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The Nutcracker Auditions

The Nutcracker Auditions will be open to the public on September 8 & 9 at San Jose Dance Theatre.

Online registration strongly encouraged. Please review the casting call information below and register online! It is important you register before the audition.  

A warm up will be given to everyone who auditions, except for actors auditioning and for the call back audition.

Please note: San Jose Dance Theatre will only hold regular classes on Saturday, September 8th for Pre-Ballet and Level 1 Ballet & Chinese Tumbling, and Mr. David’s Open Class. No classes will be held for Levels 2-6 due to those students attending the Nutcracker auditions.

Dancer and Actor Castings Calls

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

9:00-10:00am Registration
10:00-11:30am Audition for Pre-Intermediate Dancers Ages 8-11 (Male & Female, No pointe shoes). Approximate SJDT Levels: Level 2, 3.

10:45-11:45am Registration
11:45am-1:30pm Audition for Intermediate Dancers Ages 8-14 (Male & Female, 0-2 years on pointe). Approximate SJDT Level: Level 4A, 4B

1:00-2:00pm Registration
2:00-4:00PM Audition for Advanced Dancers Ages 11+ & Advanced Adult Dancers (Male & Female, 2+ years on pointe)*. Approximate SJDT Level: Level 5A, 5B, 6
*be available on Sunday for possible call backs

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

9:00-10:00am Registration
10:00-10:45AM Audition for Girls & Boys Ages 6-8. (No previous ballet training required.) Approximate SJDT Levels: Pre-Ballet, Level 1

10:00-11:00am Registration
11:00am-12:00PM Adults and Actors (No previous ballet training required.) SJDT Open Class, Adult actors and dancers.
1:00-3:00PM Call backs for advanced dancers in leading parts

Participation fee: $225.00

Casting Call for Girls & Boys Ages 6-14

Children are cast in a variety of acting and dancing roles in Act 1 and Act 2 of The Nutcracker, based on their audition and experience. No previous dance experience required. The artistic team will teach all dance choreography for roles, including Cherubs (ages 6-8), Lambs, Soldiers (7-10) and Mice, Cookies, Chinese Attendants and Party Scene Children (8-14). Children may be cast in one or multiple roles, depending on cast size, as well as an individual child’s abilities and focus. Every attempt is made to cast all children who audition.

No previous dance experience required. However, younger children must be mature for their age. Children cast must be capable of receiving and processing directions easily, able to wait patiently during rehearsals (approximately 1 hour of rehearsal per role, per weekend) and able to sit quietly while offstage.

Children cast must be available for weekly weekend rehearsals and performances. Once casting has been announced, each child will receive a schedule outlining rehearsal times for their role(s), updated every 2 weeks (times below are subject to change):

  • Weekend Rehearsals (may be Saturday and/or Sundays) from mid-September through the performances
  • Mandatory Run-Through on Sunday, Dec. 2
  • Tech Rehearsals in the week leading up the first performance
  • Performances- December 7-9 & December 14-16

Casting Call for Intermediate Dancers Ages 8-14 (Male & Female, 0-2 years on pointe)

Dancers are cast in ballet roles based on their audition and experience. The artistic team will teach all dance choreography for roles, including Clara’s Best Friend, Reindeer, Mouse Captain, Russian Attendants, Chinese Attendants, Arabian Attendants, Lead Angels. Dancers may be cast in one or multiple roles, depending on cast size and dance ability. Every attempt is made to cast all dancers who audition.

Dancers cast must be available for weekly weekend rehearsals and performances. Some roles may require weekday evening rehearsals. Once casting has been announced, each dancer will receive a schedule outlining rehearsal times for their role(s), updated every 2 weeks (times below are subject to change):

  • Weekend Rehearsals (may be Saturday and/or Sundays) from mid-September through the performances
  • Mandatory Run-Through on Sunday, Dec. 2
  • Tech Rehearsals in the week leading up the first performance
  • Performances- December 7-9 & December 14-16

Casting Call for Advanced Dancers Ages 11+ & Advanced Adult Dancers (Male & Female, 2+ years on pointe)

Dancers are cast in ballet roles based on their audition and experience. The artistic team will teach all dance choreography for roles, including, Snowflake, Waltz of the Flowers Corps de Ballet. Solo roles include Clara, Nutcracker Prince, Ballerina Doll, Columbine Doll, Harlequin Doll, Mouse King, Snow Prince and Snow Queen, Dew Drop Fairy and Cavalier, along with Divertissement Solos: Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabian Princess, Prince and Russian Leads. Dancers may be cast in one or multiple roles, depending on cast size and dance ability. Every attempt is made to cast all dancers who audition.

