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With its colorful costumes, dreamlike score, and memorable roles, "The Nutcracker" ballet is a ballet classic. This fantastic tale of a toy soldier come to life has been delighting audiences for more than 125 years. For many youngsters, it is also their first introduction to the world of classical music and ballet. 


"The Nutcracker" ballet was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1892. Its score was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and the performance choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, three of Russia's greatest artists of their era. The ballet was inspired by "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," published in 1815 by the German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71," as the complete score is known, consists of eight movements, including the memorable dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the march of the Wooden Soldiers. 


To set the scene, a young girl named Clara is hosting a holiday party with her family, including her brother Fritz. Clara's Uncle Drosselmeyer appears late to the party, but to the delight of the children brings gifts for them. He introduces entertainment for the guests including three windup dolls, a ballerina doll, a harlequin, and a soldier doll. He then presents Clara with a toy nutcracker which Fritz promptly breaks during a fit of jealousy. Uncle Drosselmeyer magically repairs the doll to Clara's delight. 

Later that night, Clara looks for her toy under the Christmas tree. When she finds it, she begins to dream. Mice begin to fill the room and the Christmas tree begins to grow. The Nutcracker magically grows to life-size. 

Enter the Mouse King, who the Nutcracker fights with swords. After the Nutcracker defeats the king, he transforms into a handsome prince. Clara travels with the prince to a place called the Land of the Sweets, where they encounter many new friends, including the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

The friends entertain Clara and the Prince with sweets from around the world including chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China, and candy canes from Russia, which all dance for their amusement. Mother Ginger and her children appear, a group of beautiful flowers perform a waltz and the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a dance together. 

Cast of Characters 

The diversity of the cast allows ballet dancers and some other dancers of all ages the opportunity to participate in the ballet. The Nutcracker is a favorite of many ballet companies because of the number of roles that can be cast. Even though the dancing may be minimal for a few of the roles, dancers of different levels can be cast together. It is a wonderful learning opportunity for children and dancers of all ages! 

Gotta Dance! Performer Commitment Requirement Form
Hello, and welcome to our company of Gotta Dance! performance families. We are grateful you have chosen our studio for your child’s dance training, and are confident this experience will be rewarding for your family. The staff at Gotta Dance! take our commitment to excellence very seriously, and as such, we have developed a series of rules of understanding for our families who wish to have their child participate in our performances. Please read this form carefully and sign and return the bottom portion of page 2 to ensure your child’s eligibility for Gotta Dance! 2021-20221 performance season. Please contact us at the studio office at 520-722-8000 or by email: info@gottadancetucson.com with any questions. 

I. Commitment Level –
a. As any group activity or sports team would require, Gotta Dance! dancers are required to attend class and rehearsal consistently. Students participating in rehearsals (in or outside of class) for performance are allowed one excused absence per production rehearsal season, and must notify GOTTA DANCE! of the reason for the absence. Students with more than one absence jeopardize their eligibility to perform. We recognize illnesses and family emergencies, and handle these occurrences on an individual basis. Performers may not miss mandatory studio run-through rehearsals (TBA), Tech Week Theater Rehearsals and all required performances. There are no exceptions.
b. Beginning at role acceptance, each dancer and his/her family must realize class and rehearsal take priority over all other extracurricular activities. Failure to do so, thus missing class or rehearsal, is considered an unexcused absence.
c. Each dancer must have a parent/guardian signed Performance Contract on file (per dancer, per performance) to begin rehearsal and participate in performance.
d. To ensure the safety, organization and professionalism that is the hallmark of GOTTA DANCE! performances, an adult representative from each family must agree to assist the studio staff during theater rehearsal and performance by signing the Performance Parent Helper Sign-Up Sheet posted online via www.signupgenius.com at a future date. Sign-up is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please refer to upcoming emails for sign-up dates. Families who have not signed up within the given timeframe (TBA) will be assigned a position by the GOTTA DANCE! Parent Helper Coordinator.
e. For the students’ safety and insurance reasons, only the dancer and a parent/guardian assigned to work backstage with a Parent Pass are allowed backstage. No siblings or additional guests are allowed backstage or in dressing rooms. Not every dancer will have a parent/guardian working backstage. Some will be in lobby etc. 

