Last Friday I went to the “Deutsche Oper Berlin” to see Swan Lake with my girlfriend Lilian.
We saw a beautiful 1st act, where the amazing  prima ballerina Iana Salenko mesmerized the audience playing Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse.

But then something even stranger happened…

The 2nd act started and…
No music!
The orchestra went on strike: the musicians decided to stop playing.

That is what I call a Houston, we have a problem!– problem.
Imagine 2000 people are seeing you and something like that happens?

It reminded me that sometimes (if not always) when we are on stage, unexpected things happen. I have experienced a few.
People arrive late and interrupt, the mic doesn’t work (always check it beforehand), even once a dog got into the room in the middle of a speech.

When we are on stage, unpredictable things can happen!

But, no music? In a ballet?

2000 people were counting on the dancers to deliver.
The show had to go on!
All we could hear was… silence.
I was confused and getting nervous. Imagine the dancers.

Then the prima ballerina went to the middle of the stage, with confidence, smiled at us and with pure passion, started to dance.
Immediately the piano started to play.
The other dancers started to follow her lead.
They played the rest of the show, just with the piano.
What a great solution!

Guess what?
We loved her! We loved them!
I even forgot that there was no orchestra.
At the end, the dancers received a 15-minute standing ovation as a thank you for such an extraordinary performance.

This situation got me thinking about what my friend and mentor John Zimmer once told me:

things can and will go wrong on stage,
It is our responsibility to remain calm, find solutions and improvise,
It is always about the audience!

Next time when something unexpected happens, let’s make the best of that “bad” situation.

Think about the dancers of the Berlin State Ballet and that amazing prima ballerina:

Keep calm

Keep going… the show must go on!


  1. This somehow happened to me too, Sebastian!

    It was just a couple of months ago. I was by the shore of the gorgeous lake Titikaka in Copacabana, Bolivia, leading a group of 40 people through a session of Dance of Light (inspired in Rolando Toro’s Biodanza).

    With specific pieces of music, we started walking alone, then with somebody else, little by little integrating the whole group. The final activity had to be accompanied with Mercedes Sosa’s song “Cambia, todo cambia.” And again, silence… The battery of the electronic device was exhausted.

    At first, I felt bewildered. “If I start singing this song, they will run away!”, I thought, my voice being far less than beautiful (and I just remembered part of the lyrics). Since I couldn’t do anything else, I started to singing anyway.

    To my great surprise, not only the participants didn’t run away but they also started to sing with me! And even to sing what I was not able to. At the end, there was such a joy that everybody shared hugs, kisses, and laugh.


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