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Ballet - General
So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever! (karma: 10)
By allegro13 Comments: 997, member since Tue Oct 10, 2006
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 09:39 AM
Edited by allegro13 (168229) on 2008-10-05 10:01:23
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2008-10-07 17:10:49

I decided to make this post after getting a call from my close friend last night. She was sobbing hysterically on the phone about how she had gotten a terrible part in Nutcracker. I think at some point, we all get knocked down by casting, so I'm writing this guide on how to get back up. Please feel free to add your own tips as well. :) I hope this can help everyone at least a little.


And the bad news is...

You didn't get the part you wanted. The girl you hated got it. Or, sometimes even worse, your best friend got it. Or some other random girl got it. The point is, you didn't. Your crushed, upset, jealous, angry, and maybe slightly insulted. You feel like your not good enough and think that crawling into a hole for 200 years sounds like a great idea. You feel like strangling your artistic director or bawling at the top of your lungs. Don't worry, we've ALL been there at some point. (or will be...) Hopefully, these steps will help you recover.

When it happens....

That one piercing moment when you look at the cast list, you feel like you've been hit in the gut. You might feel like crying or screaming, or being a slightly sore loser. Don't. This is what NOT to do when you find out you've gotten a less-than-ideal part:

DON'T....

Start Crying:: At least not in public. You don't want to look like a spoiled baby, crying in front of your whole studio because you didn't get a great part. If tears come to your eyes, take several deep breathes. Breathe deeply, shut your eyes, and try to compose yourself. Keeping breathing. Quit staring at your name. Get a drink of water and try to relax. If you absolutely have to cry, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.
Make Excuses: This is one of my casting pet peeves. Please, if you get a bad part, don't make excuses. "Well, I must have got this because the teacher is mad at me." Or "Susie got this because she is the teacher's favorite." Even if it's completely true, don't. Keep your mouth closed. If you make excuses, you will look immature and whiney. (nothing wrong with thinking it, though... ;) )
Demand to Know Anything: Don't go running up to your teacher demanding to know what's up. #1. You'll look a little crazy, and #2. You emotions are running high, and you might say things you will really regret later. That's why, after casting, it's to keep your mouth shut until you calm down. You don't need an explaination about your part right now. (that comes in later...)
Don't Make Excuses for Others: Don't bring down others. That is the worst mind set to have: "If I'm going down, she's going with me" You don't know you didn't get that part. You also don't know why she got that part, even if you think you do. Maybe she worked as hard as you did. So no matter how tempted, don't rain on someone else's sunshine. Even if makes you feel better right then, in the long run, you'll feel worse.
Don't Gossip About Anything: It ALWAYS gets back to the teacher, even if you don't think it will. Don't complain. Don't whine. Not even to your best friend. Wait until later, you time to complain is coming up. ;) Keep your mouth closed.


Why Didn't I Get the Part? Well...I don't know. Maybe the teacher didn't think you were ready. Maybe someone else performed better on the day of auditions. Teachers have all sorts of reasons for casting, and it doesn't always nessecarily come down to who's a better dancer, either. It's definitely not always fair.

44 Replies to So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever!

re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By dancer123321 Comments: 605, member since Thu Sep 11, 2008
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:42 AM
Edited by dancer123321 (201722) on 2008-10-05 11:44:26 spelling :(
Wow thanks for posting this!!!! It should be made a sticky. I don't know the feeling myself, but I had a girl in my class who was a senior and another girl who was a great dancer and my teacher wanted them both to dance the sugarplum fairy. Well the other girl was fine with that but the senior said, "I'd rather have a different part than dance with ____ !" Yeah well she ended up geting sugarplum all to herself but the other girl still got an amazing solo.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By DDCdancerx Comments: 300, member since Sat Jul 12, 2008
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 01:24 PM
Thanks for posting this, Allegro :). Karma going your way.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By Thousand Comments: 39, member since Sat Sep 06, 2008
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 02:46 PM
This is gonna help. I have a junior adagio tryout today, and I MIGHT not make it.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By RosePremium member Comments: 9216, member since Sat Dec 30, 2006
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 03:15 PM
I would like to add:

DO's

Say you are disappointed: You are allowed to say in an adult way: "I'm so sorry I didn't get the part I wanted. I hope for better next time." If you respond as mature as this, people will respect you. When you say mean and awful things, people will avoid your presence in the future.

