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Beezus21

shameless favoritism or is this how it works?

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buzzandmoo

Sorry :blush: I meant no slur to AD's in countless studios. My comments about show business really refer to the situation of children used in a professional company (our situation). There is some overlap in our situation in that the Ballet Master for the professional company is also a teacher but the ballet master has been VERY clear with the parents and students (fair) in letting them know this has nothing to do with school or performance in the studio. In a very real sense it is a job, not a student production.

 

My apologies for any confusion. Every situation is unique and they all have challenges. For us, viewing performance opportunities as as a grown up activity have helped immensely in teaching my DD some very important lessons about growing up.

 

I respectfully disagree on one sticky issue, by being in the "education of dancers" business, you are in fact educating performers, some of whom hope to receive a paycheck someday.

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gcwhitewater

I did not take offense to comments made earlier, and there was no confusion, I just wanted to give a different perspective.

 

I continue to believe I am not in show business. At least what most of society considers show business. While I agree I am educating performers, the performers I train must have a technical ability which is specific to the art of ballet in order to be paid by a Ballet Company. This may simply be a matter of perception and semantics I suspect.

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lemlemish

I would venture to say that in the schools which are attached to companies, the casting of Nut is much, much less about the education of the dancers, and more about having cute kids which allow the company itself to shine.

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daisychain

This year DD10 received a coveted role for her age group (not Clara, but a doll -- so exciting for her :clapping: ) -- but last year two other girls got to understudy the dolls and she felt left out. We've had other small disappointments along the way, as well as some happy surprises. Sometimes I've been disappointed myself (for example, the year that she was not cast in the spring show at all even though most of her other classmates were), but I think in the long run it is healthy for her to learn to handle these kinds of disappointments. It's a life lesson! And we as parents have an opportunity to teach them how to deal with their feelings. It's tough.

 

An appearance of favoritism can cause some very bitter feelings. But I think I should emphasize the word "appearance." Unless one has a conversation with the AD and hears firsthand the reasoning behind the casting decisions, any attempt to guess at motivations are just that -- guesses. As a parent, I have no real ability to judge the true talent of the student dancers; like many other dance moms, I have no dance training myself. I trust the AD to be able to see things I cannot. There is a reason that they are the experts and I am not. I may not be happy with their decisions, but I accept them. If I cannot do that, I will know it is time to look elsewhere.

 

Beezus21, it seems to me that if the two girls chosen this year are the top two girls in their level, that their talent probably earned them their roles. I'm not sure it is fair to them to speculate that another motivation came into play. If they earned it, they deserve it. Wouldn't it have been more unfair for a less talented dancer to be given the role? It's disappointing to those who don't get the starring roles, but I'm not sure that one can make a case that it is unfair.

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dancingjet

daisychain, well said!

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julisha

I agree with Lemlemish. Our very large school is affiliated with a company and with several hundred kids auditioning for the Nutcracker, it would be next to impossible for the AD to know and understand the educational needs of these young dancers.

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trythis

Even in a small to medium sized group it has to be impossible to cast a large production. I think sometimes mistakes are made, and directors may realize it but once the casting list is out, what can be done? You can't take a part away from another child.

 

I have two dancing daughters, one is more on the pleased side of her casting, the other is relatively dissappointed. Neither got what they really wanted.

 

I have been repeating to parents around my studio for the past several days "there is no character development to come from always getting the part you want." And it is SO true. I am never more proud of my girls than I am when they have to handle these casting dissappointments. They are both so resilient and kind. And when they have their successes they keep their celebrations low key so as to not hurt anyone else's feelings.

 

Two examples of exactly this happend this week. One girl in her carpool of other girls screamed with excitment about her role, though she was in a car full of others who had less excitement about the roles they got. And another dancer (who by the way got several very nice parts that my daughter would love to dance), walked in the next day and quit because she didn't get a big enough lead.

 

Casting never really feels fair. I think we need to just to be prepared for that.

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ToThePointe

Casting only ever seems fair to the person who got the role they wanted.

 

When my son was little, I signed him up for baseball one year. There was a fee associated with this. All the kids got to play, but not everyone got to be pitcher, shortstop, etc. It seems to me parents are more acceptable of this in sports because they want the team to win.

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Mousling

"And another dancer (who by the way got several very nice parts that my daughter would love to dance), walked in the next day and quit because she didn't get a big enough lead."

 

This happens. Everyone wants to be be fairy princess queen of the world and if they can't, they take their crown and go home. It impresses no one. I am always impressed by the student that could have done more, but took the opportunity to take the role given and be the best toy soldier (or whatever) ever. That impresses plenty of people who matter in the big scheme... but more importantly, makes a better human, as well as a dancer.

 

Not saying favoritism doesn't happen, but most ADs do not care who is dancing the part as long as whomever they cast is a good fit.

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trythis

Its very hard not to be bitter and think "my daughter would dance those parts gladly, what nerve they have to demanding more." But its dangerous to get into that kind of judgement.

 

My only issue is when this happens it throws a wrench in the process. The cast list was complete, it was up, and now four roles need to be filled with dancers who are already placed in other things.

 

So now rehearsals are again on hold while this is figured out, and we are in the theater in 7 weeks.

Edited by trythis

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Mousling

My advice is please never ask for a role in a professional production. It isn't done and not all ADs respond well to that. In a teaching studio or student company production it might be ok, but I can't speak to that.

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Cuckoomamma

I love so much about our school, but we just had our own version of what appears as favoritsm. One of the students who received the same part as last year (a duet) was disappointed to be cast in the same part again this year, in addition to a part where this dancer shared the lead (2 roles and both lovely parts). As a result, the AD removed the other dancer in the shared lead part and now only this disappointed dancer will lead it, along with dancing the original duet.

 

My dd was cast the same as she was last year, minus one role. The AD said that she was attempting to even out the roles, and that no one would have as many roles as they had last year. Neither dd nor I complained. It irks me immensely that the disappointed dancer was catered to, and that another dancer lost a role because of the complaining. It feels very wrong.

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Victoria Leigh

It is very wrong. And complaining is never a good idea in a school production any more than it is in a professional one.

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MamatoMary

I realize this is an older thread and mostly about Nutcracker but it's also relevant to other productions ...

 

We just started rehearsals for our spring production and DD was thrilled that, for once, she would get to be in a small "spotlight" type moment when a couple of the favorites complained and

 

You can't take a part away from another child.

 

this happened. I realize that casting can change in choreography, and that in a student production the decision is ultimately in the hands of the teacher, but how do you console an 11-year-old who had her part taken away?

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gcwhitewater

While I do not have all of the particulars of your situation I would not think an inquiry to the director is out of line. This is very different from complaining about casting. This is in inquiry as to the reason for the change in casting. I am curious though...did your daughters casting change or just the suspected complainers? I would only speak to the director if your daughters casting was affected. I know you said her part was taken away but just want a clarification on that.

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