Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Friday, September 17, 2004


  Once a Year, I'm Glad I Don't Have A Daughter

Ballet West's "The Nutcracker"
Photo courtesy of Ballet West

I'm such a girly-girl, I have always wondered how I ended up with no daughters. However, one day every year I am SO GLAD not to have a girl. And this year, that day is tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Audition Day for approximately 500 children trying out for about 150 spots in Ballet West's 2004 production of The Nutcracker. About 350 children will walk away sorely disappointed. This year, there will be fewer roles than in the past because they are reducing the number of casts from 6 to 4. So there will quite a few dancers who have danced in the past who won't be chose this year.

The reason I am glad that I have sons trying out versus daughters is the result of simple mathematics: My sons have a much greater chance of being chosen than daughters would. 50 boys will try out for approximately 30 parts. Over 400 girls will try out for approximately 120 parts.

My sons ARE NOT DANCERS, but the boys in Nutcracker don't really dance--they skip, march and act. My sons have good rhythm and are quick studies, so I feel pretty good about their chances (especially Son #1, who has performed for two years). But you really never know. And the GIRLS...oh, it's a heartbreaker.

Son #1 has an uncanny ability to memorize all of the boy parts without ever rehearsing them. That, combined with our home's location being only moments away from the Capitol Theatre, means that he is frequently a "stand-in" for any boys who get sick, in addition to performing two parts in two casts of his own. Keeps things interesting, and busy. Anyway, I feel that he has a pretty good chance of being chosen again this year. It will also probably be his last year since, though he's only nine, he's 4' 7" and outgrowing the costumes.

Son #2 tried out last year, at age 6, and got cut because of his age. You're supposed to be 8, but they sometimes fudge with the boys since they always have fewer boys trying out (Son #1 performed as a 7 year old). Unfortunately for him, they had 60 boys try out last year so they cut all of the 6 year olds almost immediately. I really hope he makes it this year. He is our testosterone-laden daredevil who I wouldn't have thought would put up with the 19th Century costumes and make-up--but he's just DYING to do this. Crossing my fingers.

THEN, there are the girls. Bless their hearts. It is just heart-wrenching to watch them come out after each "cut". All of the girls really want to be a "party girl" and wear the gorgeous dresses, pincurls, and beribboned ballet slippers. They feel like princesses AND they get to wear make-up--every 8-12 year old girl's dream! Unfortunately, there are only 6 party girls and 1 Clara in four casts, so 28 parts don't go very far. Then there are the Buffoons (the little gymnasts in Act 2) and the soldiers, but it is SO competitive for all of the roles--especially Clara, Party Girl and Buffoon.

I wish all of our little friends who are trying out tomorrow GOOD LUCK! I'll be crossing my fingers for all of you.

UPDATE: In case you were wondering how it all ended:
1) Son #2 made Party Boy. YEAH! He is really excited.
2) Son #1 went into the audition to try out for Party Boy, but came out having been promoted to "Soldier" (along with the "short" 12 and 13 year olds who tried out for PB) because he was considered too tall for the role. Son #1 (who is only 9 and MUCH younger than the other soldiers and most of the former PB's, as well) was not amused and immediately told those who were announcing the winners that he wasn't going to be a soldier. He handed back his much coveted "winner's packet", picked up his Gameboy and started playing without skipping a beat. I explained to him that there are some things that you say to your Mother first, and that would have been one of them. Yet another reason why Cotillion classes will be a GOOD THING.
3) Five of our little girlfriends tried out for various parts--two made it. This stuff is SOOO heartwrenching!

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