bbyblmrs

Principals Behavior what's normal

14 posts in this topic

My DD was recently privileged and honored to be a super for a ballet company production. There were a number of big names in the cast and all the children were excited to see their various hero's. Obviously it was made clear at the start, the rules regarding taking pictures and interaction with the main cast. The kids were well chaperoned so as not to be a nuisance. On the last day of the production the children were informed that they could meet in the foyer during the lunch time break to collect autographs. It was such a shame that the big names disappeared out of another entrance and it was mainly the corps who turned up to give autographs. Thankfully the production was magical and will provide a lifetime of memories it was just a disappointment that a few couldn't find time to come and say. This was my DD's first experience in a professional production and I wanted to know if this was normal behavior? It would have been nice for a few to have taken the time to say Hi.

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At my daughter's SI last year, there were quite a few principal dancers and soloists from the professional ballet company that taught some classes and they all graciously posed for pictures with the students at the end of classes

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I have no idea if that is normal behavior, but maybe what my daughter's teacher just told me might give you some insight. She said it was normal for her to lose 6 pounds during a single performance when she was dancing professionally because it is so strenuous and exhausting. I cannot even imagine doing something so demanding, and then going out to a crowd to smile and give autographs.

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Are you sure where that other door lead to? Could it be that the principals had photo ops with donors. Or that they had costume parts that were governed by another union worker's contract, therefore having to go turn in or be removed from that part of the costume so that this union worker could do their job and then be released on time: swords, wigs, specialty boots/shoes, etc. would fall under this category. There are a host of reasons this might have happened up to and including the fact that most principals were once corp members and had already done their time doing youth cast autographs. I know that is disappointing, but a few autographs can turn into two hours of autographs very easily.

 

Please don't assume that dancers themselves "didn't find time to come and say.....". They may have been contractually obligated to do something else.

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In my opinion ballet can be snobby. It usually isn't and doesn't have to be, but I have experienced that pattern. I usually just ignore it. Who knows what was going on here. .. Blessed is he that takes no offense. But it is very common for kids to believe that their idols have things to idolize beyond their dancing, and sometimes that not true. Just like the basketball player, or Olympiad. Good to learn.

 

And well, maybe interacting with the corps is a better opportunity.

 

It's classical art with a clear hierarchy. Best to learn that now. I am sure that in some places principals do not even really talk to corps or apprentice members with whom they work.

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Maybe things have changed, I don't know for sure, but in my experience as a dancer, the best principal dancers were also those who cared about others. Especially younger dancers. In other words, the good dancers were also really good people. And most all I had the privilege to work with were very good people. There are always a few exceptions to everything, and of course there are also often many very good reasons why the principals might not be immediately available to sign autographs and do selfies with the audience or the children involved in a given production on a given day.

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You said it was during a "lunchtime break." Could it be that those who had major roles to prepare for needed to eat? They could have had a limited amount of time to get food and/or rest for a possibly demanding role (either mentally or physically). There is also a possibility that they were not even asked to participate and the corps dancers were given the opportunity.

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Are dancers required to also act like celebrities? Maybe these dancers have families and wish to spend what little free time they have with them. I don't know. I don't see why it's wrong to decide to be a dancer just for the dancing. Some like my dd specifically dance because of how uncomfortable she is speaking to people.

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Well, some of them are celebrities, at least in the ballet world. Without their fans and supporters, they would not be. So yes, to some extent, and with contractual duty exceptions. That said, I do not, however, think that they should have to give up a lunch break on a working day to do that, if the time of the children's lunch break was the same as the dancers. Perhaps the corps did not have lunch break at the same time, but the principals did. I don't think this particular situation deserves criticism without knowing any of the reasons.

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Lunch breaks can be very short indeed when there's an evening performance. Get your costumes and makeup off, get something to eat (which may require heading out to find one yourself if there's no lunch catering), ice your injuries if necessary. Maybe the AD has called for you, especially if you're a principal, to get notes on the early performance or get to another rehearsal or maybe you want to run through, on your own, something that didn't go quite right. Then, before you know it, you're heading to warmup class and preparing for the evening rehearsal.

 

I was with my daughter a couple times between early and later performances during her dance career. It was a race to get everything done that was necessary before curtain opened in the evening. And then, if it was Saturday night, the performance didn't always end the day. There were often receptions afterwards where the dancers had to dress up to look their best while they mingled with the people important to the company's present and future existence.

 

Performance days are LONG ones! That said, most of the dancers I've ever known, famous or not, are very generous with their available time and will happily sign autographs because they have strong memories of their own hopeful days of waiting and they don't want to disappoint their fans. They just don't always have the time!

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Playing devil's advocate here but I can understand them disappearing. Even in my limited experience in dressing rooms and after performances, it can be a noisy and a highly energetic crowd! Not everyone is into the madness and maybe these dancers were tired and wanted a little peace and quiet. I was sharing a dressing room recently with a lot of kids for example and I wanted to run and hide it was so noisy and crazy as I am a highly senstive person to stimuli. And not everyone is able to interact well with children. I find it difficult and extremely hard work even when I am feeling confident in myself.

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My DD has done many Nutcrackers with a top ballet company. The principal dancers have always been extremely kind and gracious to the kids (except for one time one of them pushed some of the kids out of the way to get onstage). They take photos with them, sign pointe shoes- and these are very famous dancers. We found only had extremely positive experiences with them.

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Not all dancers are extroverts. Many I know are introverts, and find social interaction exhausting. While they care immensely about their supporters, it is just not possible after a performance, or during a break where they need quiet to recharge their batteries.

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Thank-you for all your very valid thoughts and input. It was a little frustrating at the time. Perhaps management should not have announced that this would happen in the first place. Overall the experience was incredible and truly amazing. It will be a memory that she will have for years to come. This was but a little blip!

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