Spring Ballet

“The ballets, too, in their stories, were about serious and personal matters. Giselle and Sleeping Beauty-these had to do with the great blessings and disasters that are the center of our lives, the things one is usually too embarrassed or too frightened to talk about.”

-Mikhail Baryshnikov

Each year, our Creative Movement, First Steps, Foundations, and Ballet 1-6 dancers perform a full-length “story ballet.” Story ballets are a staple of classical ballet training, and add a unique experience to each ballerina’s journey!

Story ballets help dancers develop their own creativity by challenging them to take on a whole new role and personality. Story ballets help dancers learn the importance of connecting with each other and their audience when performing–each role is vital to the plot, and each role connects the dots for the audience.

Classical story ballets create a sense of magic and wonder unique to the ballet world. Some of the most classic and popular story ballets include The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. A few of our past story ballets include original creations such as Alice, Jungle Book, and The Magic Mirror as well as classical ballets like Swan Lake. We are excited to add more ballets to our repertoire in the years to come!

Ballet Full Cast Rehearsals

“If you really want to be world-class – to be the best you can be – it comes down to preparation and practice.”

-Robin S. Sharma

  • What is a “Full Cast Rehearsal?”
    • Full Cast Rehearsals are imperative for a smooth and seamless show! Full Casts allow dancers to see how they fit into the show–they are a part of the “big picture”! Dancers (especially soloists) need this time to find and practice visual and musical cues, interactions with other classes, and entrances and exits. Dancers also practice waiting patiently and quietly –just like they’ll need to do backstage!
  • Does my dancer have to attend all Full Cast Rehearsals?
    • In order for Full Casts to be effective–attendance is mandatory for all cast members.
  • Does my dancer have to stay from the first start time to the final end time?
    • Dancers need only attend the “Act” in which their class performs. However; sometimes soloists and understudies are in multiple Acts and could be required to attend the full rehearsal time.
    • Dancers are required to stay for the entirety of their Act’s time slot.
    • Full Cast Rehearsal times are posted here.
  • Should my dancer bring a water bottle or snack?
    • Only dancers who attend multiple Acts should bring food/drinks.
  • Does my dancer wear a costume to Full Cast Rehearsals?
    • Typically, no. If a class or soloist should wear a costume to Full Cast, a notice will be sent prior to rehearsal.

Solo, “Extra Roles,” & Understudy Roles

  • Eligibility:
    • Dancers in Levels 5 & 6 who have been enrolled at SESD for one full season are eligible to audition for an Understudy or Solo role.
    • Dancers who plan to audition MUST attend a minimum of 4 weeks during our 6-week summer session. There will be no exceptions other than emergency or death in the family. In the event of injury, dancers should attend and observe class.
    • Dancers do not have to be working en pointe to audition, but there will be a separate pointe portion for those who are. Dancers who are working on flat will be dismissed prior to the pointe portion of the audition.
  • Audition Process:
    • Auditions are announced no later than the beginning of the Fall semester
    • Auditions consist of a technique class, pointework (if applicable), and a variation
    • Following the audition parents and dancers will be contacted. Dancers could accept or decline their role, if they are offered one
    • Solo & Understudy Agreements are due prior to Thanksgiving break
    • The intention is not to create stress for our ballerinas, but instead create an opportunity that:
    • Emphasizes the importance and responsibility of a solo or understudy role
    • Prepares dancers for any future auditions at SESD or summer intensives
    • Allow each of our ballerinas the opportunity to earn a role in our ballet
    • These auditions will select Soloists as well as Understudies
    • There is a $10 audition donation
  • What is an Understudy:
    • The role of an understudy is extremely important and can be demanding mentally and physically. Understudies are expected to attend all soloists’ rehearsals, as well as retain their soloists’ choreography throughout the season.
    • Understudies could be called upon to perform at any moment. This could be during rehearsals, or in a performance and there could be little to no “warning,” so understudies must be focused and prepared to step in at a moment’s notice!
    • While Understudy roles are a huge responsibility, they are also a great learning experience for aspiring and dedicated dancers!
  • What is an “Extra Role”:
    • An “Extra Role” is a duo, trio, or small group that is an additional dance and/or acting role; not a dancer’s regular “class” dance.
  • Expectations of Soloists, “Extra Roles,” and Understudies:
    • Soloists, “Extra Roles” are allowed 10 absences all season, 6 of which can be missed January-May, 3 after March, BUT must be in attendance the three weeks of class leading up to the show (excluding picture week).
    • Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies are expected to arrive in proper class attire each week.
    • Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies are expected to act as positive role models for younger students. This includes professional behavior in and out of class, assisting and/or encouraging younger dancers in rehearsals if needed, and maintaining a positive attitude throughout the year.
    • If applicable, Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies are required to attend their character’s corresponding weekly class during the months of May and June. Soloists are welcome to begin attending as early as April, if desired.
    • Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies are expected to retain their choreography as soon as it has been taught. Rehearsal videos will be sent, and soloists are strongly encouraged to write down their choreography.
    • Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies roles are a privilege and require dedication from both dancer and parent. Please carefully review all expectations before accepting a role.
    • Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies must be present for every Full Cast Rehearsal, Picture Week, and Dress Rehearsal.
    • Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies may not miss any classes or rehearsals in May; the only exception being graded school events or personal/family emergencies. Any absence outside these exceptions could result in dancer forfeiting her solo role in the Show.
    • If applicable, Soloists, “Extra Roles,” & Understudies are required to attend their character’s corresponding weekly class during the months leading up to the Show and may be required to learn their corresponding class’s dance and perform it on stage with them (Creative Move, First Steps, Founds, Ballet/Tap 1 only). In some instances, soloists will have an additional “featured role” in their class’s dance (usually older classes). If necessary, these class times will be listed below.
    • In the event you experience an emergency or are unable to attend one of your individual rehearsals, please contact Director (Mrs. Katherine) as soon as possible—preferably 2 hours prior to rehearsal start time. Individual solo rehearsals are difficult to reschedule; please do your best to attend.
  • In the event of Withdrawal, Forfeiting Roles, or Dismissal:
    • If a soloist withdraws or dismissed for violating any SESD policies, the following fees apply:
      • January: $150
      • February: $200
      • March: $300
      • April/May: $400
      • These fees cover the cost of re-blocking and additional rehearsal time for the understudy. Additionally, the soloist/performer will return the solo/extra role costume to SESD within 5 business days of withdrawal or dismissal.