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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Same role in Nutcracker - three years in a row...


John'sMom

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OK, this is from a mom of a son who has been studying three years, now in his fourth. He has been in the Nutcracker, this is his third year and in the same role. I know, he doesn't care. But why? There was at least one other costume that he could have fit into. When he auditioned, the director said "Good job, I can see that you have improved." So, he has made progress, and is really enjoying his classes. But why the third year in the same role (as a party boy)? I know that parents of girls would scoff, as so many never ever get to be in the party scene. Please indulge me here. I guess if he were Fritz and this is his third year, that would be different. Is the AD trying to tell us something? Many of the boys get to switch around, why never my son?

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I know the feeling. My son and one of his friends are also in their third year in the same role. Other party positions get to transform into mice just not the shortest boy in each cast. (Our studio triple casts Nutcracker due to the large number of performances.) If my son is not progressing as a dancer please meet with me. He keeps moving up in class levels so why not in Nutcracker? I feel like there is a disconnect somewhere.

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I totally understand where you are coming from, Ladies! My son spent 3 years as the same mouse, before finally "graduating" to soldier and a few various other things.

 

As a mother, I understand. As a ballet teacher and a Nutcracker rehearsal assistant, I have a different perspective, and here it is:

Professional dancers will do the same roles pretty much year-after-year, and in other countries, may be even prohibited from dancing other kinds of roles due to a strict system of what types of dancers can do what types of roles. I know in the company I work for, the same 4-5 dancers have done the same roles for many years, so in one respect, we are preparing future dancers for that possibility. One of the things that becomes important as well is for the children to learn how to bring something better and different each time they do the same role. There should be some growth happening.

 

Another aspect is that it simply makes sense to re-cast as many dancers as is possible, given relatively short rehearsal time spans. That too will happen in almost any large company and large school.

 

Boys also tend to develop later than girls, so they may actually fit into the costuming the best! My son's name is still in his mouse costume!!!!!!

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This is my son's 2nd year in the same role, mouse king and party parent (he is too tall to be a party boy). There are many reasons why they choose to cast the Nutcracker this way and his size is a big factor. He is focusing on dong well in the role he is under studing. The training at the school is excelent and he is improving every year, so it is still a good place for him. I feel the furstration, it would be nice to see DS dance a different role.

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  • 1 month later...

The "Party Scene" is such a great part! Unfortunately, it seems like "Party Boy" is the only role available for boy dancers, and they do it for as long as they are little enough to look the part. Then there is the no-man's-land of the early teen years where they are too big for "Party Scene," and too little to do any serious partnering in "Waltz of the Flowers" or get a solo part like "Chinese." I'm guessing your director probably wants an actual little boy in the role, rather than a girl. Your son he must be a good actor, and such an asset as a dancer who already knows the role. Look on the bright side, at least he's on stage for longer than three minutes. Hope he has a great time!

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Most of our boys are Party Boys/Fritz/Beau every year. The only other boy roles are Nutcracker Prince, Russian (1), Soldier Doll (1), Harlequin (1), and the guest artist spots for both pas. It's nice that other companies have other roles for the boys. This is our 3rd year and my DS is Fritz - which is great. However, it will be several years before he can do anything else. We watched another company's Nutcracker last night and the boys were Party Boys (with some girls as Party Boys), toy soldiers, pages, and Harlequins. He was sad to see their Fritz was a girl. :ermm:

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Our boys can be party boys, Fritz, mice, soldiers, or gingers. We are at an academy of a professional company that fills other male roles. While I wish there were more roles for my son to move in to, it is wonderful for him to get to rehearse and perform with the Company. He benefits from so many wonderful professional role models.

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I echo chel's post. We are entering our 8th Nutcracker season and our DS has the same roles as the last 2 years with the addition of an understudy new role this year due to increased strength. He was a party boy for 4 of the 8 years. Professional company Nutcracker productions have a small number of roles for males. Fact of the ballet--and great learning experience about the world of ballet.

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