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Tips for your Nutcracker Audition 2017

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 is now the Program Manager of Education & Community Engagement with the Houston Ballet.  Her retrospective words made me think about how every role we are cast in builds us up to prepare us for our next role.  A dancer could hardy expect to be cast in a role she wasn't prepared for, so maybe there is a lesson of patience and preparation in her words.  She also made me realize that each of us serves as an inspiration to those younger than us.  We each need people to look up too not only for our own personal growth, but to show us how to grow with respect for all dancers taking their journey.  Each journey is unique and beautiful and needs to be influenced by humility and love.

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!

Written By, 

Kali Kleiman
Audition Dancewear Ambassador
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Kali's Nutcracker Blog Post from 2016: Read Here