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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Nutcracker updates and casting?


Noodles

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As I transition into the 13+ group, I wonder how Nut is looking for your dancer this year?

 

My DD just turned 13 and this will be her 7th Nutcracker. Based on tradition, this is her level's year for Clara, so she is extra anxious. We are mindful that traditions can change and there are several lovely dancers in her level!

 

We both love Nutcracker season for so many reasons, for me it is so fun to watch the dancers grow and move though the various roles.

 

Auditions were last week, she should get casting by Fri.

 

Anyone else here excited about the Nutty season?

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No nutcracker for DD, auditions were last week but we are moving to Land of No Nutcrackers.

 

Strange to say for most dancers, but she only did 2! She came to dance late and has been dancing only 3 years, and now moving away.

 

She excited for her friends, who are all waiting for parts, but not particularly sad not to be doing one.

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DD13 is at a new studio this year. She happens to be both technically advanced for her age and rather small for her age, so she is in a kind of in-between place. She's the right size but slightly old for the younger child roles; those parts may go to the dancers in lower levels. On the other hand, she is very small for the parts normally given to girls in her level. So we shall see!

 

The time between auditions and casting is always nerve racking, but at least we have a relatively short wait this year. A week or less. At our old studio, they held auditions for young dancers in June and did not cast the show until September, so that was brutal.

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DD14 auditioned for her 9th Nutcracker last Sunday. Casting is announced in a week - but a stressful week to be sure! She is dying to dance snow and flowers, which for us is some pretty difficult/fast choreography typically danced by 1/2 professional company dancers and 1/2 advanced-level or adult students. It's quite competitive because auditions are open to all dancers in the area, not just those from the attached school.

 

She has already done all the child roles (other than Clara), all the lesser divertissement roles open to her, and understudied for snow last year so no matter what I say there will be some very real disappointment if she doesn't get it.

 

There have been little disappointments over the years, the year of not being Clara, when she was a soldier and wouldn't let any of us come watch her because "Why would you want to see that?!" and when she was Spanish rather than Thai. But every year, no matter how she feels about her part, she gets all wrapped up in the production, her friends, and taking class onstage with the company dancers. Christmas wouldn't quite be Christmas without it, anymore!

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DD13 was quite happy this year with casting - probably the first time ever! :) She has moved out of the children's roles and into the big-girl parts... never being Clara, even though this year hers is the level they tend to cast Clara from. Mine is just too tall and mature looking, and the boys this year too short! She took it in stride, happy to move on to Snow and Flowers with the older girls. I'm relieved!

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If I may ask, what height are your Clara dancers, typically? I hear dancers are often overlooked because of a height requirement, I am just curious what that might be in your studio/company...?

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Oh dear - touchy subject. Our 14 year old son was cast in his local studio's original holiday show and with a professional company as Fritz and some original choreography in the second Act of the Nutcracker in our new gorgeous performance center (which would be his first Nutcracker). He has a tough decision to make.

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Victoria Leigh

I thought he was going to do both productions, Boydancermom. Has something changed that I missed?

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logollady, at my DD's studio Clara tends to be on the smaller side, and not en pointe. My DD is 5'6" and not likely to get the role, although rumor has it the studio has found a lovely young boy who just happens to be a few inches taller than my DD. She is tempering her excitement with the knowledge that no matter what she is cast as, she will have a wonderful season as she always does. But let's be real....I am sure her heart nearly leapt out of her chest when she found out there was a chance!

 

Our Nutcracker Prince the last two years has been about 5'5".

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Victoria - yes, his home studio said that he can't do both as there will likely be a few rehearsal conflicts - although the professional company said that they would try to work out any conflicts. Our son is going to have to make a very difficult decision. He is very conflicted.

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Fascinating how different companies do their Nutcrackers. :) Our Prince is almost always an adult, and often a professional or trainee at least. Our Clara is always en pointe and under 5'4" (typically). I would love to hear others on how their studio casts these roles if they are willing to share. :)

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Dds studio has had little Claras (9-10) not en pointe, (or maybe they were but I'm assuming simpler choreography?) and older Claras (13-14) en pointe with complicated choreography and an adult prince. I have no idea how or why they choose one or the other. To my knowledge Clara has always been under 5'4" (probably smaller even, DD was 5-5'1" when she did it) and "young" looking.

 

It is interesting how different places do it! I'd love to read more.

 

Her new school is actually one of 2 that does do a Nutcracker, so it's not totally Land of No Nutcrackers, but small schools don't do it and there is no tradition of it, it's recent. 2 professional companies do a Nutcracker, and her school has childrens roles, but very few. They do have a "young Clara" for party scene, a professional is the "Clara who dances" or whatever you would call her. I thought that was interesting. Do other companies or schools have a "young Clara" and an "old Clara"?

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Victoria Leigh

Every production of Nutcracker is different, dancypants1. The most traditional productions I know have a young Clara only, but there are so many different versions that it is hard to say.

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I have seen a few productions with what I would call a "dream Clara," danced by a professional. ABT uses a sort of dream Clara but both dance and both appear on stage together.

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As far as dd18, auditions are this weekend. There has been a huge influx of dancers at the advanced level, so casting will not be as predictable.

 

Clara at this school is an advanced dancer and height seems to be a non-issue. The character of Clara in this production is an older teen. At dd's prior school, Clara was generally played by a dancer at the highest level or just below that. The dancer was usually anywhere from 13-16 years old and looked young.

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