Audition

GCB strives to be inclusive — all ballet dancers, regardless of local studio affiliation, are invited to audition. This includes recent high school graduates, college students, and Nutcracker alumni. This is a community production!

DEADLINE to register online (see bottom of page) — Monday, August 29

Save the Date — Auditions — September 9-11, 2022 at Ballet Arts Academy*

(*Due to UM construction and a home Griz game, it will be easier to hold auditions at BAA rather than the University of Montana.)

Save the Date — Nutcracker Performances — December 16-18, 2022

Note:  New for 2022 — Party Scene Auditions for Adults
Due to an increase in interest from adults, there will be a formal audition for Party Scene roles — Mother, Father, Ladies, Gentlemen, Maid, Butler — please register online and attend according to the schedule. Depending on numbers, we may not be able to cast everyone who is interested in any given year. Children who are dancers are not necessarily cast in the Party Scene with their auditioning parents — it is very sweet when families do have the opportunity to dance on stage together, but please know this is not something to expect. Party Scene adults are asked to follow all rules and policies (especially regarding backstage access and photography) — keep in mind this means you won’t be able to sit in the audience and watch your child (during performances) or be backstage to watch from the wings. Thank you for your understanding!


In order to understand as fully as possible what it means to be part of this production, please read all information below prior to auditioning. This is especially important for new families, but also recommended for returning families (since policies, fees, and rules may have changed). The FAQ page is also informative — please look through these common questions as well.

Age Requirement
The minimum age to audition is (7) years old — on or before the MCPS kindergarten cut-off date for the current academic school year.
Ballet Requirement
It is required that all dancers be enrolled (with any of the local dance studios) specifically in a ballet class — jazz, modern, tap, hip hop, hula, etc. are great, but will not count towards the ballet requirement. GCB will verify current enrollment as a requirement of participation in The Nutcracker. This requirement does not apply to Party Scene adult performers.
What to Expect
If your dancer is anxious or simply wondering what to expect during auditions, it will be very similar to a ballet class. There will be a number of adults (including members of the casting committee and an independent adjudicator for the oldest groups) sitting at the front of the class watching, while an instructor teaches a skill-appropriate lesson. For identification purposes, each dancer will have an actual number pinned to the front of a leotard (or black/white dance shirt). Auditions are closed to parent viewing.
What to Wear for Auditions and Every Rehearsal
  • Dress for a standard ballet class.
  • No make-up required.
  • Extra clothing (sweaters, skirts, leg warmers, etc.) should not be worn for auditions. Instructors may allow extra layers during rehearsal warm-up period.
  • Solid color leotard (not nude). Pink ballet tights that cover the entire foot. Pink ballet slippers. Bring pointe shoes (if applicable). Hair in neat ballet bun.
  • Male dancers: Solid white or black dance shirt or t-shirt. Black tights. Black or white ballet slippers. Hair off face.
  • Party Scene adults: Comfortable clothes for ballroom dancing; for women, close-fitting tops (with or without sleeves) and leggings are preferred in order to better see movements. Soft-sole jazz shoes or socks for men. Character shoes, soft-sole jazz shoes, or socks for ladies. No street shoes, please.
Performance Dates
Our weekend of performances will be December 16-18, 2022. Exact show days and times TBD.
Performance Fee
Every cast member* is required to pay a $300 non-refundable performance fee which helps cover costs associated with 12 weekends of rehearsals, costumes and alterations, and performing (6) shows in the Montana Theatre.

Payment Due: The fee is not due until after casting is complete; it will be collected prior to the first rehearsal. You may pay by check or online in the GCB Store. The reason we do not collect any payment upfront is that while we hope to cast every dancer in the ballet, it is not a guarantee that every dancer who auditions will receive a part. Casting will depend on how many dancers audition in each age group and skill level — we have a limited number of costumes and roles.

(*In lieu of the required performance fee, all adults in the Party Scene are asked to make a financial donation that is personally meaningful. Invited performers, professional actors, and guest artists are exempt.)

Optional Performance Fee Fundraisers for Families
GCB organizes optional fundraising programs to help interested families and dancers offset the performance fee cost. There are two programs offered:

Option 1)  Working with local businesses, GCB buys wholesale or discounted product (i.e. coffee, granola) that families resell at retail prices (or slightly higher). The profit from sales offsets part (or all) of your performance fee. Some of our more enthusiastic families volunteer to sell items and donate all proceeds back to GCB — amazing! Note: GCB does not advise unaccompanied dancers selling door-to-door.

2022 Details (tba)
Instructions
Order Form
Total Sales Form

Option 2)  If you secure one (1) brand new donor at the $500 level (or higher), 50% of your performance fee will be reimbursed. If you secure two (2) brand new donors, each at the $500 level (or higher), 100% of your performance fee will be reimbursed.

Alert: Please do not solicit any potential donor before checking first with GCB. We want to make sure the person or business you have in mind is not a current donor, or a donor on our “do not contact” list. See Donate for more information and materials.

Casting
GCB will make casting decisions based on what is appropriate for each dancer and what is best for the production as a whole — GCB will not cast dancers around their other activities and commitments. See Casting page for more information.
Rehearsal Season
Rehearsals typically begin the weekend following auditions, and are held at Ballet Arts Academy (unless otherwise noted) on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and/or Sundays (September through December — including UM Homecoming weekend, MEA/MDAA weekend, and on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend).

