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rain

Casting drama- what would you do?

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rain

DD auditioned for Clara at her dance school.  Only two dancers wanted to part. The other dancer (let's call her Jane), is in the same level as DD, but Jane is couple of years older, more mature, stronger and have better technique (in my opinion).  

I thought that Jane was going to get the part, or the best would be that they double cast.  So, I was quite surprised that DD was chosen.  Jane and her dad looked crushed.  I felt I want to say something to them but afraid it would come out insincere.  She congratulated my DD and they hugged briefly.  Her dad and I were friendly and we both volunteered for the production, but he had not said a word or even made an eye contact with me since then.  

I went to pick up DD after the next rehearsal, Jane approached DD and told DD not to feel bad for her and that DD would be a good Clara!  I was sitting right there so, I told Jane that she is an amazing dancer (I really think so).  

After we left, DD told me that Jane's mom came to watch the rehearsal (unusual for our school).  She kept looking at DD appraisingly and made DD nervous. 

I think the parents are acting quite strange, while the daughter is a very good sport.  I am wondering if there is anything I could do to ease the tension with the dad, since we have to work together pretty closely for another 3 months.  Should I ignore the elephant in the room, act the same, not bring it up and hopefully he will get over it?   If I am to say something, what should I say?  I wish I could tell them that their daughter is a wonderful as a dancer and as a person, but I really don't know if they would want to hear it from me.  Would really appreciate your thoughts.  I have terrible people skill and I hate drama!  Thanks so much!  

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dancingjet

Congratulations to your daughter. :) Since you don't really know what the other mom and dad are thinking, I'd suggest just going along as you have been. Be friendly, do your volunteer gig, support your dancer, be kind in your words and deeds regarding other dancers, and let it go.

My DD faced something similar when she was cast as Clara and another dancer and her mother were less than gracious about it. It just takes time, and either the other person gets over it and deals with their own issues and insecurities, or they reveal who they really are. If they're jealous there is nothing you can say that is going to change that. You can't fix their feeling of disappointment or their judgment that your DD is not as deserving of the role as their DD. I always encouraged my dancer to be kind and inclusive and to not say or do anything outright to hurt someone else or give them reason to be angry with her. That said, I also encouraged her to dance for herself, work hard, and do the best she could. If that made someone else feel bad, that wasn't hers to control.

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gasguzzler

If I were in your shoes I do not think I would say anything for fear of making things worse or seeming insincere. Anyway I wouldn't want to talk to that mother because she made my daughter uncomfortable by watching her so much.

(My daughter was in a similar situation when she went to a new school once. Another mother would watch my daughter during parent watch days instead of watching her own daughter and it made my daughter very uncomfortable. Especially because my daughter had heard from others that this student would say mean things about her right in front of the mother who allowed it to go on.)

The bottom line is that your daughter was the one who was chosen. She is the one who they want for the role, regardless of whether or not the other girl is more mature or stronger or has better technique. Maybe they don't need more mature or better technique for that role. Maybe they want a younger Clara. Maybe your daughter has the look they want. Or a certain spark. Maybe she's super cute when she smiles or endearing or a great actress and that is what they want for their Clara. Whatever it is let her have her moment and don't let these other people take it away from her. Tell her not to let this mother make her nervous. Tell her that mother is just watching her because she's so good at her role. 

 

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Bavalay

Rain, I'm with gasguzzler on your dilemma.  It's not your responsibility nor can you manage the emotions/feelings of another parent.  Selecting roles is the job of the AD, not parents or students.  I understand feelings are hurt and you want to be gracious and also "fix" the sadness.  But how wonderful that the other student showed maturity and good sportsmanship towards your daughter.  That's the important thing.  I can also imagine both you and she want to celebrate and be happy...but at the same time not feel like you're rubbing in the victory.  Proceed as you normally do.  No one can see how you feel on the inside (just don't let it show on your face).  In time the parents of the other dancer will be fine too.  I would also not assume that the parents will continue to watch the rehearsals or are even thinking about it anymore; or that drama will continue.  The show (and life) must go on after all.  Encourage your DD to focus on her training and not who's watching the class.  Congrats to her for role as Clara.  Enjoy💕

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learningdance

Casting isn't always about who is best.  It can be about look, height, and who the dancer will partner with. Your DD "won" the casting lottery this time. 

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Momof3darlings

Wait?  So only 2 auditioned and they did not choose 1 as an understudy?  Congratulations to your DD but that is poor planning.  Just remembering back to one year when DD was a student where a stomach virus overtook the entire school the week of Nutcracker.  Dancers performed sick, others could not lift their head off pillows and had to have covers.  Dancers reminding themselves of choreo in the back hallway, etc.  And this is with understudies in place.  

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rain

dancingjet, gasguzzler & Bavalay-  You are absolutely right, this is DD's moment and she should focus on dancing for herself and enjoy the experience.  I will encourage her to do just that.  It's also good to be reminded that certain things are beyond my control and I'm not responsible on how other parents feel.  

learningdance- Yes, I totally agree.  She is lucky to have what they were looking for.  

Momof3darlings- The other dancer is an understudy, sorry, I forgot to mention that.  

Thank you very much for your thoughts, advice and kind words, I really appreciated it!  

 

 

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pirouetteprincess100

My DD just turned 13 so hope this is OK to post. This topic brought back some old memories for me and how things played out in a similar situation, so I thought I would wade into this conversation. Do NOT let this other family take anything away from your DD's Clara experience( of any other big success) that may play out down the road. Enjoy and savor every bit of this experience. Before you know it, Nutcracker season flies by and then they are on to the next important casting situation. Get as many pictures as possible, have your DD keep a journal and record the experience of dancing such an important role so that you both can go back and re live the experience. I have been lucky to have had two Clara's over our long dance journey, but for as many good castings over the years, there have been an equal number (or more) of the disappointments. 

