Why Are Some Stages Raked?

A blessing for the audience, NOT for the dancers

A raked (or inclined) theatre stage is built on an angle that slopes upward and away from the front the stage, away from the audience. It improves the view, supports the illusion and help make choreographic designs clear. Raked stages are nowadays usually with a rake of 5 degrees or less. There are far more common today in Europe, with its deep theatrical traditions in the Middle ages. Almost all American stages have flat floors, except the Philadelphia Academy of Music and a few Broadway productions f.e. the version of the musical Billy Elliot.

Visiting professional dancers have been known to experience vertigo when they first set foot on raked stages. Balance is completely different. It takes a good deal of adjustment during the first few days on a raked stage, especially when turning. Even the risk of injury increases by three times for dancers on raked stages.

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