No pressure Nutcracker audition

Studio 4 is normally a wide open studio at our school.

Not today. Normally around 20 of us will be in there on Saturday mornings for Mrs. O’s company class.

It was double that today. The reason? Nutcracker auditions.

Every dancer junior company and above was in class today. It was a day of somewhat examination by our teachers, and measuring by our wardrobe people.

A good class might mean a breakout role for a few. But really and truly, a bad class probably wouldn’t entirely mean a bad role. And it was actually a bit more relaxed than last year.

I think most of us went into the audition with an idea of what roles we’ll be cast as. I had no grand illusions of being cast as a cavalier. Unless there is some disturbance in the Force, I truly expect to play the same roles I did last year: Party dad, bed boy (rolling the bed from underneath during the battle scene) and the Lion in the Chinese dance in Act II.

I probably will not be the only dancer doing the same roles as last year. I would say almost the majority of the dancers in the room today will be doing the same roles (senior company girls dance Snow and Flowers for example). I’ve worked with some of the same girls in Chinese for two or three years since I’ve been doing the Lion role.

One thing I don’t think parents understand when they get upset their child is performing the same role they did in previous years is often they’re cast not as much because of their ability (well that does have something to do with it), but in a mass production like the Nutcracker, it is a lot easier on the teachers during rehearsals if they don’t have to re-teach the roles to everybody … that is especially the case if your company has a fall performance in addition to the Nutcracker like ours do.

I really don’t mind doing the parts that I do. I have been among the few who have roles in just about most of the major parts of the program. And party dad and Chines Lion are fun roles. Besides, in our production, the male roles are somewhat limited, especially in the second act. Cavalier, lead Russian, lead Spanish, Spanish corps. Our two young professionals will alternate between cavalier and the lead roles. And Spanish corps is usually reserved for young company guys (of course, there are not that many this year).

As for the audition itself, I thought I did OK. Struggled with my pirouettes. Petite allegro could have been better, but it was a lot better than my previous two classes. I thought I did well during grande allegro, and my tours en’lair I thought were OK.

Could have done better. But have done worse. I’m still shooting for that breakout class.


Dancewear buying “fun”: Quotation marks are there for the sarcasm. Purchasing dancewear is always the one task as a male dancer I dread the most. Because of the epic fails with online ordering, I go to the reliable dancewear shop around the corner from the school.

My leather shoes have holes in them. My Sansha tights have holes in the same place. Got tired of seeing toenails appear through my shoes, so I retired them after three wonderful years of service (one perk of being a guy, we can wear our shoes until they fall apart).

Unfortunately for me, they didn’t have leather shoes that fit. So I am back with a pair of canvas split soles. I’ve worn a pair before. They were OK, but not nearly as durable as the leather shoes I’ve worn (I am keeping them as spares just in case).

The salesgirl also handed me three pairs of tights to try on. Here is where it is awkward for me in a dancewear shop. This place is really frilly, frou frou. And on Saturday morning, it is overrun with little girls and their parents (mostly moms, but a couple of dads were there) looking for dancewear for the various schools in the area.

I took one look at the dressing rooms (if they can be called that), and thought, I’m not trying the tights on. The dressing rooms didn’t have doors, but hot pink curtains that did not drop to the floor.

So I told the salesgirl I’ll take the Capezios. They look opaque enough, so I took the chance and bought them. I’ll find out later if it was worth the risk. If not, there’s always the Sansha tights with holes in the toes.

I’ve always been fascinated by the talk of ballet fashion among the women ballet bloggers that I follow, but for me, fashion boils down to this: I want shoes and tights that fit, that are durable, and for tights to cover areas that need to be covered. And trust me, I’m a one color guy unless I need a different color for a performance.

Just give me black.


9 responses to “No pressure Nutcracker audition

  • The Dancing Rider

    Enjoyed every word of this entry. It must really be fun to be in these productions – I don’t care what the role is. One would have the performance energy — and there’s no feeling like that in the world. πŸ™‚

    Can’t blame you one bit for feeling as you do in these dance stores. I know what you mean about the “dressing rooms”. Right. Not. For me, either. Everyone assumes I’m a “teacher” because I’m so old. Hope the Capezio’s work out.

    As for your audition – you said it all. Good job on doing it. One of these times you will have the breakout you are looking for — but it sure sounds like you did well. πŸ™‚

  • Emma

    Wow I love your blog, a lot! Just spent 1 hour reading your posts. You’re such a inspiration even though it might be little weird since you’re a guy and I’m girl dancer. Keep writing I enjoy it a lot!

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  • mercietchatons

    Oh boy, we don’t have nutcracker rehearsals until October and auditions at the end of September. I haven’t balleted in weeks D: I always dream of the sugar plum fairy but as a pdd with a cavalier, but we don’t have many guys at my studio. If any role I’d like to either have Spanish (solo) or the girl doll. My mentor who directs and choreographs the nutcracker was hoping to have me completely take the roll of doll over. Ahhh, this makes me so excited for nutcracker!
    I hear you on dance stores. They’re often cramped, full of girly floofy pink things, never have your size in store, never have new models of shoes you’re looking for, or don’t care to carry the brand you want either. I often find myself throwing elbows amongst the drama dance moms just to get to the cashier for small objects like toe fluff I wanted to try for my pointe shoes. I often avoid the dance stores this time of year so I can avoid it all together. Online is best most times, but of course shopping for guys are waaay different.

    • Dancescribe

      We don’t fully get into rehearsals until October since the company has a fall performance, but our directors like to get started on the kids in September, and our lead dancers will do some rehearsing, especially on the grande pas, which I’m sure they’ll do since we have to new male leads, and that gives them some time to learn the roles they’ll split like Russian, Spanish and soldier doll. They also like to go ahead and cast it at the start of the year, so they’re not dealing with hurt feelings by the time the main rehearsals begin.

      We have fewer guys this year, which makes me wonder how they’ll do some things that we normally do.

      I hope you get to do the doll part, if it’s any thing like ours, it’s pretty cool. I was drafted last minute to dance soldier doll during party scene rehearsal last year. It was really a challenge.

      Sugar Plum has been done two ways. Some years, she’s danced a solo and also danced the grande pas, but the last couple of years, they’ve divided up the two because we’ve had multiple female leads.

  • Rael

    Would love it if our dance school would do nutcracker – or even any classical piece. Sounds like you have a part that you’re content with! That’s always nice!
    About the clothing, well I also think there’s just more out there for women. We have all these leotards with lace, ruffles, thin fabric, thick fabric, you name it. It’s a lot to choose from!
    But black is also my all-time favorite. The fact that I have to wear pink tights in class is frustrating but I know we are supposed to so I don’t whine about that. The least I can do is select a leotard and skirt that I’m absolutely in love with and feel comfortable in! πŸ˜‰

    • Dancescribe

      Give me shoes that won’t wear out, tights that don’t reveal anything and doesn’t get holes quickly,, and a long loose-fitting T-shirt that allows me to move and maintain a sense of modesty and I’m happy

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