Alert: Each year, we develop a general rehearsal template that may be helpful for auditioning and planning purposes. Families and dancers may use this template to decide whether or not to audition and/or accept the role(s) in which they have been cast. To repeat: GCB will make casting decisions based on what is appropriate for each dancer — GCB will not cast dancers around their other activities and commitments.

Please know that every effort is made to keep rehearsal times consistent during the season, but for many reasons, this is not always possible. Within the general time frame set aside for each variation, exact times and specific dancers called to rehearse may vary week to week. See Schedule for more details.

Attendance Policy
A production of this kind requires excellent attendance from every cast member. Please give careful consideration before auditioning and committing your family to this three-month long season.

  • Attendance will be taken. We appreciate all dancers arriving 5 minutes early to remove shoes, clothes, and be prepared to dance on time.
  • Absences (except for sudden illness or emergency) should be communicated at least one full week in advance to the Artistic Director, Administrative Director, and choreographer. Your absence may indicate cancelling a rehearsal for all dancers in the variation.
  • At the discretion of the Artistic Director, any dancer may be replaced for missing (2) or more rehearsals during the production season — this includes pre-arranged absences and sudden illness or emergency.
  • Please clear all school-related conflicts that may occur during Tech Week in December (i.e. band/choir/orchestra concerts, drama, holiday party, etc.) as soon as possible. Your teachers will appreciate early communication — don’t wait until the last minute to address known conflicts that will occur in December. If you are not comfortable asking for an excused absence from school-related activities which may or may not impact your child’s transcript, please do not audition. GCB provides this form letter to alert teachers and make arrangements in advance: School Absence Request
  • Rehearsals are typically scheduled on UM Homecoming weekend — dancers are not excused to participate in or watch the parade.
  • Rehearsals are typically scheduled on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. These rehearsals are especially critical if the following week is the start of Tech Week.
  • All rehearsals after Thanksgiving are mandatory for the entire cast.
  • All Nutcracker performances are required for the entire cast.
Behavior Policy
Generally speaking, we have very few issues with conduct. If, however, an attitude or behavior does not meet GCB’s expectations, this protocol will be followed:
1st instance – The adult immediately involved will speak directly to the dancer and the Artistic Director will be notified.
2nd instance – The Artistic Director will speak to the dancer and a parent will be notified.
3rd instance – If the dancer is not dismissed (from all remaining rehearsals and performances), a parent will be required to chaperone and supervise the dancer for the remainder of the season.
Wellness Policy
GCB has a zero tolerance policy for illegal use or possession of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and vaping products. The consequence of breaking this policy may include up to a one-year suspension from Garden City Ballet.
Volunteer Requirement
We joke around that parents are forced to volunteer — but, it’s true! Volunteering is required of every family, because otherwise GCB could not afford to produce The Nutcracker. At a minimum, each family needs to sign up for (3) volunteer shifts. See Parent Sign Up for details.
Tech Week
To get a sense of Tech Week — which starts Friday, one week before opening night, and includes all day Saturday (at Ballet Arts Academy) plus every afternoon/evening (Sunday-Thursday in the Montana Theatre) — please review the example schedule provided. Tech Week is a crucial part of your commitment, and we need all families to be prepared for this exciting and demanding stretch of final rehearsals. After digesting this information, please consider whether the Nutcracker season feels manageable.
2021 Tech Week and Performances
Audition Tips
There is no question this article contains helpful advice — and, we encourage parents and dancers to review it every year — Audition Basics and Pointers for Keeping a Positive Perspective by Nichelle Suzanne (Founder/Editor at Dance Advantage)

Hot tip!
GCB offers a late August workshop (Summer Boot Camp) to help dancers prepare for auditions — these classes are especially helpful for those who have not danced consistently over the summer.

REQUIRED — Ballet Head Shot
Example Head Shot

Please bring a photo to your audition. It may be in color or b/w, and should be no larger than 3×5″ in size. Ladies should style hair in a neat ballet bun. Gentlemen should have hair out of eyes and off of face. There is no need to hire a professional photographer, though of course you are welcome to do so! Dancers who take part in Summer Boot Camp receive a complimentary digital head shot — you will be responsible, however, for bringing your own printed photo to auditions. Make-up is not required for the photo or auditions. Your photo will be submitted to the casting committee, and will not be returned.

REQUIRED — Waivers and Agreement
Please bring the following to your audition:
Performance Waiver
COVID-19 Waiver
Performance Agreement
REQUIRED — Thank You Note to Donors
GCB has an audition requirement for all returning Nutcracker dancers — if this is your first audition, this requirement does not apply. Let us know if you have any questions!
Thank You Instructions

Final Audition Checklist

  • Register Online (by the deadline of Monday, August 29)
  • Attend audition day and time according to exact current age (schedule will be posted online)
  • Arrive (15) minutes early to check in
  • Bring:
    1) Ballet Head Shot (no larger than 3×5″)
    2) Performance Waiver
    3) COVID-19 Waiver
    4) Performance Agreement
    5) Thank You Note to Donors

Alert:  Critical Nutcracker communication takes place via email. Frequently check your Junk folder (Gmail users check your Promotions folder, too!). If you register for auditions and do not start receiving weekly emails, contact: caroline@gardencityballet.org