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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Auditioning- Nutcracker Conflict

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Would it be wrong of my to tell me teacher I can't do the part I was given in the Nutcracker? (The audition went awful simply cause my pointe shoes caused so much pain the second I put them on, needless to say I have since switched and I could probably do a much better audition now, but too late). I really want to go to Manitoba and audition for RWB the 27th of November (a day in which if I continue I cannot have off to go and audition in a city 10-12 hours away lol). I'm not really thrilled with the part and know I won't do my best since my personality simply does not blend with the part and everything I have been taught in ballet simply goes against this role (in my opinion), I'd much rather be in the orchestra playing the violin for this one lol. There is another girl who has the same part that they accidentally added so she has to split the part with another girl so if I left she could just do the whole thing so I know it wouldn't be a huge problem but I don't want my teacher being mad at me since she teaches 2-3 of my classes and is the resident choreographer for the company. I guess I'm disappointed (mainly in myself for not getting new shoes BEFORE the audition) and I'm really wanting to audition for RWB (even though I know I won't get in).


Just searching for advice I guess. :unsure:

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Victoria Leigh

hk, first of all, there are no bad parts. (I edited the adjective out of your post. This IS the young dancers board.) Secondly, your teacher knows you and your capabilities. I seriously doubt that one bad pair of pointe shoes made the difference. She sees you several times a week, so one day is not going to make that kind of difference. Thirdly, you have to make a decision about which is more important to you right now. If the RWB audition is the priority, then you would decline Nutcracker for that reason, not because you don't like your part.

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Oh, sorry, I'm so tired, I didn't realize (I'm 18 so I could post in either). No sleep makes for mistakes for me! heh. Sorry about that.


Well, I had only taken class there 2 days before the audition as I switched schools for this fall (I was sick the first 2 days also so I only have a (bad) pointe class with her and that was it, I didn't bring up the shoe issue until recently cause I felt like an idiot). The auditions were the first week of classes, so she and the director really didn't *know* me or my dancing since the director didn't watch any of the classes and the casting people hadn't teached my classes yet, oh well one, but it was a huge class and she told me I could stay in that class (which is somewhat advanced and I'm only intermediate) so I know that went ok. Even the people at my old school expected me to get something better. Oh well. I have my personal opinion regarding parts. I don't want to do it but I think RWB is my main reason but if that weren't it the part itself would be. I guess I wouldn't want to do something I couldn't put my all into. Having been here in music and doing a piece I didn't want to do at all and couldn't feel in my heart it just didn't turn out as good as it could have. Is it understandable?


I think if they are aware of RWB then they know that the Chicago auditions are in January (which I probably couldn't go to since student company rehearsals start that week, ARGH!) and I don't really want to send a video cause it's my number 1 choice and I am in dire need of a relaxing couple days (I don't have a day off anymore, between work, school, and dance, I'm up at 7/7:30 everyday, doing work after 8 when I pick it up, going to dance at 3, usually not home until 7/8, sometimes have to do more work until 11/12 at night, I'm exhausted, and school work on Fri-Suns, and dance at 9 on Sats and rehearsals Sun, my school is about an hour drive) so the 2 days to enjoy good ol Canada would be nice, lol. Christmas and Thanksgiving stress me out even more so I don't consider those "vacations". Meh, I dunno. I'm just VERY shy and hate bringing up my problems and declining even the most horrible stuff (I don't like to discourage people or have anyone be disappointed in me so I rarely decline ANYTHING).

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Not to be negative, but driving to Winnipeg in November could be not as relaxing as you might think. Have you checked out what the weather conditions cqn be in that area at the time of year? A website that I just looked at for interest is www.wunderground.com. Last year at the same time you are planning to drive to Winnipeg they were at -11 degrees C. and had snow. I don't know how familiar you are with Canadian winters but storms can be sudden and severe. I am not sure of the highways to Winnipeg from the south but from the west they are not divided and can be easily slowed or blocked or even closed due to weather. Although a number of us are only about twleve hours by car from Winnipeg there are very few of us who drive unless we absolutely have to, particularly in the winter months (I only drove twice to Winnipeg in the summer months and have since watched for seat sales and saved my air miles).

As well you should be aware that the school is located in the downtown core of Winnnipeg and that students are not allowed at younger ages and certainly not encouraged when they are older to walk around by themselves. It is a city that you must always be careful in and make sure you are not broadcasting the fact that you are a ballerina.

If you want any further details please feel free to PM me.

