The dancers arrived early to warm up for the Texas Metropolitan Ballet Academy’s Nutcracker audition last weekend in Killeen.
Texas Metropolitan Ballet is a professional dance company in Killeen at 3500 Trimmer Road. Artistic director Randall Marks founded TMB in 2016.
The academy presents The Nutcracker every year. Selected dancers must attend weekend rehearsals from September to early December.
“We will be offering three performances at Killeen this year and three performances at Temple,” said Randall Marks, Artistic Director.
Marks has over 30 years of ballet experience. All TMB instructors are experienced professional dancers.
The first group of TMB students registered at 11:30 a.m. on August 25 and were assigned numbers. Each pinned their number to their leotards. Before the audition, the students lined up according to their height for the photographs.
Randall Marks and Jeanne Marie Marks, assistant director, went through different stages with two boys and 12 girls from ballets 1 and 2. The students danced to “Spanish Dance”, “Waltz of the Flowers”, “Chinese Dance », «Entertainment» and «Russian dance». All are Nutcracker songs.
The directors put a face on the timing and the choreography. Each boy practiced the dance with six girls.
The auditions for ballets 1 and 2 ended at 12:20 p.m. Jeanne Marie Marks reviewed the contracts with the students and parents. She also addressed questions about rehearsals and future performances.
After the meeting, the students of Ballet 3 and Ballet 4 warmed up for the audition of The Nutcracker and the dance company.
“These dancers are also auditioning for a place in the company and the majority of them will either become full members of the company or start as apprentices,” Marks said.
The second audition reflected a rehearsal. The students asked many technical questions and anticipated steps for each song. They didn’t pin numbers on their leotards. 18 students attended the hearing at 1.30 p.m.
“There weren’t a lot of new faces in this group,” said assistant director Jeanne Maria.
A total of 32 students auditioned. Several students who could not attend contacted the principal. Primary 1 and Primary 2 students will fill some of the remaining roles. Both are introductory ballet programs for children ages 4-7. They meet once a week for 45 minutes. They don’t have to audition.
“There are 50 roles, but the dancers will have multiple roles,” said assistant director Jeanne Maria.
It is common for the dancers of the “Galop des enfants and the Danse des parents” to return to the stage disguised as mice or soldiers during a fight between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker.
The two-part ballet has many solo performances with supporting roles, giving the dancers the opportunity to stand out and support each other.