Advice for Dancers

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

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

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 advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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