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lschang

How can child get a role in Nutcracker?

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lschang

My daughter is 5 and would like to be in the Nutcracker when she turns 7. Will she be able to try out for a role, or does the dance teacher just recommend children for particular roles in the Nutcracker? She has had a few behavioral issues in class, really more when she was 3. She has had fewer issues since then, but there are still some.

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dancemaven

It will depend on her studio or the hosting "Nutcracker" studio/company. Each school or company has their own requirements, needs, policies. Some are by 'audition only', some are by 'voluntary sign up', some are by class level, etc. It just depends.

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txballetmom

In our studio (small town Nutcracker), the student has to be in a certain level and the child won't be moved up into that level until she is behaviorally able to handle it.

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lschang

She had a couple of tantrums when she was 3 and 4, in dance class. Since then, she has been diagnosed with ADHD and has been taking medication for it. I hope as long as she continues to behave, they won't still remember her as a "problem student". Of course, if she does continue to exhibit problems (attention span, etc) there is probably no chance of her getting any roles in performances.

 

I also know that she loves dance class, but I am not sure if she only loves the social aspects of being there with the other kids, or if she truly loves dancing. I guess she is still too young for us to know.

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Noodles

At our small studio everyone who auditions gets a part (level appropriate) and the big roles go to the company members. All must audition though.

Ask your school, I am sure they will have answers for you.

I also can't imagine a teacher hanging on to temper tantrums by a child years ago...they see a lot every day and understand children!

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dinkalina

Keep in mind that some kids are not ready for roles in big productions like Nut until they are older than even 7. Some have super long practices on a tight schedule and need the children to be very focused. In our local Nut, the audition process takes place over two days and is open to all dance studios in the area. The minimum age is 8 to be able to audition and everyone usually gets a part. For ours, at this age, you only have three roles you could potentially get due to costuming and skill level. Try for these too young, and you could be in these roles a couple of years. There are also a lot of children this age so most of the time the roles are double and triple cast. There is a lot of sitting around backstage so they need to be able to sit quietly for at least an hour or more.

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MamatoMary

@lschang - I would contact the ballet company putting on the production and ask them what their specific requirements are and, if your child meets those requirements, you might be able to go ahead and get audition times if they have been set. Then, I would follow the company on Facebook or Twitter to make sure there aren't any last-minute changes. On an added note, our company allows all children to audition regardless of studio, and my DD (age 12) still loves getting together with some of the girls she only sees during Nut season.

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cammies

I think a lot of this depends on the school and the nature of the production. Here is the scoop on the professional Nutcracker production in our ballet school, a pre-pro school affiliated with a best-in-state professional company(but not "big 3" nationally or anything) in a mid-sized city. This is my perspective as a parent, talking to other parents. I have no school or company affiliation.

Students are eligible to audition at age 7, for a variety of roles(65+) for which there are two casts(130+ kids cast). the shorter kids(7-9yo usually) have small roles with about 1-2 minutes on stage, for the first year or two, with maybe a chance at a longer role(party kid) for a select few, but never the 7-8yos. The company/school team seems to look for ability to do the dance moves specifically as well as maturity, poise, and ability to focus. Teacher comments and evaluation do play a role--i.e., the teachers can provide opinions on how individual students do in class, etc, regarding focus, stamina, ability to take corrections and follow directions. With a full 2+ hour nutcracker with a professional company, the kids practice 1-4 hours on weekends(more for party kids) from October on (in addition to their regular dance classes) increasing to mid-week 2-3 hour rehearsals as shows get close. Each cast(of kids--totally separate from however company casts) does 6-7shows during the Nutcracker run, so they have to be very focused mature children who can also dance. About 220+ audition, for the 130+ roles, so there are a lot of kids who do not make it, and over time most kids experience getting cut if they continue at the school, which I think is important for growth and learning as a person.

The largest % cuts are the 7-9yos, so parents of younger kids go NUTS around nutcracker auditions at our school, trying to figure out in advance what will be asked of children at auditions, trying to figure out why so-and-so was cut last year, and someone else made it, and a lot of times it simply seems to be maturity. Honestly, a lot of the parent hype seems unnecessary, since to me it seems as though the best preparation is to teach your child(well before auditions) how to pay attention to instructions, sit still and quiet while waiting, and smile while dancing. So, I would suggest role-playing with your daughter and having her practice looking and watching and imitating basic things such as skipping or walking in a circle, then sitting still on the floor longer and longer periods of time, with the point being the focus practice, not the dance steps. Talk to the teacher about actual dance preparation, though regular class time should be plenty if she does well in class. Good luck!

Edited by cammies

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adam12

DDs school nutcracker is open to all students, even the very young (3yo in creative movement) and with all sorts of levels of behavior.

 

The young children are cast by age. Their parts are short - all the 3 year olds will come out together as little lambs or something and do a couple of plies and tail-shakes to thunderous applause.

 

The children love it. Temper tantrums (and even more exasperating behavior) don't seem to get in the way.

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lschang

Is it very competitive to get roles, even minor ones?

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dancemaven

It depends on where you are. Note all the different approaches by different schools, companies, etc. that everyone has already posted.

 

:wink:

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mom2dancinggirls12

As everyone else has said, it really depends on who is putting on the Nutcracker.

 

At ours, you have to be at least in level 2 (so at least 7-8ish) and from there you audition. In the younger years, a lot of your part assignment is based on which costumes you fit and I don't think this is uncommon if the hosting school owns its costumes. Ability and performance will go into the decision increasingly the older the kids get.

 

I don't think I would worry too much that they will hold tantrums as a preschooler against your child.

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pasdedeuxmama

lschang, do you have a specific Nutcracker production in mind? That would help us tailor our responses to your needs (though we can't assure you specifically - but perhaps the parents of older children participating in your Nutcracker could do that for you).

 

If it is a Company Nutcracker (like a big city company) there are usually limited roles for children and those are filled by children in the company school.

 

If it is a regional youth ballet Nutcracker, the competition usually is at the higher levels, as the dancers vie for soloist spots and advancement. Younger children are usually placed due to size, disposition.

 

If it is a school Nutcracker (your school where your child attends), they will almost always have their own rules about who can try out. At our school, we have a regional youth ballet that is closely tied to the school (though it allows anyone in the area to join). Any child in second grade (or age equivalent) and older will get a spot if they audition. The first two years, the kids have specific roles (Angels, then Mice) and part of the fun is seeing them scamper all over in their fun, completely chaotic way. They employ a special 'wrangler' (lol) for these little ones, who has the patience of Job, and helps them with their choreography. My DD was particularly talkative, which may have limited her advancement at that age, but as she's gotten older and calmed down, her teachers rely on her more.

 

My experience with kids like this (my sister and my daughter, both of whom had ADHD), is that the limelight of the stage is the perfect place for them. They LOVE it.

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