Ask Amy - Web Exclusive

Published in the December 2011/January 2012 issue.

My Nutcracker auditions didn’t go as planned—I’m only in snow and flowers corp. I’m having a hard time listening to the other dancers talk about their parts. How can I get over this? —Olivia
 I’ve been in your shoes, and know how disappointing it feels when you don’t get the role you want. Once, I really let it get to me. I complained constantly, felt sorry for myself, lost motivation and bitterly critiqued everyone else’s dancing. I made myself totally miserable and couldn’t wait for the shows to be over. I don’t recommend this strategy.

A better way to deal with your situation is to stop thinking of your roles as “just” snow and flowers. The corps de ballet isn’t a trash heap for rejects! You’re a very important part of the show—who wants to see Swan Lake without swans? Snow and flowers are two of the most beautiful sections in Nutcracker and audience favorites. Feel proud to be a part of them.

Throw yourself into your roles to distract yourself from negative feelings. You’ll find deeper enjoyment in the rehearsal process and improve as a dancer and artist. There’s also no harm in asking to understudy one of the featured roles for fun. And as hard as it seems, be supportive of your colleagues—they’re probably under a lot of pressure and feeling nervous. Maybe you’re not ready for a lead this year, but use that as motivation towards next year’s audition rather than a source of misery.