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COMMUNITY CAST FAQs

Updated 8/13/21

 

What is the purpose of an in person audition?

During the audition process, Ballet Arkansas assesses the following for each participant:

  • The development and range of participant's abilities

  • The mastery of new material - including memory recall

  • Confidence level and maturity 

  • Approximate costume measurements​

 

Why is it necessary to evaluate these things when casting dancers within a production?

  • For the experience to be an enjoyable one, it is important that each participant feels comfortable with the material assigned to his/her role and is able to recall the material successfully while on stage following a short rehearsal process. 

  • It is important to understand each participant's comfort with taking direction from adults that are not their regular teachers, while in settings that include participants that may not be their classmates.

  • It is important to assess which costumes may comfortably fit each participant at their current stage of development and to assign each participant's alternate in the other cast, in the instance that a costume shall be shared. 

 

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

Similar to try outs for a sports team or auditions for choir, an audition does not guarantee a place within the production. However, our staff makes its best effort to safely accommodate each participant's abilities so that every participant in an audition has the best possible chance of placement within a production.  

 

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

If a participant is unable to attend his or her assigned audition time, please email communitycast@balletarkansas.org. Depending on the volume of audition applicants, it may be possible for your dancer to attend an alternate audition time for a similar age group. It is best for each participant to be assessed among their peers in the same age group. 

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

Priority in casting shall be given to those that attend the audition in person so that the staff may have the opportunity to interact with each participant and assess them among his or her peers. If a participant is not able to attend the audition in person, participants may submit a short audition video to Ballet Arkansas for review prior to the date of the audition. This option should be viewed as a last resort and the staff will only accept a limited number of video auditions. Submitting a video audition requires a $65 fee, as the staff must take time to review the contents during hours not dedicated to managing the operations and programming for the professional company. Please contact communitycast@balletarkansas.org if you are unable to attend the open audition.

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

  • Each role has a limited number of costumes that were purchased or built for the production.

  • The size and space of rehearsal and performance changing areas must be considered for each participant's comfort and safety.

  • Public health guidance, and/or directives from city government or venue management shall be the final word in determining the overall number of allowable performers per production.

 

Who makes the decisions about casting? 

Casting decisions are made by the artistic staff with support from the production manager and community cast ballet masters. Casting is final upon completion.

 

Is it a requirement that participants are enrolled in dance classes if they wish to audition for a BA production?

In the past, Ballet Arkansas has required that each participant be enrolled in dance education for the upcoming year. This was to ensure that each participant has been introduced to the technical fundamentals of the steps present within their choreography, reducing the risk of injury during the rehearsal process. This was also to encourage each participant to experience the art of dance beyond the performance of dance choreography, and to foster a love for dance training. However, we understand that the pandemic has posed challenges for many families, and as a result, some have discontinued dance training for their child. Therefore, this year Ballet Arkansas highly recommends that dancers who audition for the Nutcracker are enrolled in dance classes during the year. Ballet Arkansas also recommends a minimum number of years of dance training for each age group:

  • Dancers 6-7 | 1-2 years

  • Dancers 8-9 | 2-3 years

  • Dancers 10-12 | 3-4 years

  • Dancers 13+ | 4-5 years

 

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 similar roles or within the same cast, Ballet Arkansas does not make casting decisions based upon any child's connection to any other member of the cast.

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

If you have multiple children who can only participate if in the same cast, please indicate this on your audition form. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate this request.

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

All potential conflicts must be disclosed on the audition form and in advance of accepting a role in the community cast. In order to preserve the integrity of the production and the productivity of our rehearsal process, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate conflicts. Moreover, conflicts may prevent a participant's admittance into the community cast.

 

What do audition and production fees cover? 

Ballet Arkansas presents productions that are of the professional level, including those that feature the company's professional dancers and live orchestral accompaniment. In the presentation of these productions, the organization incurs expenses for the time of auditioning, staging and rehearsing each child's choreography, the alteration and laundering of costumes, the rental of first-rate facilities, and for the use of a large crew to keep our performers safe and looking their best. The Nutcracker Spectacular is the largest and longest running holiday production in Arkansas, traditionally featuring more than 500 cast, crew, and volunteers. Production fees ensure our production continues to delight audiences by supporting a small portion of the overhead required to produce the production. 

Why has the production and costume fee increased since 2019?

This year, Ballet Arkansas' Nutcracker community cast will have the opportunity to perform alongside the professional ballet dancers of Ballet Arkansas in the production of the Nutcracker Spectacular and a world premiere Nutty Nutcracker, increasing the cast's performance opportunities in 2021. To safely produce this year's productions will require significant investment in the areas of costuming, cleaning, rehearsal staffing and facility rental.  This accounts for the modest increase in fees which support the integrity of the production and provide for optimal rehearsal and performance conditions. Payment plans are available for those in need. Please contact communitycast@balletarkansas.org to inquire about payment options and financial assistance.

Why are some rehearsals and costume fittings mandatory? 

As the region's preeminent professional dance organization, it is important that each Ballet Arkansas production looks its best for the public's enjoyment. For this to be possible, each participant must master his or her own choreography (including entrances and exits and the use of props) and costumes must fit properly to ensure production value is high. It is important for the staff to see the full cast of each role working together in unison to ensure each participant is prepared to shine on stage and looks his or her best. As well, mandatory rehearsals are used to prepare each participant for the variables he or she will face in the backstage area when in performance, and to ensure each group is able to seamlessly and safely interact with the groups that perform before and after them. 

