We are excited to announce that we will be holding auditions on Saturday, September 11, 2021 for Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Dance Repertory Company Theatre’s Dances from the Nutcracker, this will be a more COVID friendly and flexible version of the Nutcracker featuring your favorite characters from the Nutcracker. Dancers aged 6 and up is invited to audition.

Dancers should come dressed ready to dance following MCA’s Ballet Dress Code for classes and arrive early enough to fill out an audition form. Parents of younger dancers are welcome to stay in the building during auditions, but will not be allowed in the audition space. Older dancers will want to allow for enough time to warm-up.

There is no fee to audition, but dancers who are cast should be enrolled in one dance class this fall session, will be required to pay a cast fee that help cover choreography instruction and costume fees, additionally families will be asked to complete volunteer duties or pay an opt out fee.

The COVID situation will be constantly monitored, but at this time all dancers will be masked for auditions, rehearsals, and performances. Performances will be held in the beautiful Page Theatre around Dec. 1-5, 2021 to a reduced capacity audience, with a streaming option. Please read the Q & A below for important details.

Audition Schedule – Sept. 11th at MCA

9:30 am = Doors up/registration

10:00 – 10:30 am = 6 year olds

10:00 – 11:15 am = 7 year olds

10:45 – 11:15 am = 8 year olds*

11:30 – 12:30 am = 9-12 year olds* 

12 – 5 pm** = 13+ years old (Warm up class to be held prior to auditions from 12 – 12:45 pm)

*Please note that some dancers may be asked to stay to participate in the next audition time slot.

**Dancers in this audition group may be held later or released early depending on the number of audition participants.

Dance from the Nutcracker Questions & Answers
Do dancers need to do anything to prepare for auditions?

With the exception of filling out an audition form and warming up prior to the audition dancers do not need to prepare anything. Dancers will be taught dance sequences and be observed by the choreographers. 

At what age can a dancer audition?

Dancers six years of age an older are invited to audition. However, auditioning does not guarantee casting. For the youngest dancers, we are looking at their ability to follow directions and remain engaged, for their success in the rehearsal and performance process.  Having a young child participate in at least one dance class prior to auditions can greatly improve their success in both the auditions and production process.

Do dancers need ballet experience to be cast?

Having some ballet experience is helpful, but not necessary to be involved in the production. Cast members will be required to be enrolled in a dance class to continue to improve their technique, artistry and terminology, ballet is a great option for this class, but for younger students any class is permissible. That said, the principal roles and all roles that are performed en pointe (in pointe shoes) require many years of ballet training. 

When & Where are Auditions

Auditions will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts’ home the Valenica Arts Center (1164 W. 10th Street, Winona, MN 55987)

Below is the break down of when dancers should come based on their age:

Audition Schedule – Sept. 11th at MCA

9:30 am = Doors up/registration

10:00 – 10:30 am = 6 year olds

10:00 – 11:15 am = 7 year olds

10:45 – 11:15 am = 8 year olds*

11:30 – 12:30 am = 9-12 year olds* 

12 – 5 pm** = 13+ years old (Warm up class to be held prior to auditions from 12 – 12:45 pm)

*Please note that some dancers may be asked to stay to participate in the next audition time slot.

**Dancers in this audition group may be held later or released early depending on the number of audition participants.

Are vaccinations & masks required?

Vaccinations are required for any dancer age 12 or older. This is due to Saint Mary’s University’s vaccination requirement and COVID regulations. At this time masks are required by all participants.

Are their speaking parts?

There are no speaking parts in The Nutcracker.  The entire story is told through the music and movement of the dancers.

Why are performers required to take a dance class in addition?

Taking a dance class, in addition to a weekly rehearsal, allows dancers to spend time learning the language and technique of dance, which will help them in the performances.  Additionally, dancers learn in class how to add personal artistry to their movement, which better helps them to tell the story to an audience that might not be familiar with the story.

The only exception is for college students who are enrolled in a dance class on their campus. 

What should I wear to auditions?

Dancers auditioning should adhere to MCA ballet dress code:

Students Identifying as Female – pink tights or appropriate skin-toned tights, pink ballet slippers/pointe shoes or appropriate skin-toned shoes, and a black leotard, hair pulled tightly off the face and neck in a bun.  A ballet skirt may be worn for pointe and variations classes. Pre-Ballet for 4 & 5 Year-olds and Beginning Ballet Students are also invited to wear pink leotards and simple ballet skirts (please non-tutu’s).

Students Identifying as Male – white t-shirt, black leggings/tights or shorts, and black or white ballet slippers (dance belt required for teen and adult male dancers). 

Gender Non-conforming Students-  fitted black t-shirt or leotard, black tights or leggings and black ballet shoes (dance belt as appropriate)

Adhering to this policy promotes safety and injury prevention, allows instructors to view the student’s bodylines and placement to make corrections, and provides a sense of tradition, discipline and respect.

What is the time commitment for dancers in the production?

The time commitment for dancers cast in The Nutcracker varies greatly dependent on age, dance experience level and role(s). The youngest dancers traditionally only have one rehearsal a week until the week or so leading up to the show. Older/more experienced dancers can expect to have multiple rehearsals a week during weekend nights and on the weekends.

Dancers are only allowed one excused absence of a rehearsal per month with written notice. However dancers are not allowed to miss mandatory tech week rehearsals (final week rehearsals).

Each family will be required to meet volunteer requirements or pay an opt. out fee.

Is there a fee to audition?

There is no fee to audition. Dancers who are cast pay a $100 production fee that helps cover costumes, teaching artists and more.  Dancers do not keep or have to purchase any costumes outside shoes, tights and undergarments. MCA is a non-profit organization and relies heavily on volunteers to help keep things affordable for families involved. Families/ older dancers will be asked to help out in various volunteer roles or pay $100 a buy-out fee.

Saint Mary’s University Students do not need to pay a production fee and may be eligible to get credit for the production. SMU students must still fulfill volunteer commitments.

 
What is the performance schedule & and where are performances?

The Nutcracker is our most intense Dance Repertory Company performance schedule, but it is quite an experience to perform for packed houses at the beautiful Page Theatre on the Saint Mary’s University Campus.

Here is the performance schedule:

Wednesday, December 1: 6:30pm

Thursday, December 2: 6:30pm

Friday, December 3: 6:30pm

Saturday, December 4: 2pm and 6:30pm

Sunday, December 5: 3pm