Pretty much every ballet company in the world does the ever-popular holiday confection Nutcracker—which is why so many dance moms have seen the show dozens of times. (I'm on about 16 viewings—and counting—as my daughter enters her fourth year of the preprofessional ballet program with her local company.)
But if your child's ballet school doesn't produce its own Nutcracker, you don't have to be left out in the cold—the Moscow Ballet will be performing 130 shows of the Tchaikovsky classic across the country from November 3 until December 31, and casting local ballet students from ages 6 to 18 to take on some of the children's roles. Children can play everything from party guests and mice to snow maidens or the Spanish, Russian, Chinese and French dances with the professional dancers from the ballet.
For the Moscow Ballet's Anna Radik, who has performed multiple roles in the classic, from the sensuous and acrobatic Arabian coffee dance to the dove of peace, says she loves the challenge and excitement of performing with new young dancers in every city. "It’s very different from a normal show in the ballet because you have kids on stage," Radik says. "It's much more interesting for the dancers—we get much more excited about this."
Auditions for the Moscow Ballet are currently in progress (you can check to see about auditions—and fill out the participation form—on the Moscow Ballet website), and Radik shared her advice to help aspiring ballerinas survive the audition and the busy performance season injury free.
Try not to be nervous. "They don’t know what the audition will be like, or how it will feel, and they're scared they won’t make it," she says. "They just need to try their best." For audition newbies, most auditions will be very similar to a ballet class, but with a few people observing your technique as you dance.
If you don't succeed, try again. Perseverence is a key attribute of ballet dancers, as they seek the perfect pirouette—or a part in the Nutcracker. "If you don't get in this time, you can try again," Radik says. "Work more on yourself and your technique and character, and next time will be better."
Focus on your warmup to prevent injury. Even before you begin your barre work during class, you should be taking time to get your muscles warm and ready for dancing. "Dancers should warm up every time before they perform and before ballet class," Radik says. "Otherwise, you're much more likely to be injured."
Don't give up on your dreams. Many mini ballerinas dream of becoming the next Misty Copeland (or Anna Radik)—my own daughter included. But even though the odds of becoming a professional ballerina may not be in your favor, Radik says to keep trying. "If you have the dream to become a professional dancer, you have to go for it, no matter what somebody else says," Radik advises. "Even somebody says you don’t have natural ability for ballet, that's not everything—it's about the work. If you give 150 percent every day, then you will get a result."