Requirements for Female Dancers:

  • Minimum of 3 years of ballet training
  • Minimum of 2 years of pointe shoe training
  • San José Dance Theatre Levels 5 and up, other studios’ levels may vary

Requirements for Male Dancers:

  • Minimum of 3 years of ballet training
  • Partnering experience desired but not necessary
  • San José Dance Theatre Levels 5 and upother studios’ levels vary

Dancers cast must be available for weekly weekend rehearsals and performances. Some roles may require weekday evening rehearsals. Once casting has been announced, each dancer will receive a schedule outlining rehearsal times for their role(s), updated every 2 weeks (times below are subject to change):

  • Weekend Rehearsals (may be Saturday and/or Sundays) from mid-September through the performances
  • Mandatory Run-Through on Sunday, Dec. 2
  • Tech Rehearsals in the week leading up the first performance
  • Performances- December 7-9 & December 14-16

Casting Call Adult Actors

Adult actors are cast primarily in The Nutcracker Party Scene. Actors will portray 1820’s adults at a holiday party with their “children”. The Party Scene sets the stage for the ballet production. Rehearsals for the Party Scene take place each Sunday for 2-3 hours. Actors must be ready to learn and practice basic dance choreography and acting from the Artistic Director. No prior dance or acting experience required.

Actors must be available weekly for all rehearsals and performances (times below are subject to change):

  • Sunday Rehearsals from mid-September through the performances
  • Mandatory Run-Through on Sunday, Dec. 2
  • Tech Rehearsals in the week leading up the first performance
  • Performances- December 7-9 & December 14-16

Nutcracker Production Frequently Asked Questions:

San Jose Dance Theatre is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop, foster, and promote the art of dance for youth in Silicon Valley. San Jose Dance Theatre produced San Jose’s first complete version of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” in 1966 under the direction of founding directors and choreographers, Paul E. Curtis, Jr. and Shawn Stuart. It is the second longest running production in the Bay Area; only San Francisco Ballet has had a longer run. Through an open audition process, dancers from Bay Area dance schools join professional dancers for parts in “The Nutcracker.” This unique combination of local, regional and national performers makes this production a tradition that is truly a celebration of our community.

Yes. Each cast member is required to pay a non-refundable $225 participation fee payable to San Jose Dance Theatre. If two children from the same family are auditioning, then the second child pays $205. The participation fee helps to cover the cost of maintaining the existing and making of new costumes and props, theater rental, rehearsal space rental, and paying a number of union professionals required to put on the show.

Generally, yes everyone who auditions will be cast. 

Casting is revealed at the first parent meeting, which is typically the Friday after the weekend of auditions. Please do not call for results.

The Artistic Director and audition judges cast participants in the role(s) they believe are best for the production as a whole. If the role(s) assigned are that critical to you or your child, this is not the production for which you should be auditioning. 

It’s important to note that there are 3 mandatory meetings for parents and all adults/actors in the production. Crucial information such as casting, handbooks, volunteer opportunities, and Theatre Week information will be some of the topics discussed at these meetings. If you cannot come, you must send a proxy in your place. Please make sure you sign in at each meeting.

Your first obligation is to insure that your child is at every rehearsal on time. All families are required to volunteer 35 pre-show hours, volunteer at 6 performances, and attend the 3 Mandatory Parents Meetings. San Jose Dance Theatre is an all-volunteer organization. Some volunteer opportunities include specific skill sets such as pre-production sewing, marketing, prop repair, fundraising, school outreach, etc. Each family is also asked to take 10 posters and place them in your community. You may opt out of your pre-show volunteer hours for $500.

Rehearsals will start the weekend after auditions. All fees must be paid by this time. Cast members who have not paid or filled out the registration form by the start of rehearsals will not be allowed to participate in the production.

We will try. However just as in sports, sometimes we go into extra innings. We make an effort to respect everyone’s time, which is why always arriving to rehearsal on time is required for all cast members.

Generally, no. Children in the production need to learn their parts before they have an “audience”. If all goes well, at the discretion of the Artistic Director, parents may be invited to attend one of the theater rehearsals.  

Cast members are responsible for purchasing their own make up, some hair accessories, specified tights and leotards. In some cases, dancers are required to purchase specified dance shoes for their role. Other items available for purchase through the production, but not required, include flowers, finger puppets, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.

The missed rehearsal policy is set by the Artistic Director. Any conflicts should be noted in the conflict calendar in your registration form. We understand that problems arise in life and for those instances, the Artistic Director will make a decision on a case-by-case basis. 

There are no allowed absences during Theatre Week leading up to the first performance, and no absences allowed during the mandatory run-through rehearsal, typically the Sunday before our first performance weekend.

No. The evening rehearsals during Theatre Week in late November/early December are critical in polishing the production for performances. Our audiences have come to expect professional caliber productions. If you cannot attend all performances and rehearsals, do not audition. You will also be required to miss one day of school on the first Friday of our performances for the Nutcracker School Show. This show is held for school students throughout the Bay Area and is by far the most appreciative audience the dancers will have. Speak to your child’s teacher now about being excused for this day. This performance also serves as our final dress rehearsal.

No. This is a serious time commitment and latecomers disrupt rehearsal.  

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