Make a small joke about it: Like in A Chorus Line where someone responded to his rejection with: "Jee, they didn't see my talent", someone else with: "Well, I'm not Nureyev", and another with: "They never sent me away this quickly before."
- I know the quotes are not exactly the same, just want to give people inspiration -

Try to find out why: Not immediately after you have seen the casting list or has been sent away in an audition, but shortly after that you can call a secretary or someone you know from the organisation and ask what you should work on to get the role next time or get accepted.
- I have had a secretary on the phone reading to me ALL the remarks of ALL the commission members why I was rejected. :) Extremely educational! -
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever (karma: 1)
By allegro13 Comments: 997, member since Tue Oct 10, 2006
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 05:40 PM
Thanks everyone...it actually posted before I was done, and I just realized it! So, here is the rest: :)

So I Didn't Get It, What Next? It stinks when you don't get the part you wanted. But, you CAN bounce back, stronger and better than ever. So, let's get started:

Scream, Cry, and Rant: Yep, it's time for the tantrum. Just make sure you get home. Go to your room, and scream and cry and bawl all you want. Yell that it's wrong and unfair, scream long and hard into your pillow, and cry until you have no more tears. Rant and vent to a sibling, your parents, a best non-ballet friend. (I personally find it difficult to discuss parts and rejection with ballet friends, since you are often trying for the same parts) anyone who is a little more distant from the studio and has a listening ear. Some people think crying (ONCE YOU ARE AT HOME OR AWAY FROM THE STUDIO) weak. It's not. You totally need to get it out of your system. So wallow in self-pity. Throw a pity party!

Throw the Ultimate Pity Party: Cry and rant as much as you want. Write it in your journal. Get all the negativity out of your system. Do something you enjoy. Take a hot bath with some yummy scented soap. Paint your nails. Have a spa. Read trashy magazines and watch movies. Have a sweet treat. Pamper yourself a little. It will make you feel much better.

The Next Day: It's time to move on. Piting yourself for too long just makes you tired and depressed. Move on. It's a new day, and a new chance.

Big Truth: PERSPECTIVE IS PRICELESS

How To Move On: It's time to start fresh. You have an oppertunity here, and it is make or break. It's how you handle yourself with rejection. Dancer or not, everyone faces rejection of some kind at some point. You can't change the situation, but you can change how you handle it.

Keys to moving forward:

Question: The first questions you should ask are to yourself. Did you do your best? Did you try your hardest? Did you do everything you could have done? Is the answer to all these yes? Then...
Accept: Accept it for what it is. You did everything you could do and exhausted every effort. You gave it your all. There is nothing else you can do. :) Sometimes, it's just the way the tide turns.
Congratulate: Yes, this is tough. Congratulate your peers. Say "Good job! You must have worked hard. You deserve it." Say it with a smile, a good attitude, and MEAN it. It will be hard, but it will make you look better in the eyes of teachers, parents, and the girls. You will look like a strong, sweet, and confident person, all of which qualities are JUST as important as being a good dancer.
Change Your Mindset: Don't think: "I wasn't good enough. I'm awful." Instead, try: "Hey, this wasn't my year. I did my best, and next time my best will be better."
Persevere: Keep going. Work hard in class. Be on time, be precise, and respectful to your teacher. Work as hard as you can, and ask what you can do better. You may even ask your teacher (in a polite, cheerful tone): "I really wanted ___ in Nutcracker this year. I'd like to improve so when I audition next year, I will be a little more prepared. What could I work on? What do I need to do better?" Teachers LOVE it when their students want to improve. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. (cliche, but VERY true)
Love Every Moment: You love dancing, right? Well, when you feel like dancing just isn't worth it without this part, shake that thought out of your hard. Admire your turns. Bask in the glory of your jumps. Love whatever you do well, and dance with your heart. Enjoy it, and it will make things seem better than what they are. Dance is first and foremost a fun expression of the soul. Express what you are feeling through your movement, and love what you are doing.
Make Something out of Nothing: Even if your part stinks, do your absolute best with it. Make it perfect. Enjoy backstage fun with your friends. Forget rejection, studio politics, and enjoy performing. THERE IS A NEXT YEAR. Work with what you've got, and in the long run you will be better and stronger than ever before.

