We spoke to Rose Cashin Hardiman, an Artist with Ballet Theatre UK, about their Christmas Show which their currently touring and got an insight into how roles are cast in the company!
Which Christmas show are you performing this year with Ballet Theatre UK?
This year the company is touring “The Wizard of Oz” throughout the Christmas period. It’s an original work by our director and it’s a super fun and accessible ballet.
What was the casting process to decide the different roles for The Wizard of Oz?
Generally, some people are more suited to certain roles depending on the style and type of dancer they are. For this production, we had classes and workshopped choreography for about 2 or 3 weeks before we got final casting. This is aside from the principal parts.
How far in advance was the casting for The Wizard of Oz?
We started workshopping and rehearsals in August and got cast in mid September which is when official rehearsals begin.
How long are rehearsals?
For our rehearsal period, the day usually starts at around 10am and ends typically at 6pm. The time we finish depends on many things such as the amount of choreography or whether it’s Corps de ballet or soloist work. Things can change pretty rapidly in our job so we need to be fairly flexible.
Do you just rehearse for The Wizard of Oz constantly or do you rehearse for future shows at the same time?
Once we get the first production on the road we then begin rehearsals for the spring tour.
Whilst the Christmas show is touring, do you still rehearse to work on improvements?
Sometimes if we are performing in a theatre that is slightly more challenging to adapt to we will have a rehearsal as a company to work out how to space certain things differently.
How do you deal with nerves before a show?
I used to get really nervous before performing - I think you just get used to it as time goes on. If I’m nervous about a certain step or the role then that will affect me until right before the performance. I tell myself to be calm, I have worked hard and rehearsed this enough to do a good job. Nerves are just wasted energy. I try to change my nerves into excitement. I don’t necessarily have a routine but I always do my hair first, then makeup and then I double check all my costumes and quick changes.
How do you feel after you've performed the show, had the applause from the crowd and the curtains close after the show?
I feel very grateful to be able to do what I love as a career, even if I am tired by the end of the evening - it’s worth it!
If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring dancer or your younger self, what would it be?
To both an aspiring dancer and to my younger self I’d say, your time will come, even though you may be going through a lot of struggles and things seem like they will never calm down or be ok, they will. Use what you love as an outlet and release from all the difficulties you’re facing. Work hard, be patient, and honestly don’t worry about the future. Take one day at a time and do everything you can to go where you want to go.