Jump to content

Casting workload questions


Recommended Posts

I was just wondering if anyone can help me about the factors that tend to influence  the choice of the casting of principals, and what this means for their workload. I have noticed, for example, that Francesca Hayward is only doing   6 performances  between February and June (2 each in Giselle, Winter's Tale, and Manon, including 1  only for schools) whereas  Marianela Nunez has about 15  performances  over this period.

 

There may be specific reasons (suitability for a role being one !) and no doubt Francesca also has various other outside commitments (I know she has done a couple of short films), but otherwise,  is it generally the case, for example, that the younger principals need to be nutured rather more, rather than being over-worked too early? 

 

On a slightly different point, the RB is very good at telling us  cast principals  in advance (and any changes thereto)  -  does the ENB do the same, and if so how long before the performance? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ENB tends to be a bit erratic on announcing its casting - I think it sometimes depends on dancer availability or lack thereof - sometimes it's a decent while before, and sometimes it isn't.  You could check this by looking at the various ENB casting threads.  They also aren't so good at announcing changes as the RB.  (OTOH, the RB's habit in recent times of not indicating in the cast sheet that a dancer has been replaced, even if it happened only a few days before, is something I find a bit discourteous to the audience, and to the replaced dancer).

 

Taking the dancers that you've mentioned as examples, firstly we should remember that these are only announced castings - it doesn't mean that they won't appear in other works, such as the new Wheeldon/McGregor.  Obviously (one would hope!) a scheduled debut ought to take up a lot more rehearsal time than reprising a role you've already danced - once you're as experienced as Nunez I'd imagine you could go from zero to performance-ready in a much shorter time.  It should perhaps also be mentioned that Nunez was built up to these roles slowly over her career - she did a lot of the secondary female leads such as Lescaut's Mistress and Myrtha before graduating onto Manon and Giselle.  Hayward is also appearing in the MacMillan programme at the Barbican: I know that dancers prepare quite a bit of "out-of-House" performances in their own time, but am not sure that would be the case here. 

 

I've also noticed in the past that there can be quite a drop-off in casting between "up-and-coming First Soloist" and "junior Principal" at the RB.  There can be a bit of a tendency to have to "go to the back of the queue" for new roles, whereas at the other end the most senior principals sometimes find themselves being taken out of roles so that more junior dancers can be moved up.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The RB film of Hayward being coached for Nutcracker (and used in the BBC documentary)  made the point very vividly that these big roles need an enormous amount of strength and stamina. You could see the strain, and the exhaustion, and the work of learning to pace and build the strength, - things we don't of course see in performance.... These rehearsal films are invaluable I find for deepening my appreciation of ballet. One can see that most young dancers would take time to build up that kind of stamina..and also, perhaps RB does wisely try to guard against making them overdo things and get injured. I suppose on the other hand, this can mean they don't always seem-and I use the word deliberately- to be getting enough such roles quickly enough... .

 

On the other hand it really makes me appreciate the steely toughness of a dancer like Nunez, as well as her grace and elegance.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Which reminds me that I'd intended to mention that Sergei Polunin seemed to feel that he was given too many new roles in a season once he'd been promoted to Principal.  It must be a very difficult juggling act for any AD, trying to give a dancer enough to keep them interested but not enough to overload them.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...