Casting

Ah, casting… every year there will be tears of joy and tears of sorrow. This is inevitable, and GCB encourages good sportsmanship from dancers and parents alike.

Please understand that casting decisions will be made in order to produce the best show possible. Casting depends on many factors, including the number and skill level of all dancers who audition, our costume inventory, and the types of roles offered by any given Artistic Director.

There is no guarantee that everyone who auditions will receive a part — at the same time, some dancers may be cast in more than one role. There is no automatic progression from one role to another (i.e. a Gingersnap does not always become a Mouse the following year). Seniors are not guaranteed a solo or a spot in the Snow Corps. And, performers may be cast in the same role year after year — because they are needed (i.e. Snow Corps, Flower Corps, Soldiers). The Artistic Director will consider prior roles of each dancer, but it is not always possible to give every dancer a “new” role.

Casting Committee
A committee works together on casting decisions — this includes the Artistic Director, Assistant Artistic Director, all choreographers for the season, and an independent adjudicator hired specifically to attend auditions for the older age groups. While the independent adjudicator will identify and rank order all soloists (including Clara), the Artistic Director ultimately has final authority. Auditions are closed to parents, board members, and other staff.

The committee does not assign or guarantee roles based on:
– whether a dancer is a high school senior
– prior roles or understudy roles
– family donations of money and/or volunteer service
– other scheduled activities or commitments that a dancer may have (i.e. my dancer can’t rehearse Saturday 12-2 because of soccer (or) my dancer can only be cast in roles that rehearse on Sunday, etc.)

Unfortunately, there will always be casting disappointment.

Casting Policy
  • Every reasonable effort will be made to cast all dancers who audition.
  • Every reasonable effort will be made to include all abilities.
  • There is no guarantee that all dancers who audition will be cast — audition numbers may exceed our costume inventory and available roles.
  • The Artistic Director is not required to cast everyone in an equal number of roles.
  • The Artistic Director is not required to cast based on age, grade level, length of time in the production, or studio affiliation (i.e. the role of Clara does not formally rotate from one studio to another).
Understudies
The role of understudy is critical to the success of our show. Understudies learn essential parts of the ballet, knowing they may never perform these roles. It is likely that many upper level dancers will be assigned an understudy role, and we appreciate those who generously agree to contribute their hard work, time, and talent. Understudies attend all rehearsals, as able, for their designated role(s). Dancers should not expect to be cast in these roles the following year.
Declining a Role
Parents, please read this article — your response to your dancer’s disappointment will have tremendous impact.
Helping Dancers Deal with Disappointment” by Nichelle Suzanne (Founder/Editor at Dance Advantage)

In order for the Artistic Director to do the work it takes to fill any vacated roles, we ask that you let us know no later than Tuesday if you need to decline a given role. Please read all of the information below before making your decision.

If a dancer needs to decline a role (including an understudy role) due to a scheduling conflict, please follow these instructions:

Notify the Artistic Director (director@gardencityballet.org) and Executive Director (caroline@gardencityballet.org) by email stating “Thank you for casting me (or my dancer) in the role of _______________. Unfortunately, I am (or my dancer is) not able to accept this part due to a scheduling conflict.”

If a dancer is not interested in dancing a certain role, please decline the role as follows:

Notify the Artistic Director (director@gardencityballet.org) and Executive Director (caroline@gardencityballet.org) by email stating “Thank you for casting me (or my dancer) in the role of _______________. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, but I am (or my dancer is) not interested in this part and prefer that it be offered to another dancer.”

If a dancer wishes to drop out of Nutcracker altogether due to casting disappointment, please weigh the few minutes of performing on stage against the months of being in rehearsals with fellow dancers, the excitement of tech week, and the camaraderie of being part of the production as a whole. If you are absolutely sure about your decision, please follow these instructions:

Notify the Artistic Director (director@gardencityballet.org) by email stating “I am disappointed in the outcome of casting, and have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the cast. I understand that I will not be considered for other roles that might become available.”

If a dancer and/or parent would like to meet in person with the Artistic Director to discuss any casting concerns, please add:

“I (or we) would like to discuss our concerns, and will contact you to schedule a meeting in January, after the production is over.”

The process of casting is complex and challenging. When roles are declined, it takes significant work to fill vacant spots — this can be a time consuming process to complete before rehearsals begin.

Also, keep in mind that if you are disappointed in the originally assigned roles, it is possible that additional opportunities will come up as a result of other dancers declining a role — if you stick with the season, you may end up with an unexpected part… you never know!

Even though feelings can be hurt by casting, please keep in mind that if a dancer or parent sends a distressing or disrespectful email that criticizes casting decisions, it can be very damaging to our Artistic Director, Assistant Artistic Director, and choreographers — it also demonstrates unprofessional behavior. Dancers and parents are always welcome to have a conversation about casting, but the appropriate time is after the production is over. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Final Cast

2024 Cast (TBA)


Understudies 2024 (TBA)

Notes: Understudies do not need to attend scheduled costume fittings as we don’t know which dancer you will be filling in for (the costume you wear will be altered, as needed, when the time comes). After the cast list is posted, please attend all scheduled rehearsals for your understudy role — as you are able.