There are only a few featured roles in any ballet with many dancers hoping for a chance to perform them. Stock Snap.

So You're Not the Sugar Plum Fairy. Here's How to Move Past Casting Disappointment

This year I expected to be cast in a solo role in Nutcracker after adding private lessons and Pilates to my schedule. Yet I only landed a demi-solo part. How should I deal with this setback?

—Wannabe Sugar Plum, Bethpage, NY

Celebrate it! After all, you are moving in the right direction. There are only a few featured roles in any ballet with many dancers hoping for a chance to perform them. Your hard work moved you up a notch, so it isn't a setback. Now, do your best to nail it!

Next year, rather than expecting to be cast in a leading role like the Sugar Plum Fairy, try to set up other Nutcracker gigs on your own. Contact your old dance school (where they may be thrilled to have you back as a professional), or find an enterprising dancer who's looking for a partner. This type of experience will help you develop as a performer. I've even seen dancers get promoted by their companies after they did outside gigs that enhanced their range.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.