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Oh snow is no big deal, I live in upstate NY for most of my life, I am pretty sure the winters out by Ontario and Northern NY (especially if you have ever been to the Potsdam area, brrrr) can be much worse (lake effect, heh) so I know what it's like. No biggie, we've gone out to Wendy's when there were sheets of white snow, yeah. Snow is relaxing (so long as I don't have to shovel!) I am not going alone, my boyfriend is going with me, or else I couldn't go (I hate driving on the interstate, let alone for 10-12 hours!). Lol, does the city got something against ballet dancers? And in terms of badness, ever been to NYC? I think Winnipeg actually has LESS crime than Omaha, NE, I'm not 100% sure but I am pretty sure I read it on some city comparsion site, dunoo, but Omaha has a lot more crime than people think and I drive downtown everyday by myself, and all the homeless people hang out near our parking lot, they don't really bother me, they just make me feel bad. :-/

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*Knock, knock**


The short answer: Probably, yes!


Personally, I believe strongly that it is important to honor commitments. IF and only IF, the RWB audition came up after the Nutcracker audition (but not before the cast list was posted) , would I consider it honorable for you to decline your part.


If the RWB audition was something you had been thinking about but decided to see first what part you got in Nutcracker, then I think you need to get your priorities straight. Parts in a ballet, theatre production, etc are all necessary for the production. As Ms. Leigh pointed out, there are no bad parts---just bad attitudes.


I realize this is a bit harsh sounding, but this "me and only me" attitude that I encounter in the younger generations is a BIG pet-peeve of mine. Now is the time to "suck it up, Soldier", examine your true motives, and make some hard choices.


If you choose to forgo the Nutcracker part, I wouldn't fault your teacher for being at least a little "miffed". It is only fair for her to assume going into the audition that you were serious about participating and unless you declined the part immediately (with appropriate abject apologies due to the previously unknown RWB conflict), then she had every right to presume she needed only to cast this production once.

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Just wanted to add that RWBS very rarely adds to its top levels in the school. The majority of those in levels 6 and 7 have been there for a few years. Those auditioning at 18 would be required to be of a advanced level of technique, as most of the girls in the aspirant program are 17/18 and graduates of the school or some other professional ballet school. Best bet would be to call and speak with the director of the program, let them know what your level of training is and see what they recommend!

I don't mean to discourage you, but better to know before the long drive north.


On the crime/safety issue. Winnipeg has really cleaned up since my DD's first summer there .... there were many sightings of homeless persons (who she wanted to feed/give $$ to) daily outside the security gate way back then. However the city spent a great deal of time and money cleaning up the streets and park areas for the Pan Am games in '99. DD moved into her own apt at 17 a short walk from the studio's...don't think her or her friends ever had a problem walking during the day or night..there are always police cars patrolling the area!!

I always felt very safe during our many visits...

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since my personality simply does not blend with the part

OK, how many parts truly blend with people's personalities? Giselle - gullible and arguably suicidal. Juliet - impulsive and definitely suicidal. A snowflake - NOT even human! If my dancer's personality "blended" with any of these parts, I'd have her out of dance and into therapy so fast, it'd make her head spin!

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Dancemaven's comments are excellent and I hope you will give them good consideration. You auditioned for Nuts and the assumption is that you will accept the part you are given. The time to decide you don't want to do it, is BEFORE you audition. I know you have been talking about going to the RWB audition for at least a month, so I'm guessing you knew the dates were a conflict before you auditioned.


If you choose to decline the part in Nuts, you need to be honest with yourself and also the AD about your reason. IN addition, I think you need to think very carefully about the repercussions of such a decision. You are new to this studio. They are just now formulating their view of you, your work ethic, your attitude, your ballet abilities, etc. Bowing out of Nuts will NOT be viewed in a positive light. It will most likely set the tone for your relationship with the studio.


As dbleon stated so well, getting into RWB is not guaranteed, in fact because it is so competitive, it is indeed a long shot. Think carefully about whether you want to burn bridges at your studio, for the possibility of going to RWB's summer program and then the further possibility of being accepted to the Aspirant program. Think down the line about how this action will affect your ballet training in the short term. Make sure you can live with the possible consequences of your actions. Be sure you have a backup plan in place, if you must leave this studio and/or if you are not accepted to RWB.


I think you have tossed around several ideas for next year, on this board. So, I hope you are considering what you might do if RWB doesn't pan out. If you are looking at college programs, now is the time to be planning auditions and researching the schools, even if you are just doing the non-degree programs. If you wait too long to put your alternate plans in place, you might end up without any viable options for next year.


