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Boys & the Nutcracker


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I know there is a Nut thread going on at another board, but I think this is more of a boy thing so I'll post it here. It's probably trivial, but it's kind of bugging me, and I'm hoping someone may have advice.


My son is level 1 at a company school, and their Nut auditions are for level 2 and up. But, the office told me that since he is a boy there is a good chance he may be asked to participate (apparently last year they had a party-boy shortage). He is dying to be in their Nut, but I told him not to count on it. Plus, it's around 20 performances and a bit of a drive for us, so I won't be real sorry if he isn't invited to participate this year. Still, he has his fingers crossed and keeps asking me if I know anything yet (we won't know for a few more weeks if they will need him or not).


There are a few small, local companies having their Nut auditions these next couple of weeks, and I would love to have him participate. Plus, there's a chance he could do something a little more interesting (such as play Fritz) than just a party boy. The couple of places I've called for audition details have all been excited to hear that a dancing boy might audition (apparently they usually just use the dancers little brothers).


I'm not sure what the audition etiquette is about turning down a role. That is, if he auditions for a local production, I'm pretty sure he'll get a part (since they've all told me they need boys). But, if we learn in a couple of weeks that he'll have a chance to participate in the big company Nut, is it okay to turn down the local company? It doesn't seem like I can say "well, he can't commit to your Nutcracker for a few more weeks-- we're still waiting to hear if he has a part in the other Nutcracker." On the other hand, I don't want him to pass up his opportunity to be in a Nutcracker at all this season because we're just sitting around waiting for an opportunity that may not even happen. He does love Nut-- being a party-boy in a local production is what turned him on to ballet in the first place last year.


Also, regarding audition do's-and-don'ts, Is it okay for him to audition for a few different Nuts and then pick the offer he likes the best?


See why I'm posting this on the parents of boys board? Re-reading this post it sounds really lousy that I'm complaining that I can't figure out which Nut to do while I read other posts where they're just hoping their daughter gets a part at all. Being the parent of a boy dancer has it's own set of challenges.

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Top Posters In This Topic

  • taoofpooh


  • Gracey


  • dancemomCA


  • dancetaxi


Not the parent of a boy but -- the general advice on this board in the past has been NOT to audition for multiple Nutcrackers.


I know that some places will not permit students to audition again for their productions if they turn down a part.


Since your son will with all likelihood perform in his school production in future years, why not have him do a small, local production this year? It sounds like he would enjoy it, and you could enjoy having him in fewer than 20 performances.


You might also consider asking his teacher what he/she would recommend. The teacher may have a sense of what the chances are of his being included in the company production.

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In my opinion...whatever audition you do, plan to accept and make a commitment that you can keep. Period. Sorry to be blunt, but that's the right thing to do for numerous reasons that include not wasting the auditioner's time.

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I totally agree with werlkj and fendrock as far as picking just one of the Nutcrackers.


My son does the company Nutcracker and this year, his youth ballet Nutcracker, but the youth ballet and his school are associated with the company he does the other Nutcracker with, so there won't be conflicting schedules.

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Generally, one doesn't attend an audition unless one wants to participate in that production, and if offered a role, will accept it except in extenuating circumstances.


However, the situation changes when jobs and paychecks are on the line. If that were the case, then a dancer auditions for as many companies as they can. But the understanding is there on the part of both parties.


There are times when I will suggest that a dancer take an audition for experience only. This is generally only given when the auditioneer has already given his or her ok to the idea that 'student A' will only be taking part as a chance to experience the audition process.


So, in order to be fair to each production, you would have to be quite clear that your son is auditioning for multiple productions, and will take the best offer. While it may not endear you to any of the companies, at least you would be honest and thus would be leaving the ball in their court. If they chose to cast your son, they would at least be doing so with that understanding and could plan accordingly. This could also mean that they may choose not to cast your son at all.

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I work for a regional ballet company who has an annual Nutcracker. The policy at the company is that dancers do not audition unless they intend to honor the committment if they are accepted. During the audition we communicate very clearly with the parents as to the committment level with regards to rehearsals, fittings and performances. However, every year, after the audition results are sent out - we get a few children who back out for various reasons (they don't like the part they received, they didn't read the schedule carefully, they thought they wanted to but they would rather do something else... ) To be blunt - those children will be sent to the bottom of the list the following year when they re-audition.


Boys are a valuable commodity and most ballet companies - big or small - will be thrilled when you walk through the door. If I were you - I would have your son audition for the role he intends to dance. As the dance community is very small - and even smaller for boys - it won't help you or your son if you have the reputation of "shopping around" for the best offer at such a young age. It doesn't look good and it isn't appreciated by the artistic staff. Don't for a minute think that they will forget what you have done if your son is cast and then you drop that role for a more exciting one that crops up later.


