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Missing a rehearsal


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With all the recent discussions about Nutcracker casting and what not, here is one that I am in a quandary about:

As an early Christmas present this year DD PLEADED with me to buy her concert tickets for a band that will be touring our area during December. After consulting the posted performance schedule for Nutcracker, I went ahead and purchased the tickets for my daughter. I then informed the AD and assistant AD, two months in advance mind you, that because of this early Christmas present, DD would not be available for any rehearsals that night. I received an e-mail response that, too bad, they were trying to schedule a charity performance for the night in question and DD was not going to be excused.


I am flaggergasted. The tickets are purchased, and over the years I've seen dancers miss rehearsals for a variety of personal reasons. Is it reasonable to expect that families should not be able to plan any personal events between the time of casting and performance?? Is two months not adequate notice of a conflict?? I have absolutely no idea of how I should respond to this, except spill the beans to DD about the early Christmas present and tell her she will have to choose.

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Oh, no! Your post was titled about missing a rehearsal, but it sounds like this would be a performance, which makes all the difference. I don't think any amount of notice would suffice; all dancers must be in the performances if there is only one cast. It seems that the additional performance it isn't set in stone yet, though, so I'd ask that they let you know if/when it is finalized so that DD can make her decision. Has Nutcracker casting already been completed or rehearsals started? If so, it seems that's she's obligated there. If not, then you can discuss it with DD and let her decide.

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Cakers, the problem is that, at least in most schools, when a student commits to a production, they commit to all the rehearsals as well as performances. There is usually a very limited amount of time for rehearsals, with numerous casts to rehearse, and even one missing dancer can make it very difficult for the other dancers and the director. I'm sorry, but I would not consider going to a concert to be a reason to miss rehearsal. I know it is done, and people get it away with it, but it is not, in my opinion, the way young dancers learn to honor their commitments, which is a serious part of learning the work ethic and discipline of ballet. If one wants to perform, then one must rehearse!

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Oh, no! Your post was titled about missing a rehearsal, but it sounds like this would be a performance, which makes all the difference.


The reason for the title, was because at the time I decided to purchase the concert tickets, I did not know about any potential performance. There was nothing on the schedule for that night, although I certainly knew there was a good likelihood of a rehearsal, which is why I tried to give them as much notice as possible. DD is a committed dancer and a consummate performer, and has not missed a performance or production rehearsal in 11 years. I did not think it was an unreasonable request.

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I have to agree with others. The title says rehearsal, but the key is that this is a performance missed and that is a whole 'other ball of wax. What I would present to my daughter is that she has a choice but that her choice has consequences. If she chooses to attend the concert, then she may lose her part to an understudy for the remainder of the run. As a teacher, I would have to look differently at an absence to attend a concert versus a required school event or family emergency. This not knowing why other people miss that has been allowed and set precedence where you are.


Another consequence is that she may lose favor for casting in the future which may not be as fair, but is a reflection of her dedication to the production itself (even if the director's didn't adhere to posted schedules). But still her choice to make. The consequences of missing the concert are more obvious. Loss of a night of fun and loss of mom's money (which may be recouped on ebay if the concert is sold out).


Looking back, I probably would have asked before purchasing the tickets. I learned a while ago that family schedules go by the wayside unfortunately when the kids are in performing or sports groups. We don't have to like it, and it's a huge imposition but it's reality. Much like football players who make the playoffs. Wasn't on the schedule initially, but when it's added you better be there.

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Committed is committed, which makes whatever one is committed to a priority. It is even more important for a dancer who is one of the committed to set the example. When I have dancers 13 and up who miss a rehearsal for anything other than serious illness or family emergency then I would have to question that commitment.

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If your daughter wants to dance professionally (and she may not) teach her now to attend all rehearsals - even last minute ones - unless she is ill or there is an emergency -- or if there is an academic school obligation, and usually that is something you can let your AD know about well in advance.


As far as actual performances, I have seen professionals dance on pure andreneline and sheer will through injuries that would sideline other arts performers or athletes (not that I recommend that) ... so not performing to see a concert is not even within my scope of understanding.


I understand your daughter is a student, so her choices can be different than a professional would make, depending on what she wants from dance. If it is a professional (or even student-only) production though that she is part of, as a parent, teaching your child the duty of honoring obligations is still important as a life lesson that goes beyond dance.


**As an added note: If parents told us even months in advance to consider their child's obligations (including concerts, trips, etc.,) we would not be able to do that. It is impossible to schedule around that many different things and we don't. We also tell parents to ensure they can meet the attendance commitment before auditioning.

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When will the decision be made about the performance? Perhaps you can keep things under wraps until it's determined whether or not the performance actually materializes. If there's no performance, no problem! But if a performance (or rehearsal, for that matter) does actually get scheduled on that date, I think it's the best lesson for you to help DD honor her obligations. (Our school actually has students sign performance and rehearsal contracts, so DD has a good understanding that her participation in the company is her first priority.)


I'd hang onto those tickets, figure out the details and then, if worse comes to worse, sell them on Craigslist if there's a conflict. If DD doesn't know you have them, you can be honest and say that the concert is not an option because she has other commitments that night. But there's no need to add to disappointment by giving her the details that you already have the tickets. And maybe it will all work out. Fingers crossed!

