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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pre-casting....


EmilyPdancer

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I know i'm not 17, but I'm a senior..and most seniors are 17, so i thought i would post this question here..if thats alright...

 

So we have started learning basic choreography for Nutcracker...like Snow...and all of the seniors (including me) are trying *really* hard because we would like solo parts our senior year....the artistic director told all of u sthat we are just learning choreography..that he's not choosing parts yet...but then he goes and tells a junior that she is either going to be Dew Drop (solo) or Sugar Plum! I was furious when i found this out..and so were the other seniors...is it right that they sould pre-cast? we've only been in school about two full weeks, and they're already assigning lead roles (without any audition)? is that right? it doesent seem fair at all..and im really half tempted to say something to the director, but I dont want to jepordize me chances of getting a good role...I always give 110 percent in classes and rehersals..and this girl has missed atleast 4 classes...i just dont get it....

 

so, basically..i'm really frustrated..and confused...and discouraged...

 

any thoughts?

 

much love,

emily

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Emily, there is absolutely nothing you can do about this kind of thing, so it is useless and a waste of energy to get upset about it. First of all, you really don't know if it's true or not. Secondly, even if it is, these things do go on in the ballet world, and every other world. It doesn't make it right, but there are some things that exist that no one is going to change. Thirdly, being a senior does not guarantee anyone the right to a better role if they are not technically or artistically suited for it, and that decision is a totally subjective one, which all casting directors make. There are those very special talents who will have roles no matter what their age or anything else.

 

Your job is to do your best, stay positive so that you show a good attitude in classes and rehearsals (no one wants to work with a negative or depressed or angry dancer), enjoy the fact that you are in a good school and dancing a lot every day, and don't waste your energy being upset by casting decisions or anything else over which you have no conrol.

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Oh Emily don't be discouraged! :ninja:

 

From the sounds of your post, if the information you have received is true then that is only one solo that has been pre-cast. You sound determined so hopefully you will get one of the others!

 

It has happened to me before, that a part has been given to a younger dancer without audition, but I knew the younger dancer and knew that she deserved a chance to have a go, because we all need chances to go beyond what we normally do. It is frustrating, but pick yourself up and carry on at 110% regardless: then you know you have been given you part on pure technique rather than potential.

 

Like Ms Leigh says "stay positive"! :P

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A bit of advice from a former student at the school you attend---

Welcome to life at school!! Unfortunately, this is not the only time you are going to be disappointed this year in regards to casting. While the director may say that nothing is for sure yet, the faculty DOES have a tentative idea of who is going to do what. There are not going to be any official auditions. Your audition is in classes beginning Day 1. Eventually a list will go up that invites a group of people to come learn a part. Not all of them will necessarily perform it, but they all will get the chance to learn it and work on it. Also, seniority matters very little in regards to casting. They are simply looking for the dancer that fits the part the best. For example, last year one of the snow queens was a freshman.

 

On a more positive note, there are some things you can do to influence casting a little. When the faculty says they have an open rehearsal policy, they mean it. If you are not on the list for let's say Snow Pas, you can still go and learn it. I'm not going to promise that the AD will cast you as snow queen, but obviously you will get the experience of learning it, show him that you really care and want to be there, and at least know the choreography so if something happens, you could jump on. Let me give you an example: Last year my friend and I were on the tentative cast list as understudies for mirlitons. We really wanted to perform it one night, so we worked really really hard on that part. We got up some mornings and rehearsed at 4:30 am, we stayed after rehearsal to work on it, and we watched the video to make sure we learned the correct choreography. As time went on, the faculty forgot we were the understudies and we became the 2nd cast and got to perform it one night! I'm not saying that you have to get up at ridiculous hours of the morning, but I am saying that the only way you are even going to get a chance to perform something is to show them that you can do it just as well as the people who were originally cast for the part.

 

If you end up being cast in snow corps, don't be discouraged. I think that the corps roles are the hardest. Plus, that is what you are going to be dancing for the next few years anyway. You may as well get experience doing it now!

 

Finally, I know it's hard, but remember what you came for. Most likely, you came for the training, and as hard as it is not to let casting affect your attitude, don't let it. Class is class and no matter if you are Plum or a soldier, you are going to learn something new each day, and that is what is going to stay with you next year and in years to come. In ten years, you are likely to forget what you were in Nutcracker, and more likely to remember that little secret you learned in class that fixed your pirouettes.

 

So, just try to stay positive, don't let it affect you, and keep working hard!

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Knock, knock...not a dancer, but a mom of a dancer.

 

Banana Feet, your response was spot on. We are waiting on pins and needles at our house for the Nutcracker casting list as we speak - with many rumors swirling about as to who has been "pre-cast". I do feel like we are wasting way too much energy speculating on the possibilities. I will pass your advice along to my own daughter. It will be useful both before and after the list goes up.

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Banana Feet, that is SUCH a thoughtful and helpful post! Thank you for taking the time to do that, and I am sure that it will help the dancers everywhere, whether they are new to a school or not! :rolleyes::wink:

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