Lauren Anderson | Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle
Nutcracker Auditions are upon us and the anticipation of auditions and casting are on everyone's mind! We all have roles that we would love to be cast in! Many dancers have their heart set on Clara or Sugar Plum Fairy! But there is an echo of our teachers words on our minds..."there's no such thing as small parts, only small dancers!" I wondered what professional dancers thought about all their years in the Nutcracker and if their experience was better when they were in a "bigger" role. I asked Lauren Anderson, one of the first African American Principle Dancers with a major company, the Houston Ballet, what her favorite memory was, and I loved her response!
Lauren said "I remember being in Houston Ballet’s first Nutcracker in 1972 as a Mother Ginger child and wanting so desperately to dance the glamorous role of the Sugar Plum Fairy! Fast forward to 1983, when I did my first Sugar Plum. It was way harder than expected. After performing the role every Christmas until 2009. I remember telling the little Mother Gingers that they could grow up to be Sugar Plum Fairies just like me!"
Lauren's journey serves as a constant inspiration to dancers that you have to strive for what seems impossible, work hard to receive the honor of being cast in those big roles, and to cherish memories of playing the small parts that make the big parts so special. It's no wonder she is so highly respected!
Kali Kleiman | Photo Credit: Matt Silliman
So this year when we audition, let's go do our best. Let's be gracious to everyone auditioning, and let's be kind to ourselves no matter how we do in auditions. When the cast list goes up, let's be thankful knowing that we have been gifted with exactly what we need to challenge us, and let's thank our fabulous Coaches for knowing what our journey needs. We will strive to keep in mind that every role is important and that little ones are watching how we treat each other and our younger company members. This year will be our best Nutcracker ever, and next year will be even better!
Many thanks to Lauren Anderson for taking the time to reply and all the good work she does!