seconds) throw your stuff on when you get cold, and throw it off when you're on the ice and starting to sweat. You do NOT (and can not!) want to hold up rehearsals to change your outfit.
- MITTENS. You do not need skating gloves. In fact, you won't want skating gloves! You want the warmest mittens you have.
- HALF-MITTENS. These are helpful when you start to sweat. It'll keep your hands warm, but also allow your fingers to breathe, as well as to move and be seen during numbers.
- SCARF. But NOT one that will itch your skin, or won't let your skin breathe when you start sweating.
- EAR-WARMERS. A hat might fall off during rehearsals, and you will sweat a lot wearing a thick, warm hat. An ear-warmer lets your sweat rise off your head, but still keeps you toasty.
- LEG-WARMERS. If you're hanging out by the ice but not skating, skating tights/pants alone are usually not warm enough. Leg warmers won't make you sweat too much, but will keep you warm.
- FLEECE BLANKET. They're compact and light enough to bring to the venue, and will keep your legs warm while you're sitting ice-side.
- MOISTURE-WICKING SKATING PANTS. I suggest Lululemon pants, SeKu skating pants, or Under Armor track pants. You should be wearing black or dark colored pants to rehearsals regardless. You want pants that will give you a clean line, keep you warm AND cool, absorb sweat, allow you to move, and will quickly dry off if wet from moves that require you to be on the ice.
- COLD WEATHER JACKET. Bring a jacket (such as a Northface, SuperDry or Columbia windbreaker) that you can skate in and will also keep you warm (not a ski jacket).
- CHANGE OF SKATE SOCKS/TIGHTS. If your feet become wet, you'll quickly get cold and you're also at risk for getting vicious blisters. Keep a dry pair of skating socks with you by the ice, so you can quickly change your socks if necessary.