Something Doesn't Seem Right? if your teacher has been acting strange towards you, and you REALLY think something might be wrong (teacher punishing you by casting, which is rare, but happens) set up a meeting, probably with a teacher and your parent. Explain politely: "Miss Susie, I noticed that you've been acting a little different with me lately, and I wondered if my casting was based on that. I just want to make sure I didn't do anything wrong, and if I did, I want to apologize and move on." DO NOT ASK HER TO CHANGE YOUR PART, DO NOT DEMAND AN EXPLANATION, DO NOT THREATEN (to quit, drop out of the show, etc) THIS WILL MAKE YOU SEEM IMMATURE AND ANNOYING, AND MOST LIKELY WILL AFFECT YOUR STANDING IN FUTURE PRODUCTIONS (also, you never know who your teacher may know....)

Teachers have different reasoning for casting people. It's not always decided on ability. Sometimes it's things like hair color, or height, or how a dancer works in a group. I once heard about a studio where there was a huge uproar over the teacher's choice of Clara. She wasn't the best dancer, but the teacher explained that she had an aura of sweetness around her that translated straight to innocent little girl. teachers, directors, and choreographers all have different ideas, and you will not please everyone, so quit trying. Dance like you, and dance your best everytime. Someday, you'll be someone's exact idea of something. :)

"Minds are like parachutes-they only function when open."-Thomas Dewar

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave
a trail."-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."-Robert F.
Kennedy

"Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream.
Discover."-Mark Twain

"Impossible is nothing."-Adidas

"When no one believes in you, believe in yourself."

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes
on."-Robert Frost

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, rather, a
habit."-Aristotle

"People putting you down can drive you to do things you never thought you could
do yourself."
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By clizaire Comments: 32, member since Sat Jul 05, 2008
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 05:52 PM
This was so helpful as I recently got a part in Nutcracker that I'm not very proud of. Major karma :)
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By TutuU222 Comments: 1250, member since Thu Aug 14, 2008
On Sun Oct 05, 2008 06:17 PM
This is a really great list and I'm sure will help many dancers come to grips with the reality of Nutcracker (and other) casting.

I was an assistant artistic director for many years and the audition process is never an easy one. We worry constantly about crushing our dancers emotionally. We know we cannot make everyone happy, so you try to make as many “unhappy” dancers as you can.

When you are chosen for a part there are so many things to look at. For example, in our production of the Nutcracker the Dew Drop Fairy must have an elegant, soft quality, but must also be an excellent jumper. But she must also be able to have the stamina to do the choreography from start to finish without a drop in energy – in fact the way our Nutcracker is choreographed, she must have the MOST stamina right at the end, not to mention doing 32 fouettes near the end too. It is very hard to find a dancer with ALL of these qualities. Not to mention the impeccable technique that is needed because she’s in a short tutu and pointe shoes and nothing is hidden! The thing that eliminates dancers the most from this role is stamina, and the inability to carry the stage for such a long time. There must be something special that draws your eyes to the dancer. So out of a room of 20 dancers thinking, “I hope I get it,” you can see why only one or two actually DO get the part. There are 20 different things this dancer must possess.

The day I hate the most is the day casting is posted, because I know no matter how hard we try (and believe me, we are up for almost 3 days straight trying to get the best casting we can), we cannot and will not make every dancer happy. Some dancers have very unrealistic ideas of their own abilities and there’s nothing we can do about that.

We do not discuss with parents or dancers why they did or did not get a certain roll. They must trust that it is the best cast for the whole of the production and they should go to every class and try their hardest, and every audition and try their hardest, and if they are lucky, they will someday, maybe, get the part that they see themselves in.

I hate the Nutcracker for this reason. Because I do not want to crush anyone’s dreams, and reality, even for us on the other end, stinks too. So when you are feeling upset about not getting the role, think about us on the other side of the table and how hard we work to make EVERYONE happy. I too have shed many tears because I knew I would have to make some dancers unhappy. It’s a huge puzzle to put together and we try to think of everyone not only as dancers, but as people too. It’s all part of dancing and performing. It comes with the territory.

