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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Performance after performance after performance


askaherm

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This year for my daughter has been extremely busy in regards to ballet and she is 17 in her final year of school. During the summer were rehearsals for their annual summer performance. During the mornings, leading up to the summer performance, were rehearsals for another show coming up soon. When that show is over, Nutcracker rehearsals start. Now there is talk about adding a 4th show for Nutcracker, as an evening show, 3 hours after a matinee performance. We have been with this school for several years and generally there is 2 shows a year. There is usually a month of "downtime" from rehearsing. Not this year. Is it wrong in my thinking that it may be a little much to add a 4th show on the same day as another one (there is only 1 cast)? Or is this a normal policy in any pre-pro school?

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Although it isn't ideal, it doesn't seem unreasonable to have a second show/evening show following a matinee. My daughter is 16 and goes to a large ballet school that is attached to a company. In years past, they have done two performances of story ballets that are approximately an hour long in one day. And a total of 4 Nutcracker performances seems like nothing since each cast of Nutcracker usually performs in about 22 shows between Thanksgiving-Christmas at my DD's school! They generally only perform in one Nutcracker a day unless their alternate is sick or doesn't show up though. I would look at the bright side in that she's getting quality performance time. Most of the Nutcracker roles at my DD's school are non-dancing roles, so the students spend countless hours rehearsing and performing, and most aren't even getting dance experience.

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That would be "normal" for us too! DD also goes to a pre-pro school that has a company attached and Nut season usually includes 14+ performances and it is common for the kids to have a matinee and an evening performance and then the next day a matinee and evening performance. Sometimes the kids are cast in different parts too. So after 4 performances as little girls, they might roll into 3 shows (matinee,evening and next day matinee) of angel. My DD last year at 13 was in a total of 13 performances. Class time is not used for rehearsals either. That starts very soon actually! lol And when she has performed the story ballets with the company that is usually a matinee and then an evening performance too. Guess we're just used to it!!! :) But DD loves it and is always greatful when she is asked to perform with the professional company....

ps. I should also add that during Nutcracker season there are no classes. This is usually about 2 weeks.

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By the time dancers are 16 and up, often younger, dancing two shows of Nutcracker a day is quite normal. In company schools where they have 20 some performances, even with multiple cast of children's roles, the upper level students are dancing in almost every show. That means two on Sat. and Sun., and sometimes other days if they do school shows in the a.m. Matinee and Evening shows are very common for most productions which are held on weekends, as well as for all professional companies.

 

In the local schools around here they often do 5 shows, with one on Fri. night, two Sat. and two Sun. These shows are not always double cast, especially in the main roles, and the dancers do every show. Two of the schools I teach for do this 3 times a year, with a Nutcracker or some other Christmas production, then a spring concert production of a full length ballet, and then the recital. In between they do SERBA. So, the company level teens are in rehearsal pretty much year round, or at least Sept. to May. And then they go away to an SI and have a performance at the end of that. :)

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Ms Leigh--sounds exactly like my DD at 14! :3dnod: She loves it though...and I figure it's better for her to realize now the time involved in a professional career!! lol Although in all seriousness, it has been and continues to be an excellent life lesson in following through with committments, time management, setting priorities,being on time and ready (stage calls,etc.....) and these are lessons that will be with her no matter where life takes her!!

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I guess it is a normal thing. The "concerned" mother comes out when I see my daughter icing every night and not getting to bed until late to keep up with homework after class and rehearsals. It is a small school with their company being student dancers ranging in ages from 15 to 20. They can have generally up to 5 roles in the Nutcracker per show. I wish it was bigger with 2 or more casts to spread the work. Might have to rethink...

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  • 2 weeks later...

My biggest concern as a parent would not be the number of performances, but how they handle the rehearsal time. The dancers LOVE the performance time and deserve it after all the hard work. The important thing is: are the technique and pointe classes being cut back to allow for the rehearsal of all the different performances? If these vital classes are cut back , at some point the dancer doesn't benefit from the extra performance experience. Also, the dancer isn't properly warmed up for the work of rehearsals. That is why they end up icing all night long. Tendonitis rears it's ugly head when the body isn't properly warmed up and then the dancer has to constantly start and stop in a rehearsal situation....or worse, stand around! In my humble opinion, performance experience is so important for these young artists, but not at the cost of the daily training. It's not the number of performances of any one show as much as the multiple programs requiring rehearsal time. If your school isn't providing both, it may be time to look for another school IF your dancer wants to dance professionally.

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In my DD's school class time is NEVER used for rehearsals or cut back to allow for rehearsal time. Rehearsals are always on Sundays or days where her group doesn't already have a class. Actually at the level she is this year, they have reahearsal time scheduled weekly for 2 hours after the regular classes on Saturday. This will be for anything that comes up during the year (ie : ballets with the professional company). Nut rehearsals are always on Sundays.

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Normal is such a fleeting target!

 

At DD's (12) pre-pro school, class time is not used for rehearsals. Most of the kids roles are double cast, a few are triple cast. Generally, kids learn only one part. There are about 30 performances, so most kids do 15. Sometimes they will do a matinee and an evening show, but then they will usually be off the next day. In the beginning I was all worried about the amount of dancing, but then I realized DD wasn't actually doing very much dancing, per se. Weeks of rehearsals for 5 minutes stage time. So during performances, while they were waiting for makeup they would sit and do homework in the dressing room. Good times.

 

We have been blessed with a break though. Our nut auditions haven't even happened yet, and rehearsal won't start until next weekend. It's hard to have back-to-back productions, so I feel for you and her there.

 

That said, the older kids (16-18ish) at our school cannot attend regular high schools because classes start so early in the day. They basically graduate early, do online school, or are homeschooled. I'm not sure if that fits anyone's definition of normal, but it's one way around the homework piece.

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