Last Saturday, Lily auditioned for the Ballet Austin production of “The Nutcracker” for the very first time. She has been looking forward to this ever since I took her to see the show as an almost-four-year-old. She’s kept going through all her creative movement, pre-ballet and, now, ballet 1 classes with the goal of making it into the cast. This is a big, professional production, complete with live music by the Austin Symphony
The auditions were an exercise in controlled chaos – 85 girls in purple leotards with their hair in buns milled around the big studio talking and giggling, while nervous moms, dads and grandparents hovered on the periphery.
Parents were absolutely NOT allowed into the theater during the audition, and during that time, the ballet school’s director came in to tell us about the process. She explained that there are four rotating casts of angels, and our packets will have all of our performance dates.
She also made it very clear that parents are absolutely NOT allowed backstage before, during or after performances. There will be a drop-off lane outside the Long Center, and we will pull up and push our kids out the door. Ballet Austin staff will escort them inside and chaperone for the rest of the time they’re there. Many moms, myself included, did a little cheer at not having to hang around through every performance. And even better, we don’t have to find a parking place. But there were more than a few moms who looked very concerned at the idea of leaving their girls. I wonder if their parents will let them participate.
The casting lists were posted today, precisely at noon, on the door of Ballet Austin. They warned us many times not to call or e-mail to ask about casting. The only ways to find out were to check the cast list on the door or wait for the cast package to arrive in the mail.
I headed down there at 12:30, hoping to avoid the crush. I checked the list very carefully and was relieved to see Lily’s name on it.
To be honest, there wasn’t much doubt about whether she’d make it. The program director said that they had four rotating casts of 15-22 angels, so there was plenty of room for everyone auditioning. And Lily’s teacher said that the girls knew all the steps that the director would be asking of them. She said that the audition was mostly to make sure the girls could follow directions and not act crazy while standing around waiting.
Even knowing that . . . when I got back in the car, I burst into tears, so relieved that she had made the cast. I guess I was more worried than I realized. When I called my mother to tell her, I got all choked up again. Sheesh.
When Lily got home from school, I showed her the picture of her name on the cast list, and she screamed and did a happy dance from one end of the house to the other. She is beyond thrilled. All of her years of dance class finally have a tangible payoff.
I can’t wait to sit in the audience and see my baby girl on stage. I’ll probably start crying all over again. And I’m just fine with that.