Thank you for posting this list. It shows a very mature way of thinking.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By poptart22 Comments: 426, member since Thu Dec 28, 2006
On Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:36 AM
STICKY!!! I love this post! It is excellent! This is really helpful for me, because there are always 2 Claras, and I think I would have gotten one, but there is no one my height to share the part with. Boo-hoo. Karma!!!
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever (karma: 1)
By allegro13 Comments: 997, member since Tue Oct 10, 2006
On Tue Oct 07, 2008 02:31 PM
The In's and Out's of Studio Politics:

Sometimes, casting isn't based on dancing alone. (which, yes, stinks in multiple ways) Here are some things directors might take into account when casting: (besides actual dancing, obviously!)
Age: You might be the best dancer in the school at age 12, but that doesn't mean you will be cast in a leading role. Some teachers often use older dancers first, (even if they aren't the best) because the older you are, the less time you have at the school, so they want to get the most out of their older dancers while they can. Sometimes, frankly, it looks a little odd to see a tiny 12 year old dancing the Dew Drop Fairy in the Nutcracker. They want parts to be believable, which often means casting older or younger than dancing ability shows. Also, the teacher may want to save SOMETHING for when your older! :)
Looks: Height is a big player some casting descisions, especially in a corps de ballet, where everyone wants to look and dance as one person. If you are five inches shorter, (or taller) than the rest of the girls in your line, then things might look a little off. It's awful, because most dancers have no control over their size, especially height. Coloring can also come into play. If you are dancing the Little Swans in Swan Lake, they are supposed to be identical, so the director may want girls with the same color hair. Some teachers prefer a dark-headed Clara, or a blonde. But remember, just because you may not look the part, doesn't mean the teacher thinks you can't dance the part.
Seniority: Yep, sometimes older dancers get special privledges. Sometimes casting has to be earned. I know at my old studio, getting the role of the Dew Drop Fairy in Nutcracker was a rite of passage that every older dancer wanted. Some parts are reserved for the older students because they showcase the student's year's of hard work with the studio. Also, dancer's who have been at the studio longer may be first in line. But if you are new, be patient! The longer your there, the more they will know they can count on you.
Responsibility: Is there a girl that may not be the best dancer, but is responsible, always there and ready to work? If so, she may a shoo-in for a part. Teachers HAVE to be able to count on their students to attend rehearsals, so those who are the best dancers, but aren't always there, may be second in line for roles. :)
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By VulcanIdiotmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 862, member since Sun Feb 19, 2006
On Sun Nov 02, 2008 09:46 PM
I can understand not wanting to make this thread controversial, but I feel like you should address race in this post. I just got casted as the mother in my studio's nutcracker, and I think the reason why is because the little girl that got casted as Clara was the only other "ethnic" girl at the studio.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By pointegrl22 Comments: 68, member since Fri Oct 24, 2008
On Tue Nov 04, 2008 02:15 PM
my sister just went over that problem (I don't try out yet) my mom got mad and called the studio. my mom asked my sis to do her part and she was really good at it, so that goes to show that all you said is true. yeah, she felt like a complete idiot.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By tresbienmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1104, member since Sun Feb 17, 2008
On Wed Nov 19, 2008 08:24 PM
Edited by tresbien (192160) on 2008-11-19 20:26:29 i forgot stuff
at my studio, it doesnt matter who you are, if you're the best at your part you get it!!

and in the passed years clara was always a junior or senior, and some people didnt really like that idea (the age requirment was 14+) since clara is supposed to be a younger girl

well this year they changed it to 11-14 and I tried out (since I'm 14) and I actually got the role!! I was so happy!!

but last year I was 13 and I got cast as dew drop fairy!!
the corps was like two years older than me
the corps was en pointe, and the teacher didnt want me en pointe
(she wanted dew drop to be a little and dainty that year, and not en pointe)

this year dew drop is clara (what do you know?) and yes I get to be en pointe in that part, and the corps is too

sometimes, things just randomly happen

it just depends on the studio =]
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By odile53 Comments: 1913, member since Thu Sep 06, 2007
On Fri Nov 21, 2008 02:51 AM
If you think casting is rough in your studio, wait until you are going to open auditions. There isn't a professional alive who hasn't heard, "Thank you for coming" more times than (s)he cares to think of. Think of studio production casting as preparation for the real thing as a pro. If you have any aspirations of a professional career, think of rejection in studio casting as training for the day you audition for a show, and are not picked for it. It WILL happen. The reason may be something as trivial as who will fit into whatever costumes are on hand, the hair color of specific dancers, and all sorts of things that have nothing to do with actual dancing.