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

While the story remains largely intact from year to year, it is common for elements of the choreography to change in order to provide new opportunities for cast members and to breathe new life into the state's largest and longest running holiday production. This year, Ballet Arkansas plans to make changes to various elements of the 1st and 2nd acts to celebrate the production's return to the Robinson Center following a year's hiatus. 

Will face coverings 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 to participants and staff and we consult frequently with authorities in health, including the Arkansas Department of Health, to review the most up to date information regarding safe practices. At this time, in response to the escalating case rise of COVID - 19 in Arkansas, face coverings shall be required during the audition and rehearsal process for all participants and staff. **However, in the event that conditions improve, Ballet Arkansas may in its sole discretion, make updates to this policy. 

My child doesn't want to wear a mask or can't.

We understand that these policies may not be comfortable for everyone and if you do not feel that your child will be able to complete the audition or the rehearsal process while masked, please reach out to us in advance of the audition and we will refund your audition fee and hope to see your child audition again in future seasons.

Will face coverings be required during performances for Ballet Arkansas productions that feature a community cast? 

Ballet Arkansas will assess the current state of the pandemic in Arkansas closer to each production's performances and may require participants within the production to wear a face covering while performing. It is also possible that public health directives, city ordinances, or venue restrictions may require this of Ballet Arkansas. **It is our sincere hope that face coverings will not be necessary within Ballet Arkansas productions that are a part of the 21|22 season. We will continue to consult with authorities in public health, including the Arkansas Department of Health, when making these decisions.

 

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

The studio lobby is closed to parents to expedite the audition process and to reduce potential exposures to participants and staff. This is also the policy of Shuffles & Ballet II, the owner of the facility, and the party to which Ballet Arkansas is bound to honor its building policies. 

 

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

Ballet Arkansas understands the need to provide a prompt outcome of the audition process to each parent/guardian. Ballet Arkansas staff will work as quickly as possible to finalize the casting of each participant, however the process requires consideration of many variables. 

 

Some of these variables include:

  • Assessment of each cast member's unique abilities and maturity level 

  • Cast member conflicts (as listed on audition form)

  • Costume sizes and numbers that are suitable for each cast member

  • Potential theater restrictions on the size of each cast allowed on stage or in dressing rooms

Ballet Arkansas will make every effort to inform each audition participant of the outcome of their audition no later than September 1st.

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

  • Ballet Arkansas staff is fully vaccinated. 

  • Participants and staff shall be required to wear a face covering for the duration of participant's time within Ballet Arkansas' community cast auditions/rehearsals.

  • The use of hand sanitizer shall be required upon entry and exit, and as deemed necessary by Ballet Arkansas staff.

  • Participants shall maintain social distancing from other participants at all times possible.

  • Studios will be disinfected by our staff prior to and following each audition/rehearsal.

  • Studio spaces shall be equipped with air purification units and shall be deep cleaned at the end of each day's rehearsals.

  • Participants shall check themselves at home for the following symptoms of COVID-19 prior to traveling to Ballet Arkansas each day. If any of the symptoms below are present, the participant must notify Ballet Arkansas immediately and shall refrain from participating in the program for the duration of time the symptoms are present. If symptoms become present while a participant is on site for rehearsal, Ballet Arkansas shall contact the parent/emergency contact and may require 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

How does Ballet Arkansas handle a positive or potential case of COVID-19?

  • Participants/staff who have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19 should contact communitycast@balletarkansas.org or (501) 223-5150 immediately. Participants/staff who have been tested positive for COVID-19 are not eligible to participate in Ballet Arkansas programs for a period of 10 days following their test result. Ballet Arkansas shall require a negative test result and the absence of all symptoms before participant is allowed to return to rehearsal.

  • Participants/staff who have been exposed to persons with confirmed cases of COVID-19 should contact communitycast@balletarkansas.org or (501) 223-5150 immediately. Participants who have been exposed to persons diagnosed with COVID-19 are not eligible to participate in Ballet Arkansas programs for a period of 10 days following their exposure, or a period of 5 days following their exposure with proof of a negative test result on the 5th day. A negative test result and the absence of symptoms of COVID-19 are required to return to rehearsal or performance. 

  • In the instance that one of Ballet Arkansas' participants/staff has tested positive for COVID-19, Ballet Arkansas will work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health to contact trace potential exposures to COVID-19. Ballet Arkansas will contact all participants/staff who are considered in close contact with the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, and shall remove them from rehearsal/performance immediately and follow the steps above. Furthermore, Ballet Arkansas will inform all Participants (18+) or the Parent/Guardians of dancers that were in rehearsal with the participant/staff who has tested positive for COVID-19 - even if they have not been deemed a close contact.

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

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

Ballet Arkansas staff and volunteers are scheduled on site during very specific periods each weekend. Shuffles & Ballet II has graciously accommodated the Ballet's requests for rehearsal space, and thus, we must ensure a timely arrival and departure of our cast members so not to congest the studio spaces when being used for other means. Staff and volunteer numbers take into account the expected flow of traffic and rehearsal demands for each weekend. Ballet Arkansas shall reserve the right to charge a late pickup fee, in the instance that support staff shall be compensated well beyond their assigned work periods to remain on site to supervise safe pickup of cast members. In the instance of anticipated late pickup in the case of emergency, please notify Ballet Arkansas at communitycast@balletarkansas.org at your earliest convenience.