QUESTIONS

Answered

COMMUNITY CAST

 

 

What is the purpose of an in-person audition?

During the audition process, Ballet Arkansas assesses the following:

  • The development and range of each participant's abilities

  • Each participant's memory recall and master of new mateial

  • Each participant's confidence, acting ability, and maturity 

  • Each participant's approximate costume measurements​

 

Why is it necessary to evaluate these things when casting the production?

  • It is important that each participant feels comfortable with their assigned material and is able to clearly recall choreography while on stage 

  • To observe each participant's comfort level when taking direction from adults that are not their regular teachers, among peers that are not their classmates

  • To ensure costumes fit comfortably and to assign shared costumes

 

Does an audition guarantee a participant a role in the production? 

Similar to try-outs in athletics or auditions for choir, an audition does not guarantee a role within the production. Auditions are designed to safely and fairly assess each participant's abilities, and to provide the best chance of placement within the production.

 

What happens if a participant is not available to attend their designated audition time but is available at other times?

Participant unable to attend their assigned audition time should email education@balletarkansas.org. Depending on the number of attendees per audition time, it may be possible for participants to attend an alternate audition time for a similar age group. 

If a participant is not able to attend the open audition, are there other opportunities to audition for the production? 

Participants should make every effort to attend the open audition as casting takes place at this time. Participant unable to attend in-person may submit a short audition video for review prior to the audition date. This option is a last resort and a limited number of video auditions will be accepted. A $65 fee is applied to all video auditions, as the staff must dedicate time to review the contents of video auditions outside business hours. Please contact education@balletarkansas.org if you are unable to attend the open audition and would like to submit a video audition.

If a participant wants to audition for the Nutcracker Spectacular and Sleeping Beauty, could they be assessed for both productions in a single audition?

Ballet Arkansas auditions more than 200 participants each year for roles in the Nutcracker Spectacular. The production is the state's largest and requires the dedication of many hours to complete. Sleeping Beauty is also a large production and is very different in nature from the Spectacular. For this reason, and due to the high volume of anticipated participants at each audition, it is not possible to review participants for both productions at the same time. 

What are some of the variables that determine each cast's size and the number of participants cast in each role? 

  • The sizes and numbers of costumes for each role

  • The size of rehearsal, performance, and dressing room areas 

  • Directive from venues and authorities in goverment and public health

 

Who makes the decisions about casting? 

Casting decisions are made by the Artistic Staff and Community Cast Ballet Masters of Ballet Arkansas, supported by the organization's Production Manager and Costume Director. Casting is final upon completion.

Must you be enrolled in dance classes to audition for a BA productions?

In past years, Ballet Arkansas required enrollment to ensure a general understanding of technical material present within the production's choreography and to reduce the risk of injury to cast members. Ballet Arkansas highly recommends those interested in community cast opportunities enroll in dance classes during the year, though this is no longer a requirement. Ballet Arkansas recommends the minimum number of years of training needed to master the skills present within each age group's choreography.  

  • Dancers age 6-7 | 1-2 years

  • Dancers age 8-9 | 2-3 years

  • Dancers age 10-12 | 3-4 years

  • Dancers age 13-18 | 4-5 years

Does an audition participant need to prepare any material for the audition?

​There is no need to prepare choreography in advance of the audition.

How early should an audition participant arrive before the audition time?

Participants should arrive 15 minutes prior to their assigned audition time for check-in. The studio lobby is closed to the public and registered participants, volunteers, and staff members are the only individuals permitted on site during the audition.

Is there a dress code for audition participants?

Yes. Please visit https://www.balletarkansas.org/community-cast-auditions to review dress code requirements for all participants.

 

Is it possible for participants to be placed in the same role/cast as his or her classmates or friends?

While it is common for classmates and friends to be cast in the same roles, Ballet Arkansas does not make casting decisions based upon any participant's desire to be cast with their associates.  

Is it possible for my child to be placed in the same cast as his or her family member?

Participants with siblings that must be placed within the same cast should indicate this on their audition forms. Although we will make every effort to do so, we cannot guarantee accommodation of this request.

Why must I inform Ballet Arkansas about anticipated absences at community cast rehearsals? 

A full cast is needed to mirror the conditions of performance. Cast members are placed in specific formation and when holes in formations are present, this can be confusing and disrupt the rehearsal process. With the knowledge of anticpated absences in advance of the start of the rehearsal process, we have ample time to reach out to performers in the other cast to fill the spot for the day's rehearsal.  

What should I do if I have a conflict with a performance or rehearsal weekend?

