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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How Many Nutcracker Ballets


Crispino Ramos

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There must be so many Nutcracker ballet performances in every major city in this country during the Holiday Season. Here in Phoenix alone, there are at least 3 ballet troupes that will present it for at least 3 days each and 2 schedules daily. I just hope that the current economic slump won't damp the attendance on these events.

 

However brief a role you're assigned, it's the team work that makes this multitude of cast to present a solid and flowing show. How do you deal with it if you're not the Prince or Clara (for a woman)?

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Depending on version, chances are very good that if you're not Clara or the Prince, you don't have time to think about "dealing". You are already dancing much more than they do.

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I'm in my 40th year of "Nutz". Dealing with it requires patience, IMHO, patience mostly with oneself.

 

My resume for "nutcracker roles performed" states, "You name it, I danced it". Now I've stage Nutcracker multiple times as well. This year I'm in a friends school production, plus staging a "Suite version" for another friend's school, (not for free, I can assure you! :)

 

I had a lot harder time "dealing" with Nutz as a professional dancer: you -have- to be there and there are usually many performances. Now, it's mostly weekend rehearsals and one or two days of production week. You cant get mad at kids age 12 and below when they forget choreography, staging or don't know how to act - they're just kids. Same with teens. The vast majority aren't going to be dancers anyway, and you put on the best show with the resources you have. If someone wishes to choose mistakes made as a reflection upon you, the school and staff, well, they are always there and everyone is a critic. Criticism is something we have to take in stride. Ultimately, most people there for their kids to see the magic and to enjoy the holidays.

 

Professional productions are more under the gun of funders, the underwriters and the community it serves; they want a clean a dn good prduction. Many chose not to use children oor community members just to ensure that this happens. But, if the community is largely involved with the company, Nutz better include children from the school and maybe even some non-dancer adults in the first act, hmm. For most, Nutz is about raising capital and increasing the budget for the following year, as well as exposing the company and ballet to those who otherwise would not come to see it. So, ya do what needs to be done to keep 'em coming in the door. Criticism is taken a bit more seriously, but reviews happen and you can't do much about the bad ones except work harder. The company isn't there to please the critics; it's there to please the community.

 

Coping with all this is knowing that it is the holiday season and as a dancer or dance professional, Nutcracker is now part of

-your- Christmas or Channukah, ( or whatever ritual holiday or not you participate in), and it is with this that you celebrate the holidays. If you don't, Nutz can be real drudgery.

 

-P

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I'm in my 40th year of "Nutz". Dealing with it requires patience, IMHO, patience mostly with oneself.

 

My resume for "nutcracker roles performed" states, "You name it, I danced it". Now I've stage Nutcracker multiple times as well. This year I'm in a friends school production, plus staging a "Suite version" for another friend's school, (not for free, I can assure you! :wink:

 

I had a lot harder time "dealing" with Nutz as a professional dancer: you -have- to be there and there are usually many performances. Now, it's mostly weekend rehearsals and one or two days of production week. You cant get mad at kids age 12 and below when they forget choreography, staging or don't know how to act - they're just kids. Same with teens. The vast majority aren't going to be dancers anyway, and you put on the best show with the resources you have. If someone wishes to choose mistakes made as a reflection upon you, the school and staff, well, they are always there and everyone is a critic. Criticism is something we have to take in stride. Ultimately, most people there for their kids to see the magic and to enjoy the holidays.

 

Professional productions are more under the gun of funders, the underwriters and the community it serves; they want a clean a dn good prduction. Many chose not to use children oor community members just to ensure that this happens. But, if the community is largely involved with the company, Nutz better include children from the school and maybe even some non-dancer adults in the first act, hmm. For most, Nutz is about raising capital and increasing the budget for the following year, as well as exposing the company and ballet to those who otherwise would not come to see it. So, ya do what needs to be done to keep 'em coming in the door. Criticism is taken a bit more seriously, but reviews happen and you can't do much about the bad ones except work harder. The company isn't there to please the critics; it's there to please the community.

 

Coping with all this is knowing that it is the holiday season and as a dancer or dance professional, Nutcracker is now part of

-your- Christmas or Channukah, ( or whatever ritual holiday or not you participate in), and it is with this that you celebrate the holidays. If you don't, Nutz can be real drudgery.

 

-P

 

Philip, Thank you for the in-depth perspective about 'dealing' with Nutz rehearsals, producers, performances, dancers and audience. I admire your wholesome experience and truly appreciate the valuable response. En reverance. Crispino

Edited by Crispino Ramos
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