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A Young Dancer's Nutcracker Diary


aileen
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If you go onto ENB's twitter account (I'm sorry, I don't know how to post the link) there is a link to a charming account of one Tring Park student's experience of dancing in English National Ballet's current Nutcracker. Interestingly, not only was she in the party scene as a guest and the battle as a mouse but she was also singing the choral accompaniment to the snowflakes dance. The author seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the experience. It would be interesting to know whether she was still enjoying the experience after she has taken part in all 40 plus Nutcrackers. It must give her a very good insight into the life of a professional ballet dancer.

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Thank you so much for posting this as I wasn't aware of it. Especially good as Marina (the author) is a good friend of DD's.

 

The girls sing every year, but they are joined by a group of older singers too. In answer to your question about whether they are still enjoying themselves it's an emphatic YES! There are 2 casts (at least it was 2 when my daughter did it in year 7 - she left to move to Hammond for year 8) so they tend to do first half and second half of the run. Marina has done all 3 years, as have several others in current year 9 but all seem to be loving it this year as much as the first time! To be honest, Nutcracker is the one thing we miss the absolute most about Tring. It is just a magical experience, even though my DD's year was the torrid time when he was choreographing it as so accurately captured in the documentary 'Agony and the Ecstacy'.

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My daughter and I have watched that Agony and Ecstasy series so many times. We found it absolutely riveting. Could you see your dd in the programme, Regattah? It's probably just as well that the children only have to do 20 odd Nutcrackers each! I take it that the children go on tour as well (I think that this is the first year that ENB has toured their Nutcracker).

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Yes she is in it; you can see her clearly in the rehearsal studio. Unfortunately my son decided that we'd had it on our Sky planner for long enough and deleted it to make more room for football! I think it was the first half cast (red cast I think) which went to Southampton. I'm still FB friends with some of her Tring friends so that's how I know!

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The children do about 21 performances each...which is enough, although my ds and dd would happily have done all 40. We have just started....19 left to do! They all take part in the singing...boys too...unless they are tone deaf! This is our 6th Christmas in a row with Nutcracker and every year I say it will be the last but the children have gained so much from the experience. I think this could be our last year tho' as my lad will be too tall next year to be Freddie//Fritz and it might be pleasant to have a whole Christmas at home. I'm sure my littlest dd will have something to say about that as she will be wanting to enjoy it all again next year. Never say never! My older dd made good friends during her time dancing with the company...such a lovely bunch of people. I think it is something they will remember for the rest of their lives. Last year I sobbed buckets watching my 2 lead the curtain call with the principals....now that's something I'm not likely to enjoy again. Special memories. Lucky children!

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Thanks, kiwimum! I was wondering whether you'd got them to put your two in the same cast. You must surely be the longest running Nutmum.

 

In answer to the question, the children have to audition to be chosen. I'm sure height may come into it if you're exceptionally tall, but children usually come from years 1 to 3 although I'm sure I'm right in saying that you can be included in the 4th form as Clara (and party girl?) if you're small enough. Kiwimum will know more about that than me as my DD was only 1st year (year 7) when she left.

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I will pass that on to the children today. My 2 are loving it again and son wAs excited to get to hold Tamara's hand at the end.

 

The company ( not the school) selects the children. The audition in sept and the children rehearse in school before joining the company in rehearsal at jay mews. The dancers for this production are of different heights and range from year 5 to year 10.. In this production Clara is burgeoning into womanhood with a yearning for the handsome nephew so it was choreographed on year 10 girls although it has been danced by younger.

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