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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Nutcracker - the Positive Lessons Learned


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  • Momof3darlings


  • mom1


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  • calamitous


DD has learned to balance (juggle) her academic and social life with the demands of ballet 6 days a week - plus rehearsal, now that Nut season is upon us. No mean feat, especially this, her junior year of high school (guess who choreographed the class dance?). She has also learned to accept with grace not getting a coveted role AND the special grace of getting that role when a best friend did not. I am ever so proud of how she handled it.


This year she will have something else to learn, positive, I hope - dealing with having her mother dancing in Party Scene. She's a bit chagrined but has been

supportive. They DO grow up (sigh).

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Just this week my daughter learned that sometimes parts that seemed disappointing may not be at all.

This year she is a big mouse (the rat pack) and she hates the costume (trivial, yes, but this still is an important issues for her). However when they started rehearsing she discovered the dance is really fun AND they get to be funny. Plus she said the guest teacher is soooo funny he just makes them laugh.

Some of the main parts are yet to be doled out so she may get some of the second act parts, but she now thinks that the rat-pack may be a lot better than anticipated.


After a low and hard start to the year life in class dance seems to be the best part of the day.

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You're so right calamitous. My 13 year old LOVES being a Rat! The year she made Senior apprentice in her company she was not chosen as a rat (it was primarily a Junior part), she went up and asked the director if she might add her in as a rat if someone had to drop. Something about the comedic role is freeing.



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  • 2 weeks later...

This marks our 8th Nut. Last year was a thrill...getting Clara much earlier than expected. What has she learned?


-Ballet moms can be as mean as cheerleader moms....and all adults are not honest and helpful. A hard lesson we all have to learn eventually.


- How to manage your time wisely.....this morning she is competing at a Math/Science meet and will get picked up in time to drive to rehersals for the rest of the day.


- As exctied as she is for her first corp part (snowflake), remember the baby angels are just as excited about their part. She helps play games with them backstage to keep them quiet.


-how to sew her own shoes!!! Thank you so much Ms Leigh for that piece of advise!!! She's the only one in her entire studio who does all of this for herself and it really has given her a lot of confidence in a weird way.


I'm hoarding all my magazines and getting ready for the long night rehersals coming up at the theatre.....I LOVE IT!

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  • 3 weeks later...

As another mom said on the 'boys' forum, MERDE to all you Nutcracker participants. Here's hoping we all have dandy season.


Dd has 19 performances starting Friday. I saw the rehearsal tonight for the first time and the dancers looked so polished and ready. This is such a great thing to see kids dance and behave so professionally.

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My daughter learned that even though you worked hard this summer and are placed a level above your age group, you still are cast with your age group. Also, if you are a daughter of one of the ballet teachers you are more likely to get the Clara role even though there are others more suited. I guess she learned life is not fair and you have to learn to live with it.

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This year DD learned that understudies that work hard and diligently can earn performance time, that casted dancers that don't work hard and diligently can lose performance time and/ or parts, and that the cast list isn't set in stone at anytime.

She's having a wonderful time!

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I think DD has learned, and as is learning, to not tie up all her emotions in casting. As your DKs all experience, some years casting is more favorable than others. This year DD has really seen that its rarely perfect for anyone, and that casting is much more complicated than just "s/he who earns the role, gets the role."


DDs school has quite a lot of talented kids this year, and there are just not enough opportunities for everyone to dance what they can, or even what they maybe should. Initially, when the casting list went up, she was very disappointed. But then she observed that there were other kids who had the right to be disappointed as well, and none of it had to do with what's fair or not. It just is what it is this year.


When she got the big picture of the casting dilema's this year, she just shook off the disappointment and is now having as much fun as ever.


A couple of years ago, a very petite dancer at our school got very few dancing opportunitities because she was just too short for corp parts, too advanced for the little girl parts. She was really in a bad stage. This year she has the most favorable casting of anyone, with many lead roles.


As well, a graduate of our school has been chasing a contract for the last couple of years, all the while, dancing as a guest dancer where he can. He finally got the contract, (hooray for him) and his casting for Nutcracker is so disappointing, it's almost like a joke. He came to visit during the weekend our casting was posted, and he sort of told everyone with a wry smile, just get used to what the real world is like.


This season, I think DD really sees the big picture of thinking more long term as well as realizing she can't hang her hat on the hopes of any one role.

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That things that do not go one's way do not determine the outcome of your life. It is the things you do with adversity that determine your life's path.


That the honor is just in being cast not what your name in on the cast list under.


That you should cherish every moment of Nutcracker and every part you've been given! While the chances are slim to dance professionally, the chances are even slimmer that if you do, you'll be worried about Sugar Plum or Clara again.


That putting on a production is a group effort and no mouse too small or no rat too large. Wanna know what DD is disappointed in this year? That she doesn't get to be an animal that comes alive after the Party scene the same night she's Sugar so her friends can see her do both. 5 years ago, she would have been upset at being cast an animal, this year she asked to be one. I call that a positive dancing experience at it's best!



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While the chances are slim to dance professionally, the chances are even slimmer that if you do, you'll be worried about Sugar Plum or Clara again.


Thats certainly worth saying again. :shrug:

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My DD has learned that the boys in the school's dance ensemble have worked (and are worked) really hard and have made huge steps forwards. The oldest of the 5 boys is just 15, the youngest 12, and at the start of the school year it seemed that they would need to guest in many men. But the boys have gotten stronger (and a little bigger/taller) and so it looks like they will just need to bring in one man for the cavelier part.


DD is so proud of the boys, all of whom are in her class level, and all their hard work. Through this she has learned that although the boys ALWAYS get multiple parts and are in every show, this can be just as difficult and certainly more tiring than not getting the ONE part you were really hoping for.


Merde to all the parents of DS and their DS's, who are not doubt working double time this season.

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  • 1 year later...

Patience. My Dd has learned patience. Short term patience as in sitting through rehearsals but also long term patience as in small role one year to solo the next.


She has learned how to treat other dancers, especially little ones. As one of the "big girls" she always remembers how it felt to be a mouse. She remembers which "big girls" were nice to the mice and which were scary prima donnas. She aspires to be a good role model.


She has made her closest friends through the "Nut" and they have declared that it just wouldn't be the holidays without it.


My husband would like to reinforce Major Mel's idea that there are alternatives to the Nut. It's not that he doesn't love to watch but he would like to learn another ballet :yes:


Happy Nut to all!

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Thank you intheaudience for bumping this thread up in such a timely fashion and with such a lovely re-entry! I hope lots of others will add to it.

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My DD this year has learned that hard work gets noticed. Casting for Nut was posted right after they finished the fall performance and she was surpirised and elated with her roles. She was cast as a 4th Arabian when they typically only have 3. She is much younger than the other girls cast and is so excited to learn the role, even if it means she may not get to perform it often this year. The co-ADs felt she had worked very hard in in preparation for the fall permance and during and it would be good for her to work on more advanced roles.

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