The Nutcracker Cometh

The Nutcracker tryouts are fast approaching! Are you considering auditioning for a role in this beloved holiday masterpiece at the University of Wyoming? We are quite lucky to live in Laramie, with its in town university and artistic experiences it provides. Are you wondering what the time commitment will look like, and what is expected of you at tryouts? Ms. Marsha Knight, Professor of Dance at UW and director for The Nutcracker shared a look into the tryout process, what practice requirements, etc. look like for dancers participating this year and a little insight into the process!

One big question for us as a family — how will we make Nutcracker work together with our children’s dance classes and other commitments? It is hard to make everything work. It is important to remember that while you are performing and growing as a dancer in that respect, you must also be consistent with your work on technique. That’s where regular class comes in, and is so important. We’re happy to help you find a schedule that is flexible with your participation in The Nutcracker for the handful of months that it takes to rehearse, prepare and perform — and keep your dance education up at the same time! Please let us know how we can help support you during this exciting time!

A message from Ms. Marsha Knight…

Dear Dancers and Dancer Parents,

Kati was good enough to contact me, asking for clarification on Nutcracker auditions, general ideas about rehearsals/frequency, etc. First off, many thanks for your interest, and I hope that many of you will consider auditioning. It is an honor to work with so many children in our community. We work very hard to make the process inspiring and to create a final production for which Laramie can be proud. Being in the cast of The Nutcracker is a real commitment; but can be quite a high point in a young dancer’s year, that is for sure! So thank you, and I hope to see you at auditions. Below are points to consider:
*Don¹t be nervous about auditions. Treat the time as an opportunity to do something new and different! I will have a short dance phrase that I will teach. I will repeat it many times. Best to bring a great smile, an full permission to let your imaginations go. Remember that The Nutcracker ballet is a story; be a part of that story-telling fun. Bring dance clothes if you have them (simple ones are best, not tutus, etc), dance shoes (ballet slippers or jazz shoes or simply socks) along with a positive feeling about the audition. Simple leggings are good as well. Lots of kids will show up in jeans. No worries.

*Don¹t be nervous about auditions (did I already write that?). We are just people trying to put a great show together, and wanting to have a good time doing it. And we want you to have a good time auditioning. You may be cast, you may not be cast. Many factors go into the selection including your availability, age, and size. We do not build the costumes for the production each time. Rather, we work with a set amount of sizes, and I have to cast children of various sizes to fit into what we have. If you get cast, great! Remember that this is a very big commitment (we will make that clear!). If you do not get cast, there are many other things that will bring you happiness this fall. This is just one of many opportunities in Laramie.

*For some groups, two audition times are made available. Just come to one of the two. Hint: Usually the second of the two auditions is less crowded, so that might be a nice choice. You may be asked to come back for a callback audition later in the week. If you are, we will let you know about that.

*Does it cost to be in The Nutcracker? There is no performance fee, but there are some costs associated with participation such as the dry cleaning fee of $15 for the costume, the purchase of proper ballet shoes for the part, as well as a new pair of tights or socks depending again on the role. Nutcracker sweatshirt, t-shirt, dvd, are available for purchase but are centainly NOT required.

*Frequency of rehearsals… This one is tricky. Normally, children will rehearse 2x p/week following casting (Monday, September 15). Depending on the role, some rehearsals last 45 minutes, some 1.5 hours. The days will be quite consistent week-to-week until we get close to production. Frequency then picks up a bit, usually mid-November. Then it does get crazy in the end ! But is oh-so rewarding. Final rehearsals are long and late…

*Thanksgiving break: Last rehearsal is Tuesday before Thanksgiving, then we resume Monday after Thanksgiving. So we take some time off.

*Production dates: Thursday, December 11 through Sunday, December 14. We will do a school show on Friday the 12th as well as a show that night. Feel free to call me with questions, but that is all that I can think of for now.

Thank you again for your interest!

Marsha Knight

Professor, Dance

University of Wyoming Theatre and Dance


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