The subject of casting comes up a few times a year, and it can be a sensitive issue. People sometimes take things personally, making themselves and everyone around them miserable. I thought I would explain how the process works.
First of all, casting a ballet or a show is a huge puzzle. A place for everyone, and every part gets filled. There are factors like who can partner whom, how the heights go together, and who can wear the costumes. Who has time to change. Who looks good dancing with whom. Who has endurance on pointe for that tech week. Who is strong technically, and who is strong artistically.
Each part affects all the other parts. More often than not, I can’t make a decision I want because of how it affects everything else. Sometimes, the two parts I would like someone to have won’t work because they occur at the same time on stage. There is trying to see that everyone gets a challenge during the year, but a challenge that can be met. Sometimes a dancer will have wonderful role in one ballet, but not in the next. Sometimes we have to look ahead to future performances, trying to be as fair as possible. We also consider the growth of the dancers and of the company. Some of the most talented dancers need the most protection while they are growing or injured. There is value in earning your way up.
Of course, dancer strengths are considered — after all, there is an audience out there! And everyone wants to show off well. It is better to do something that is too easy than something that is chancy. Someone said to me a few weeks ago, “I saw the ballet on tape, and thought it would be a piece of cake. But it really kicked my ***!” All ballet is more difficult than it looks.
We really care about how people feel, but in a professional company, no one cares. If you don’t like how you are cast, learn to brush it off. Be happy for your friends. The important thing is how well you do with what you are given. It’s a tough world out there and if you are going to be emotionally prepared to be a dancer, this is just one of the things you need to learn.
We could be one of those companies who does recitals:everyone gets a solo and everyone is happy. Or one of those companies who puts little people in the middle of a grand pas. But we are South Bay Ballet! We are proud to be part of something truly fine.
South Bay Ballet