Have you thought about sitting down locally with someone who knows your dance abilities and your personal situation and getting some guidance on what would be the best next step for you? It seems to me that you have so many different ideas and concerns and special circumstances, that your needs might be best served by someone in your new studio, who could address your needs on a personal level. Your situation is somewhat unique and try as we might to advice you well, I really think that you need to work directly with someone who can assist you one-on-one. I would really encourage you to seek out the guidance of a local mentor who can help you sort out all of your ideas and goals.

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I have to agree with the above posters. Weigh your options carefully...From what I gather, you are pretty new to ballet - just started over the summer, correct? A part in the Nutcracker is a GREAT opportunity to a dancer of any level. It's invaluable performance experience regardless of the part that you had your heart set on...


Which in itself is a standard lesson - everyone has to deal with wanting part A and actually getting part B...I remember a performance of Hansel and Gretel in which I was cast as a candy cane in second act...Oh the horrors of the white unitard with red stripes! :blushing: We have all been there, and had to grin and bear it. It's a part of the training as much as daily class is.


I strongly agree with what dbleon has stated about RWB and acceptance - be very sure that you are ready for this program before you sacrifice what may be a very good starting point with your local student company in Nutcracker. You don't want to come up empty-handed. Be very careful about which bridges you burn, as turning down a part that you have been selected for due to personal preference is highly frowned upon in this profession.


Balletbooster's idea of seeking out a mentor is a very good one. I would talk to a qualified person that you trust to give you an honest assessment of your goals, current level, and situation before you make any rash decisions.


Best wishes on figuring this out.

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I have to agree with the advice here. I've been dancing for a very long time (20+ years) I was in a small civic company in high school, danced through college, and am now *attempting* to get freelance jobs in NYC after returning to ballet after a 6 year hiatus.


It's a HARD HARD profession. Especially if you don't come from the "traditional" background in a professional school. You need to work very hard to prove yourself.


Getting cast in any production is a privilage. In my career, it's always been the most disappointing casting that has turned out to be the most fun stage experience. Character roles can be a tremendous boost to your performance capabilities. Acting and stage presence is so important, especially as you advance. It gives you the ability to stand out.


Also, having inappropriate shoes at an auditio IS a reflection on your abilities. It seems unfair, but preparedness is extremely important. It's part of the training.


You're lucky to have been given a role. I wish I was doing Nut. I went to a couple of auditions and got offered nothing. I know that I'll be crying every time I hear Waltz of the Flowers in a store when I'm Christmas shopping. I've more than paid my dues and I've worked for several years now to get myself to something resembling a professional level. And I've gotten nothing in return (in terms of performance opportunities). I'm not the only one. Again, it's a HARD professon.


I think you should make the most of it. It'll be a lot of fun and a great way to make friends at your new studio. You're lucky and you don't know it yet. Just my 2 cents.


BTW--What role is it? I'm curious.

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I guess I wouldn't want to do something I couldn't put my all into. Having been here in music and doing a piece I didn't want to do at all and couldn't feel in my heart it just didn't turn out as good as it could have. Is it understandable?



"OK, how many parts truly blend with people's personalities?"

Great point, chauffeur! As both a student and as an apprentice, my kid has danced many parts that she disliked in some way - the character, the choreography, the music, the costume, or a combination of any or all. As a sort-of professional, it didn't matter - she had to dance the part with absolutely no indication to anyone in the audience that she was feeling less than fulfilled!

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All the above advice is very sound, and you need to think very carefully ... :blushing: -Here's the perspective from the college level theatre department I run (so the training level you aspire to): students have to prioritise like this all the time, and we insist on ethical, professional behaviour. Getting them to realise and take responsibility for making such decisions over their priorities is part of their professional training. For example, one of our students, coming into his final year, had to choose between attending a casting workshop session and travelling abroad to a family wedding. We said he could choose one or the other, but that the casting session would not be changed, nor could we do a separate session just for him. He chose to stay for the casting session. And when you're in the profession - that is, actually paid for performing - well, my pro dancing sister hasn't had a Christmas Eve, Christmas night, or New Year's Eve without the Christmas ballet performances for years ...

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Knock knock:



You're in a tough spot but it seems to me you've already made your commitment to your studio's Nutcracker. My dd's studio (a school associated with a professional company) makes it VERY clear that if you audition and are cast you must honor your commitment and be available for all scheduled rehearsals and performances. Otherwise do not audition. They are very strict about rehearsals as well: all are mandatory unless very ill. No excuses for vacations or even school Christmas programs.


My dd has missed her school program 3 years in a row because she'd rather deal with a mad music teacher (and the subsequent A-) than an irate Ballet Master.


And I agree that there are no bad roles except maybe for the poor folks who have to sweep up the 'snow'. :blushing:

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