II. Cost –
a. GOTTA DANCE! strives to make participation affordable for our families. Each semester, hundreds of hours of extracurricular rehearsal and preparation time is dedicated to the success of our productions. Due to the nature of a full-scale Nutcracker production, rehearsals are held outside of class. (Rehearsal Fees are $25 per dancer per month from September to December. Rehearsal fees for Ballet students in Jeffery Hughes classes are $35 per dancer per month from September to December) The Nutcracker Series season: September-December. 

b. GOTTA DANCE! provides costumes to students for The Nutcracker at the rental rate of $30 per costume, plus purchase of performance tights (priced by style). Principal and soloist/duo costumes/tutus are at a rental rate of $45 each.
c. There is a non-refundable Nutcracker Participation Fee ($95 per dancer) due upon role acceptance.

d. Our theatre performance ticket prices are commensurate with other dance productions of this professional quality: ($20 - $25). All tickets are reserved seating, and go on sale approximately one month before the performance opens. (Please check the GOTTA DANCE! Calendar and email notifications.) Your dancers do not need tickets obviously, but all audience members are required to purchase a ticket.

III. General Rehearsal Schedule –
a. It is the responsibility of each dancer to check the Rehearsal Calendar on an on-going basis. Most rehearsals will be held Friday afternoons and evenings and Saturday afternoons and evenings. Soloists may have rehearsals tacked onto class time or other rehearsal times as available.
b. All participants are required to attend the mandatory studio run-through rehearsals (TBA), Tech Week Theater Rehearsals and all required performances. Currently, this year’s Nutcracker is schedule to show December 17th and 18th. Nutcracker Theatre Week: Dec.13-18 (this means that dancers will be at the theater essentially from the time they get out of school until mid to late evening (9 p.m.) depending on their age and size of their role. Please note - depending on where the dancer goes to school, the Friday performance on the 17th may require early dismissal from school.

IV. Summary: Each performer needs a parent/guardian to:

a. Promptly sign and return the bottom portion of this form, return Performance Contract, and pay the Nutcracker Participation Fee and Costume Fees. Maintain a credit card on their Gotta Dance! account for rehearsal fees to be charged monthly, on the 18th of each month starting September 18th and ending December 15th.

b. Sign up for a volunteer position (which will be posted online via Sign-Up Genius; at a later date, TBA).
c. Promptly read emails from the director regarding rehearsal schedules and note any changes.

V. Parent/Guardian Signature: (Please sign, detach and return bottom portion of this form.)
(cut here) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Performer Name: ___________________________________________________________________________
I, ____________________________________________________________________, have read and (parent/guardian signature)

understand the terms of the GOTTA DANCE! New Performer Commitment Requirement form above. Date Signed: ___________________ Date Received: _________ Initial: ________


Dear Families,

On December 17 and 18, 2021 we will be performing our studio’s fullscale production of The Nutcracker Ballet. Listed below are the roles for which we are holding auditions. Do not concern yourself or your child with which roles they should audition for. There are roles for all dancers age 5 and above. Doing the show is optional though we do hope that every child 5 and older will participate.

They do not have to be enrolled in ballet. Please assure your non-ballet dancers that they should still audition. We have a hip-hop type number and several roles that are not heavy dancing but more acting in nature.

We also expect that ALL dancers in Jeffry Hughes’ classes to audition and dance one or more major roles in the show.

Auditions will be held for all children ages 8-10 on Friday, September 10 at 5:45 pm. It will last one hour. Please pick up your child promptly at 6:45. They should be dressed as they would be for dance class in dress code.

Auditions for all children ages 11-14 will be held Friday, September 10 at 7 pm. It will last one hour. Please pick up your child promptly at 8 pm. They should be dressed as they would be for dance class in dress code.

Auditions for all children age 5 will be held Saturday, September 11 at 3 pm. It will last one hour. Please pick up your child promptly at 4 pm. They should be dressed as they would be for dance class in dress code.

Auditions for all children ages 6-7 will be held Saturday, September 11 at 5:30 pm. It will last one hour. Please pick your child up promptly at 6:30 pm. They should be dressed as they would be for dance class in dress code.

If your child is 15 years or older, we are not requiring them to audition as Ms. Anne can cast them based on their ballet classes but we must receive confirmation from you that your dancer is intending to participate in Nutcracker. We sincerely hope each of our older dancers will participate in these important and exciting roles!

Rehearsals will start immediately and will be held primary on Fridays and Saturdays. Given the importance of the snow scene, those dancers will rehearse for 45 minutes on Mondays in addition to Friday and/or Saturday rehearsals. Some of the most advanced roles will be asked to rehearse an occasional Thursday evening.

If your child is 5, 6, 7 and 8 years old, we try to be very cognizant of bed times and attention spans of kiddos this age. Most kids will only rehearse on Friday OR Saturday on a given weekend. It all depends on their role(s).

Once the casting is complete, you will receive an email with your child’s role(s). Included will be the acceptance contract and the rehearsal schedule.

Please make sure you watch the trailer video from our 2019 video that was sent to you via email last week. It gives you a good sense of our Nutcracker. Additionally, the links to the full show are on our website if you would like to show your child.

We look forward to everyone participating in this traditional event! The excitement among our dancers is infectious and the ability to participate in a production of this magnitude is something that they will never forget!