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nynydancer

SI casting - we thinks it's fine

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nynydancer

DD13 is going to a wonderful intensive, and having a great time so far.  She is very challenged and is exhausted every night.  She is the youngest and smallest in her level, and it's very nice for her to even be in this level and to be at this SI.  She came in on scholarship and she is working her little butt off.  What's kind of bringing her down is the messages from her coach and peers: are you okay?  are you sure?  The reason is because she was not cast well in the show, but a peer from back home was (peer is a couple years older but in same level at the SI).   

DD is really OK.  She is getting great corrections and attention in class, but no she didn't get a lead spot for the show and we certainly would not have expected it being the little shrimp that she is, nor is she as experienced.  She loves the classes, has a terrific pas partner, and is enjoying the independence.  She loves her dorm counselor and is making friends.

But the concern from others if making me wonder SHOULD we be concerned?  Does it mean something that she wasn't cast well?   Her coach was shocked she didn't get a better part, so her worry is making me worry.  DD is so okay with it and so am I but maybe we are being stupid.  These "awww poor thing is she okay" type texts are making me think I am missing something. 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think everything IS okay.    

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Mousling

Everything is fine - believe your daughter since you know her best. Her coach is not at the SI (right?), and your daughter is. The older peers' comments are irrelevant.

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dancerdancer

Yes. It’s okay! I’m really not sure how the coach and your daughter’s friends expect her to be cast as a lead, especially when she’s the youngest in a level. Casting is just never a given, even when your daughter isn’t the youngest, and even when a dancer is on scholarship. I would disregard their concern, well-meaning though it may be.

It’s just a SI showcase- the intensive is about so very much more! I’m thrilled your daughter is having a wonderful time, and hope she continues to have a challenging, productive, and fulfilling summer.

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learningdance

Nynydance. . .SMART momma!  Casting is out of the control of the dancer aside from performing well in class, taking corrections, and having adequate technique.  Best to focus on what you can control. 

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nynydancer

Thanks! My heart told me we were cool, and I appreciate the support of this board!  The SI is so much more than the show :)

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dancemaven

This is where she (and you) learn to take what is helpful from her coach (and any one else) and let any hint not useful roll off her back like water on a duck.  She’s got the exact right attitude.  Well done! 

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balletteacherandmom

We are in a similar situation, and ultimately I feel my DS is ok as well, we just got casting info from his SI and it is extremely inequitable. May I vent, and also get some advice?

There are 6 shows for this particular SI.  Two levels of men are combined for Rep, Character and Social Dance pieces, of which my ds is in the lower of the two levels.  There are other levels for men, but these are the top two levels that are combined.  Of the 6 shows, there is one small group of men (mostly the lower level like my ds) who were only cast in one show for the Rep and Character pieces each.  The rest of the students in those levels were cast (same cast) in 5 of the 6 shows.  In other words, ds and a group of lower level students are doing the Rep and Character pieces in only one show.  And EVERY one else is in another cast that is doing every single show except that one.  The Social Dance casting is more equitable, with every student in these two levels getting to perform it in 3 of 6 shows.

Why, why, why, would a program cast the Rep and Character pieces so lopsided like that?  Also, ds claims that there are a couple of students who were not cast AT ALL in the Character piece.  

In the Rep piece there are some better roles than others, and my ds got the worst role. I get that part of it.  Higher level students deserve the better parts. But, some students are getting multiple roles, but again that small group of students is being relegated to only one role and one show.

Please, give me your knowledge. I'm eager to understand why a program (big 3 letter) would cast like this.  I can't think of the advantages at all.

 

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dancemaven

Dancers need to learn to dance in the corps.  The vast majority will be dancing there—even the boys.  Your son is younger and in the lower level, so . . . .  Every role is an important role.  There are no ‘worst roles’—only ones a dancer doesn’t embrace and give his/her all to.  

Be disappointed.  But don’t pass that disappointment on to your DS.  There are many hours of dancing to go.  SI casting is no place for egos—-particularly parent’s. :wink:   SIs are but a small part of the process.  Your son will take what he can from each role, each opportunity to be an assemble cast, each opportunity to make his own way, and to learn from others.  Let him own that and enjoy it.  No judgment on the quality of roles assigned/earned.  Just enjoy the performance and his joy in dancing. 

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FancyNan

My daughter didn't get a great placement level at her SI this year, but she's worked hard, enjoyed the classes, and felt that she learned a lot.

Unfortunately the SI casting has really taken away from her experience of the program.  Her group is part of a contemporary dance and part of a corps piece in the ballet portion of the show.  Starting in week three, rehearsal has taken more and more class time.  She has contemporary nearly every day and ballet rep at least once a day and there is little other than rehearsal the final week.  Her part in the contemporary dance consists of less than a minute in the back row, and the ballet piece is very simple and short, so she spends a lot of time in rehearsal but very little time actually dancing.  Even the simplest dance could be an opportunity to work on artistry, presentation, perfecting movement, etc., but not if your time is spent "off stage" while the choreographer plays with ideas and works with other groups of dancers in other levels.

