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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Parent volunteer woes


hannahbeth

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Volunteering is mandatory at our studio- 25 hours a year (this year, I think it went up to 30). Otherwise, pay $250 ($10 per hour) or a combination of both (some volunteer hours, some $). If you don't, your child/dancer will no longer be in "good standing" and cannot join the company the next year.

 

I guess since how much a parent volunteers somewhat affects what roles a dancer gets (although I don't agree with this at all), most parents are more than willing (although maybe begrudingly) to volunteer when they can, lest their child be banished to being scenery for the rest of their ballet career.

 

There are several volunteer coordinators- one for (theater) volunteers, one for costume moms, one for publicity, etc. Those coordinators attend the regular meetings and then assign or delegate to the other moms. It seems to work well- we haven't had any complaints.

 

There are a couple of dads who helped out big time with our Nutcracker this year (this being our first Nut year)- particularly building scenery and the props. One dad, whose wife is the costume mistress, helped cut fabric while he waited for his daughter. One male dancer (late 20s) sewed hooks and eyes onto costumes (which is more than some of the girl dancers did!).

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It felt like we needed a lot of people to manage the boys, and yet we didn't manage them any better with more people rather than less.  They were just a handful.  The parents agreed that next year the children need a lesson on how Victorian children behave and then be expected to stay in character on and off the stage for the duration...

 

NYCB thought that they'd do this, too, but had to come up with compromises. One of the bits in their Nutz is that the children and adults actually speak to one another onstage - low enough to be covered by the orchestra. They seem to be having real conversations because they are. Fritz offers to one Party Boy: "Where have you been?" The Party Boy (one Nicholas Fokine, yes THAT Fokine) answers: "I just got off the crosstown bus!"

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Yes, they do. We do the NYCB one too and onstage, in the music after the father daughter dance, when the grandchildren arrive, to help them remember, they all whisper "hi, there, da da da da da da" and during the father-daughter dance the party boys learn by saying "and send them back...to their dads" and when they all come on at first, as Marie passes out the "candy" to the 4 party scene girls around her chair, they talk.

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