It's a good thing to develop some emotional maturity about this: You do not want to develop a reputation in dance circles of going to pieces over not getting a part. The dance community is small, even in big cities, and word travels fast. One major quality a dancer has to cultivate is enough strength of personality to be able to handle rejection without experiencing devastation, and to be able to go to the next audition ready to perform one's best and snag the NEXT part.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By ballerinagirl66 Comments: 411, member since Sat Oct 06, 2007
On Mon Nov 24, 2008 04:29 PM
This is such a great post!! It really is hard to deal with rejection, and this post helpfully addresses that issue. Great job allegro! :D
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By PainedBeauty Comments: 177, member since Wed Aug 27, 2008
On Sun Dec 07, 2008 07:27 PM
Such a great thread... I know I'll probably be making great use of this at some point. I like the ending quotes, too :)
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By returntothesky Comments: 62, member since Tue May 20, 2008
On Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:58 AM
Wow...I wish I had had this sticky (and this whole forum, actually!) back when I quit dance when I was 11 because I was all pre-teen angsty about not getting a part I wanted.

You rock :)
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By Knobby221 Comments: 30, member since Sun Oct 19, 2008
On Fri Jan 02, 2009 06:19 PM
thank you for this. I really want this part. my teacher said i had it nailed until these two really good girls came. I think they are totally going to get the part. I have a chance but just in case i know how to handle it. THANK YOU!
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By Bella_rina1993 Comments: 23, member since Sun Nov 19, 2006
On Sat Jan 03, 2009 01:41 AM
Thank you, that was really helpful! At my dance studio, for the past few years the big solos and more challenging parts were given to the older dancers 2 grades above mine. Because they were always the most advanced, they always got the solos - in Pas de Quatre, in Paquita and in La Bayadere. In my grade we always were the corps de ballet, even though some of us are just as capable as the older dancers. We always found it unfair, because at the same level they had danced pas de quatre, we were just the corps in La Bayadere. However, at the end of year show in 2008 I was given my very first big part - Swanhilda in Coppelia! It really just depends on the teacher. Some will just give the most advanced dancers more opportunities than others.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By sugerplumfairy Comments: 1164, member since Fri Nov 09, 2007
On Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:03 PM
Great post
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By enpointe12 Comments: 40, member since Sun Jan 11, 2009
On Sat Jan 24, 2009 07:20 PM
Thank you so much! This really helped me. It's so well written and helps me understand so much better! I love ballet so much, and this really helped inspire me.
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By DanSer4Gsusmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 134, member since Tue Feb 03, 2009
On Tue Feb 10, 2009 06:47 PM
Those reasons for different casting make a ton of sense. I wish my teacher read those. Last year, I got cast as a stepsister in Cinderella, just because my sister (who looks just like me) was doing the show too. And then she didn't even end up doing it. (Not to mention that the girl cast as Cinderella was a brunette, while I'm blonde... and have been dancing longer, it was her first year on pointe and my 3rd).
Also, I just got cast as a vampire in Firebird. Obviously, after Cinderella last year, my teacher knows I can't dance evil parts, so I have no clue what she was thinking. Also, I'm a senior this year, and Firebird was going to be my last performance at my studio before going to college. But, since I know I won't be able to do my best as a vampire, and I definately won't be happy about it, I dropped out. Not to mention that it is sort of pricy, and I didn't want to put another financial burden on my family. However, everyone at my studio thinks that I'm spoiled for dropping out just for not getting the Firebird (which was the part I wanted) :/
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By AvantBallet Comments: 20, member since Wed Apr 29, 2009
On Fri Jun 05, 2009 09:34 AM
So many reasons for different casting. Good luck!
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By dancerbunny93 Comments: 27, member since Sun May 17, 2009
On Mon Jun 29, 2009 04:41 PM
Favorite Sticky Ever! Thanks all!
re: So you didn't get the part: A guide to overcoming bad casting and bouncing back better than ever
By PasDeMoi Comments: 73, member since Tue Jul 14, 2009
On Wed Aug 12, 2009 06:31 PM
Edited by PasDeMoi (214005) on 2009-08-12 18:33:49
Thanks so much for posting this, it's really helpful and provides a fresh way of looking at casting ---- without making me terribly upset ;) Thank you again for this useful guide.

PasDeMoi
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