Anticipated conflicts must be disclosed on each participant's audition form in advance of accepting a role within the cast. In order to preserve the integrity of the production, we cannot guarantee accommodation of conflicts. Moreover, conflicts may prevent a participant's admittance into the community cast.

 

What do audition and production fees cover? 

Ballet Arkansas presents productions at the professional level that include the company's professional dancers and oftentimes live music. The organiztion provides exceptional performance opportunities to community cast members and incurs significant expenses for the rehearsal of choreography, upkeep of costumes, rental of first-rate facilities, and engagement of stage crew. Fees support a small fraction of the overhead needed to make community cast production possible. Payment plans are available for those in need. Please contact education@balletarkansas.org to inquire about payment options and financial assistance.

Why are some rehearsals and costume fittings mandatory? 

Arkansas audiences deserve access to world-class programming, and they expect much of Ballet Arkansas in the presentation of its community cast productions. As one of America's Top 100 Ballet Companies, it's important that Ballet Arkansas productions look their best,  and for this to be possible, each participant must master their choreography and costumes must fit properly. Mandatory rehearsals polish the production and ensure each participant is prepared for the variables they will face in performance and in backstage areas. It is critical that cast members experience working with a full cast for their safety, and to provide insight to the performance process.  

Does the choreography for "The Nutcracker Spectacular" change each year?

While the story remains intact, it is common for choreography to change each year. 

What are "Understudies"?

Understudies are vital to the production and learn roles that provide them with opportunities to perfect their skills. Understudies should attend all rehearsals and may be cast within Student Matinee performances or performances when a cast member is unable to perform. Understudies will be assigned a specific spot to learn. Casting for Understudies will be announced closer to the performance date and is dependant upon each Understudy's mastery of the rehearsal material.  **All dancers cast as Understudies are cast elsewhere in the production also. 

Will masks be required during auditions and rehearsals for Ballet Arkansas productions that feature a community cast? 

Ballet Arkansas brings together performers of all ages from all parts of the state for community cast auditions and rehearsals. For this reason, we take precautions to prevent the spread of communicable illness and consult with experts in public when crafting our policies. At this time, masks are recommended but not required for auditions and rehearsals. This policy is subject to change. 

Will masks be required during performances? 

At this time, masks are not required during Ballet Arkansas performances. We will continue to consult with experts in public health as we assess conditions in our community. Ballet Arkansas reserves the right to require the masking of peformers and attendees at any time. 

 

Why am I not allowed to enter the building for the audition or rehearsals? 

This policy is for the safety of child participants to to prevent the spread of communicable illness to cast members. 

 

When will I be notified of the result of my child's audition? 

Ballet Arkansas works expeditiously to finalize casting, though the casting process requires the consideration of many variables. Ballet Arkansas will make every effort to inform each audition participant of the outcome of their audition as soon as possible.

 

Reasons why the casting process takes time:

  • We must assess each cast member's abilities and maturity level 

  • We must review hundreds of cast member conflicts  

  • We must find the right costume for each cast member

  • We must review updated venue requirements for dressing room occupancy 

Why is it important that I arrive on time for pickup of my child? 

Ballet Arkansas rehearsals are managed by staff and volunteers who are scheduled for very specific periods of time, and rehearsal sites are used by parties other than Ballet Arkansas. Ballet Arkansas reserves the right to charge a late pickup fee in instances that support staff shall be required to remain on site to supervise the late pick-up of cast members. If you anticipate late pick-up, please notify Ballet Arkansas at education@balletarkansas.org at your earliest convenience.

What is Ballet Arkansas doing to reduce the risk of transmission of communicable illness? ​

  • Ballet Arkansas staff is fully vaccinated and boosted. 

  • The use of a safe, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is required upon arrival and departure

  • Studios are deep cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis

  • Studio spaces are equipped with air HEPA air purifiers 

  • Cast members, staff and volunteers will screen themselves at home for the following symptoms of COVID-19 prior to traveling to Ballet Arkansas for auditions/rehearsals. If any of the symptoms below are present, or if close exposure to with parties with confirmed cases of COVID-19 is suspected, you must notify Ballet Arkansas immediately upon discovery. If symptoms of COVID-19 or severe illness become present while in rehearsal, Ballet Arkansas will contact cast member's parent/emergency contact and may require their immediate pickup. 

    • ​Fever or chills

    • Cough

    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    • Fatigue

    • Muscle or body aches

    • Headache

    • New loss of taste or smell

    • Sore throat

    • Congestion or runny nose

    • Nausea or vomiting

    • Diarrhea

 

​Have a question that's not listed here? Please email education@balletarkansas.org.