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What an unfortunate circumstance! Cakers, I'd be annoyed as well and I certainly don't think it's an unreasonable request either. How old is your DD? From what you're saying, there wasn't anything scheduled on the day of the concert you purchased tickets for. You also gave them 2 months notice that your DD would miss. There are lots of girls at our studio who miss for various reasons, and I'm not talking just illnesses. Did you or your DD sign a contract that commits you to every rehearsal AND any potential extra performances (like the charity one they're trying to set up)? I realize the dancing world is hard and fast but for pete's sake, family time or special occasions should be balanced as well. I hope it all works out for you and your DD. Hang on to those tickets! Maybe the charity performance will never come to fruition and you can go to that concert :)

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A commitment is a commitment. You either honor it or you don't. But you don't get a slide on it.


If this were my DD, I would not even consider telling her about the purchased tickets. I would expect her to fulfill her performance obligations on that night. It does not matter that it was not originally scheduled; it is scheduled now. She agreed to be part of the performance troupe and she (or you) can't decide it is inconvenient now.


I would hold the tickets until I knew whether the performance was set and deal with them appropriately. But it would not seriously enter my head that DD could skip the performance, if it is scheduled. To me, that is simply not an option.


These type circumstances came up numerous times while DD was growing up (and still do). Her first taste as a second grader when Nutcracker auditions fell at the same time as her soccer team's game. I spent a whole year as 'the world's worst Mom" for insisting she honor her commitment to her team. It is not a lesson I would ever change for her. She learned it well and honors her commitments.


Give your DD the opportunity to learn that lesson. It creates character.

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I understand what you're saying but I don't quite agree with you dancemaven. So, since the original poster's DD committed to the Nutcracker, she's expected to keep every night of the week free in the off chance they decide to schedule a charity performance? Unless it stated that in a contract that I signed, I wouldn't honor it. This isn't the PNB's production of the Nutcracker with professional dancers.


Now, as I said, if she (the mom) or the DD signed a contract that states she is obligated to every rehearsal without excuse and every *potential* performance, then I would certainly honor that. But it doesn't sound like that's the case here. I could be wrong but that's how it's coming across to me.

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I'm sorry, momto2ballerinas, but by being cast in a production, there is an obligation to attend all rehearsals and performances, whether there is a written contract or not. The student is making a commitment to the production. I don't care if it is a rehearsal or a performance. I said it above, more than once, and it has been said by others. A commitment is a commitment, and the student will not learn to honor commitments and keep her priorities straight if she chooses to attend a concert on a night when she is expected at rehearsal. A written contract is not always used in student productions, but maybe they should be, if people are going to think that they can choose to do something else rather than attend a rehearsal, not even to mention a performance. With Nutcracker, by the time a student is in her teens and has performed in productions through the years, they should well know that rehearsals and performances can be added or changed. The time period between the start of rehearsals and end of performances is simply not a time to schedule something else way ahead of time.

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It does sound like we are saying that we cannot ever expect to make a family plan for any night of the week, once rehearsals are commenced.


Now in this case it is a performance, not a rehearsal. But we sacrifice so much, SO MUCH, for our kids to dance. It seems like there has to be a time when priorities to a family event would take priority over a rehearsal.


I have a family wedding, and the family coming to the wedding have not seen my children since they were perhaps four years old. My children are missing rehearsals in order to spend time with this extended family on Saturday. I feel good about this decision. However, my cousin, who is coming this weekend is getting married herself in March, on the day of our spring show. We will not be attending the wedding, we will be at the spring show.

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I agree that once a commitment is made to a performance, that commitment must be honored. However, as a parent I expect to know -- upfront when my child makes that commitment -- what the expectations are regarding rehearsals and performances, with the understanding that sometimes extra rehearsal time will be needed and the schedule may need to be amended. In my view it is simply not reasonable to say that once rehearsals commence, we cannot make any plans on any open days until the end of Nutcracker performances. My child is not a professional. She is a serious ballet student, but she is still a child with schoolwork and family commitments in addition to ballet. As trythis said above, it sounds as if "we cannot ever expect to make a family plan for any night of the week, once rehearsals have commenced." To me, as a parent, this is just not a reasonable view, nor is it workable for most families. (And I should add that my DD dances 6 days a week with rehearsal almost every day -- so we are used to a pretty packed schedule!)

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I only know how our company does it. We have two scheduled days per week (over a specific block of time on those days) for children's rehearsals that you are expected to keep free. Rehearsals can be scheduled at anytime during that time. Children must also attend everything scheduled for them during tech week and obviously all performances they are assigned.


Even with parents knowing this before auditions and having signed a contract, I frequently field emails asking for days off for sleepovers, family trips, birthday parties, etc. There is a part in our contract that says "these specific days (and it names those days) are mandatory -- do not ask"...and people will still ask.


I am probably not the most sympathetic on this topic, even though I am also a parent with a child who regularly sacrifices fun things with friends and family time to attend rehearsals (most of which do not include the company I work for) -- that doesn't make me happy always, but she does it because I respect her and her school.


If I had a standing commitment to something and something more fun like a party came along, of course, I would want to go to a party -- especially if I were 12. It takes some understanding of the value in your word (or in our case, your signature on our contract) to have the strength to say no to something more fun because you have given your word to do something else already.

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