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 Post subject: working WITH a pro dancer
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 110
Location: USA (Midwest)
As part of an upcoming production, my 12-year-old daughter is lifted to a shoulder sit by an adult professional male dancer. She came home from rehearsal the other night and said that, the first time she did it, she jumped into it and he carried her onto the sit. (she had been taught how to do this at a different school a couple years ago) The second time, though, she said he just hoisted her from a dead lift, so she felt like she wasn't sure he knows that she knows how to do it correctly. And she said she was concerned that he (or any other male dancer she might have to do this with, because there are rotating casts) could get hurt if she jumped and they weren't expecting it. Obviously she needs to learn how to tell them this, but she's very shy about doing so. Can anyone suggest the best, most respectful way for a kid to tell an adult pro how they can do a lift better together? Or should she maybe speak to a rehearsal director and have that person run interference for her?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Petaluma, California
Hi Jane...I think it's unlikely that the male dancer would be hurt if the timing of the lift was off, so she shouldn't worry about that. However, it IS a bit scary to be the one lifted (your daughter!) if the timing is off. I think it is important for your daughter's confidence to practice the shoulder sit with everyone she will perform it with. She could ask each gentleman individually or ask the rehearsal coach for some help. Tell her not to be shy. It's a perfectly valid request, and it shouldn't take a lot of time to practice these lifts until she feels comfortable. I know it can be a bit intimidating for a 12- year-old to talk to adult professionals, but I'll bet everyone will be very nice about it! Tell her to not be afraid as she is also an important cast member, too...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
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Location: USA (Midwest)
thanks, Gina. I'll be sure to pass the advice onto her. Mustering up the courage to speak with the pro dancers and the director is a big issue for her. They are good people, I can tell, but she's terrified to "step out of her place." She's also got an emerging issue right now with not feeling like she's getting enough actual rehearsal time (and opening night's in a week). This is the first year this particular company has gone to three rotating casts, and she's in one of those that are spending most of the rehearsals observing and marking in the back. Like, she's gotten 15 real minutes of rehearsal in the last week. Seriously. :( Any suggestions on how to handle this? I don't know if the lack of floor time is the result of disorganization or if the director feels like this one cast just needs the most work. But it's wearing on her nerves and, as usual, she won't speak up and ask someone about this. Her father and I are really trying to get her to resolve these problems on her own, but maybe 12 is too young to negotiate this? I realize also that professionals are sometimes expected to go into performance with little actual rehearsal, so I don't know if we should just encourage her to approach this as a great opportunity to learn a part through osmosis?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:01 pm 
Is your daughter Clara?

In any case... she should tell her concerns to her partner. If there's ever ANYTHING she doesn't like about the way he is lifting her, she should tell it directly to him, and he will fix it. But she should not tell him HOW to fix it, because as a professional, he presumeably knows, and your daughter probably doesn't know anyway. She should certainly ask to try it enough times so she feels comfortable.

She should not worry at all about him getting hurt. That is his problem. It sounds like maybe she's so light he finds it easier just to hoist her up than to do the lift correctly. A bit disappointing, to be sure, but that's still his problem, not your daughter's.

As Rat King, I found it was always a challenge to get the various Claras to hit me hard enough so that I could tell that they were hitting me, and thus start my dying routine. The fear and awe of being around the PROFESSIONAL DANCER ran deep, but it's something everyone needs to get past. Once, a Clara hit me in the head and it hurt. But again, not a big deal, I even downplayed it so she wouldn't feel bad about the incident.

In our Nutcracker, the three children's casts all get equal rehearsal and performance time. For the professional casts... we do one initial casting, then work on a second casting that goes 'on line" later on. The second casting gets MUCH less rehearsal time while we're still working on the first one. Does your director maybe feel that there's more time for these "second casts", and intend to rehearse them more after the show goes up?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 110
Location: USA (Midwest)
yes, she is one of three girls doing Clara, and thank you for the insights, "guest"! Those are very helpful. She did finally get a full rehearsal yesterday, but I'm somewhat chagrined to admit it's because my husband took it upon himself to call someone there to ask them to at least talk to our daughter and explain to her why things were being run the way they are, since she isn't used to this and she's too scared to ask. The first school she ever did Nutcracker with was thoroughly guilty of over-rehearsing. She's got to get comfortable with doing less.


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