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ballet1310

I understand the disappointments here but my thoughts are this : although we pay for training and si’s , it does give a little window into the future ... how does dd handle not being cast, can dd deal with standing around for long periods while rehearsals are going on ( this is a reality in many art forms - I’ve been called to rehearsal only to end up sitting all day and not getting to rehearse but that’s sometimes part of the job - or how about getting cut from a scene/ part altogether!)   I assume anyone gong to an SI ( and I probably should t assume!!) wants to be a professional or at least go on to dance in college.  Think of these things as character builders , I’ll bet with a few exemptions that many parents on this board can tell you stories if disappointments but if their dd’skept strong, kept their eye on the bigger picture, than they have been successful ( in whatever way success is to each one)  

one more thought - I hope I don’t sound like I’m not being empathetic, in fact , it’s the reason I try to share here because I understand as a parent the disappointments That happen along this journey , but the only options are to get through and continue or quit and for those that continue, I hope advice from others helps !

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Momof3darlings

Not all is fair in dance or life.  So what might one take away from not being cast or from casting not being equitable?  A goal to improve during the year so that this doesn't happen again?  A decision never to attend this SI again?  That this is too much for a dancer to bear?  That this is a taste of what life in a company will be like?  Taking it as a challenge for the future?  Taking it as defeat?  Understanding the home school has reasons to make sure every dancer is cast somehow that an SI does not?  As a chance to sit back and learn the art of understudying even when not cast as a understudy?  The opportunity to ask if you can learn the choreography even if you are not cast?  A moment to pay up one's dollars and move on?  

We all have choices.  It is what we do with them that determines our course of action.

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Fouronlychildren

It is interesting reading this. My DD is 13 and a relatively new dancer, so I learn something from every thread I read. Though she is attending her second big SI this summer, neither has had a showcase/performance at the end. I think I prefer it this way. I can see the benefit for older dancers who are ready to perform, but it seems the the brief time together is better spent learning technique rather than rehearsing for a show. I guess it depends on what your goals are.

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balletteacherandmom

Thanks all for your words of wisdom. Just a little clarification; my question is more pertaining to the number of shows the students are cast in versus the role attained (or not) in the piece.  And I'm wondering why - what is the purpose of having 6 shows and loading most of them with the favorite (it seems) students, and relegating your least favorite to one (apparently the "bad") show?  

I'm also curious for those of you who think that casting at SI's tends to be less equitable than year-round programs. Our experience has been the opposite. DS's home school is a big 3 letter and while he has been very fortunate to be cast in company productions, most of the students are not.  Their end of the year performance is only for advanced students, for which ds might be considered next year, and casting is expected to be especially inequitable and many students may not even get cast at all in those performances.  That is something that we are indeed used to at our home school, and DS has definitely had his share of casting disappointments (and successes).  DS was in a program last year and the year before that did not do any performances, so no rep experience there, but the two years prior everyone was expected to have at least a small role. I just assumed in an SI they would be more interested in showcasing the whole student body, rather than treat it like casting a company show.

Looking at the casting sheets, you see all the same names for 5 of the 6 shows, and then 1 show I guess is meant to have the weaker of the casts.  I think this discrepancy is just in the men's classes, because there are 6 shows in order to cast the vast female student body. While I didn't see the girls casting sheets, I'm assuming most of them are cast in 1-2 shows overall.

So again, I'm mostly dumfounded by the obvious lopsided casting with some students getting one show, while some favorites take up all the rest of the performances.  I just don't get the point to it.

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Eligus
7 minutes ago, Fouronlychildren said:

but it seems the the brief time together is better spent learning technique rather than rehearsing for a show. I guess it depends on what your goals are.

This. 

When looking at the research forums dedicated to SIs next year, think about whether or not you want your DK to spend time performing and/or rehearsing....  what does your DK really need in the SI at this point in their training? 

For our purposes, when DD was younger (13-15) we sought out SIs that did NOT have a performance aspect to the summer program because she needed different training at that point of her journey than performance time. 

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Eligus

Balletteachermom -- we were posting at the same time...

I am not trying to be flippant here, but I have stopped long ago in trying to figure out casting decisions.  It drove me and my DD insane to attempt to "reason out" the decisions.  That decision to not look at "reasoning" behind casting was good practice to the (trying) not to look at reasoning behind audition results and/or hiring to a company.  It literally is what it is. 

I have no idea why an SI would not want to feature as many students as possible in order to sell tickets to as many parents and relatives as possible.  But... it also blows my mind that ANY SI program has 6 (!) shows at all.  I don't understand the point of so many shows.  However, I'm not in the SI business. 

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