Again, sorry to be blunt - but the ballet community is what it is - don't burn your bridges by playing one against the other. Your son is young and will have many opportunities ahead of him to dance his dream role.

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I think it would be easier to pick rolls to audition for if you son was older. My son is 12 and has been a partry boy, fritz, and a varation on different years for different Nuts. This year he is skipping Nuts due to time commitments, but if he were to audition he would definitely turn down lesser rolls, especially locally.

You could try out and if a party boy is the role offered, just say thanks he has been there and done that and he is looking for something a bit more (again easier the older the child is), but you have to tell them right away.


Your big Nut, you said something like 20 performances, I can see delaying that, especially if he will be playing the same role year after year.


As for boys and Nuts in general, I found my son got A LOT more flak for missing a rehersal, than girls. I don't know why. Last year the director was really quite a pain, the whole family couldn't stand her the end; and then after the last show she was gushing over his dancing. We certainly weren't going back this year after her earlier behavior.

Edited by dancetaxi2
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I can almost guarantee you son will be offered a role. Be careful and choose your production carefully. I would choose the most professional production around, your son will get better training and exposure to better dancers. Do not worry about travel, carpools can be arranged you learn who lives in your area.


Best of luck to all auditionees!



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I read a few apologies for being blunt-- no apologies are neccessary. I appreciate straight answers. :wub: As I've said before, I am new to the dancing world and am just trying to figure out how all this works. I'm trying hard to give my son the best possible opportunities available to him right now, but not step on any toes or offend anyone in the process!


I'm still not sure what we'll end up doing, but I've read and re-read the replies (and PMs). There's a lot of conflicting advice, but I will sort through it all and make a desision soon. I definately do agree that part of his dancer training is to learn how to honor commitments. Thanks so much for taking the time to help a dancing newbie!

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Hi...I rememeber we spoke once before you auditioned to join this academy. They cast 2 groups. There is Cast A & Cast B. You would only have to do 1/2 the performances. Hope this helps. :)

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We decided not to audition for any of the local Nuts. I figure we'll have many years of it ahead of us, and so we should take advantage of one last non-hurried holiday season. But, if the academy does have a boy shortage again this year and asks him to participate I expect we'll say yes.

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:grinning: Hi slhogan - you won't regret your decision - there are many years ahead of your DS to participate in Nuts - it is an enormous committment which creates havoc in December...I know some parents thoroughly enjoy the madness, I wasn't one of them. Now I just show up for Nut performances and spend some money on a hotel, tickets, after-show dinner, etc...but at least my sanity is intact! :yes:
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My DS is at a Ballet School across the country. His name was put on a list to be considered for Misha(their Fritz). He did Fritz last year with our Ballet Company. I had been under the impression that first years would be excused from Nutcracker and be allowed to go home for Christmas. Unfortunately the list went up before contact with parents and now my son wants to have a chance to be Misha!! I want him home for Christmas. It is my feeling that if dancing is going to be his thing then he will be in Nutcracker from now until the end of his dancing career!!! I know that Misha/Fritz is a big thing but I want my baby boy home!!


He is very upset because he says "this is a once in a lifetime opportunity" Performances are from December 9 until the 30th!! Normally he would break on December 15th.


Dancetaxi, are you there??? I wish I had enough posts to PM!!!

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Taoofpooh - Don't despair too quickly. There are usually 4 or 5 casts for Nutcracker here and you can ask if they can allow your son to be off for a few days over christmas. Playing Misha is a wonderful opportunity especially in the new opera house and the next year or two max will be the only time he has to play it in his life.


I suggest you phone to get more clarification regarding the schedule because they do try to get res students home for xmas.


Just a quick additional note - they do not perform Nutcracker on Dec 24th, 25th or 26th

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I suggest you phone to get more clarification regarding the schedule because they do try to get res students home for xmas.


Just a quick additional note - they do not perform Nutcracker on Dec 24th, 25th or 26th



Thank you Gracey!! I will get on the phone with Deb on Monday.






As the parent volunteer coordinator of last years Nutz at our Provincial Ballet company I would have to agree with the posters.


Being in a professional production is an honour and an incredible experience regardless of the role given. Please remember that our boys are going to be given more opportunities because of their relative scarcity, Clara's are a dime a dozen, a real boy Fritz isn't always a given and neither are real boy Party Boys. Choose the production carefully and then dive in and be a part of it.

Our production the Children's cast is managed by a parent team and every parent is needed, for make up and costumes rooms, supervising waiting children at rehearsals, supervising children in the dressing rooms and many more jobs.


My DD is too tall for the role this year and my son is at another school, no Nutz for us this year!! I am kinda glad as one of the performances is a Matinee on December 24th!!

Edited by taoofpooh
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