But here is our similar experience and how it played out. One of my DD's didn't get this treatment as Clara, but as a senior member of the Nutcracker cast. As I write this out it's almost humorous, but it really was very hard to deal with it at the time. Our studio would post casting a few days after the audition weekend. So, the night before the posting came out my DD had a close friend who also auditioned for the Nutcracker stay at our house for a sleepover, which in retrospect was a really stupid thing to do. So that said morning that the casting came up online, I logged in and saw DD was cast in both lead senior roles. The next few hours were truly a strange insight into what some parents will do when their child isn't cast as well. Within an hour the mother of the other dancer, who was a close family friend, literally stormed in my house and dragged the poor little girl out of the bed and took her home. Mom wouldn't speak or look at me, and this was a close friend. The child was crying hysterically and they left my house without speaking to me or even attempting to congratulate my DD. I felt like I lost a friend, the news of the casting spread quickly and I spent a week making excuses and feeling bad for this little girl and her family. It didn't help when the mom went to the ballet school and spoke to a teacher at the school who was close with both of our girls, and she didn't really back up my DD. This teacher had nothing to do with casting. 

I never felt like I could enjoy myself during that Nutcracker season. Fortunately it was only 3 months, and like I said they were on to the next goal after that. What followed up was almost worse. Both my DD and her friend had been hoping for many summers to be accepted to a big 3 letter New York based SI. My DD was accepted and no one else at her studio was. That day the results were posted, DD didn't want to even say anything about her acceptance. But this program sends out results on the same day, so there wasn't any avoiding the topic that night a class. Again, she felt guilty, and even the aforementioned teacher announced to the class that DD got in said school "luckily". DD cried her eyes out that night.  I understand the teacher was in a tough spot, as the girls were all devastated for themselves, and she was trying to I guess make them feel better.

Moral of the story is.... please don't downplay your DD's successes. It's not your job to worry about anyone else. Good times will come, and then there will be disappointments that you will need to deal with.

BTW, my DD and friend are still good friends and things worked out. One of them still dances and other doesn't and that seemed to take care of things. Ballet just seemed to bring out the worst in their friendship.

 

 

 

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gasguzzler

I didn't actually say Congratulations after all my typing but I meant to. It is a special time for you and your DD. You both should enjoy it without worrying about the others. As long as your DD is kind and cordial that is all that she needs to do. It is so special to have the opportunity and she will really cherish it. I'm glad you can encourage her to have her moment and now you too can have yours as well!

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Mdballetmom

Enjoy the show. Your dd came out on top this time. Next time, it might not work out that way. Be respectful and kind to others, but honestly, just walk away from this. The drama is not yours.

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newballetmom

Casting is so hard. This year our casting is all topsy turvey because we have many many more girls who are brand new to pointe than we have in the past. Since they won’t be ready for Snow ect, they’re mostly “dancing down” into roles usually performed by the level one lower than them. Then those lower girls (my daughter included) are being bumped into roles usually performed by the group below them. 

Instead of having our traditional one Clara en pointe and one flat, they’re both new pointe girls this year. 

All that to say, there were a lot of hurt feelings when the cast list came out, but truly none of it has anything to do with the skill or beauty of any given dancer. It’s just kind of an awkward in between year for the studio. So, while my daughter isn’t thrilled to be a Bon Bon, we are making the best of it. It’s all you can do! Hopefully the gripey parents will learn this lesson soon. 

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rain

pirouetteprincess100- That was such a crazy story!  I'm sorry that your DD had to endure that instead of celebrating her accomplishment.  Thank you for sharing your experience and advice.   Keeping a journal is a great idea.  Who knows, this might be the last big role she will ever get, considering how competitive ballet world is :) (and I"m totally ok with that)

gasguzzler- Thank you very much!  I guess it's a good life lesson for both of us.  And yes, I will do just that!  

Mdballetmom- Totally!  Thank you!  I"ve since calmed down and will leave this drama behind me.  

 

 

 

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threegirlpileup

Honestly, I wouldn't overinterpret glances or watching or whatever you're seeing from the other parents.  It's quite possible that the child--though acting like a pro--was really heartbroken, and you know how it is as parents--we can't help be heartbroken for them!!  It sounds like the daughter has gone out of her way to be gracious and professional--and that's likely to have been influenced by her parents.

And even if those parents are a bit toxic and jealous, just walk away and move on.  There's not a thing you can do about them!

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TipToes

Congrats to your DD! I'm with the others, I'd just go on being thrilled for your daughter, kind to the others, and not spend time trying to guess what the other parents are thinking. Hopefully they have been around long enough to understand that it has to be the dancer who best fits the AD's vision for the role rather than the one you consider the "best" dancer. Enjoy the season!! The class above my daughter's danced the role of Clara last year and rumor has it that it is likely the class below hers will get the role this year because her class is too tall. It's just the way things go sometimes. Will our girls be sad if none of them get the chance to dance Clara, yes! At the same time, will there be hurt feelings from the others if a couple girls from their class get to be Clara, yes. But it comes with the territory, and hopefully the parents can move on just like the kids always seem able to do. Congrats again!

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rain

threegirlpileup- Thank you!  Very true, it is obvious that she was raised well and her parents deserved all the credit.  You are right no that we tends to be super emotional and protective when it comes to our children.  

TipToes- Thanks so much!  I think luck do influence a lot of casting outcome.  Best of luck to your daughter.  I hope she has a great nutcracker season!  

 

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