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Nutcracker FAQs

What are the requirements to participate?

Any dancer age 5 through adult enrolled in a ballet class at ABAA for the School Year. Dancers must attend the audition to be cast in a role. Dancers and their parent or guardian must sign the Nutcracker Contract and agree to be on time and in attendance for all rehearsals and performances.

Do you have to be a student at ABAA to participate?

Yes. Dancers must enroll in and commit to a ballet class at ABAA for the entire School Year in order to participate in The Nutcracker.

How many dancers will you accept?

We try to cast as many dancers as we have costumes for! Our largest cast was just over 150 dancers, and we anticipate that this will be our capacity in future years. If you are not cast this year, try again next year and ask us how you can prepare; we are always happy to try to help you meet your goals!

Can I pre-register for the audition?

We do not have a formal pre-registration process at this time. However, it will speed up the check-in process if you complete the Nutcracker Audition Form ahead of time and bring it to the audition; the form is available online or at the ABAA front desk. You can also be measured ahead of time - just stop by the front desk during the week of Nutcracker Prep Classes for assistance.

On audition day, please arrive 30 minutes prior to your audition time to check in. Your audition fee and measurements must be taken at time of registration if measurements weren't taken in advance.

What should I wear to audition?

Girls should wear a black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, and their hair secured in a ballet bun. Younger dancers from the Pre-Ballet Division may wear their light pink leotards. Boys should wear a white t-shirt, black pants/capris/tights, and black ballet shoes.

Can parents observe auditions?

No, the Nutcracker auditions are closed. We want to take the pressure off our brave dancers! We thank you for your understanding.

How much does it cost to participate?

There is an audition fee of $30 and a participation fee of $325. This covers maintenance and tailoring of the costumes, teacher/choreographer expenses, theatre security, and a performance DVD and photography with additional print cost. We try to make this an affordable opportunity for all families.

How will I know if I have been accepted after the audition?

An emailed casting notification will be sent to the address on each dancer’s audition form, whether they are cast or not. This message will be sent no later than the Friday after the audition date. It will include the dancer’s schedule and participation contract. Please contact the studio if you do not receive an email by Saturday morning one week after auditions, or if you have questions about the schedule.

When is my contract and participation fee due?

The deadline to turn in your contract with participation fee is 8pm the Monday 9 days after auditions. If we have not received your contract by the deadline, we must assume you have decided not to participate. To ensure on-time casting, this deadline is final, and we appreciate your attention to it.

When will I learn which role I will be dancing?

Your role(s) will be listed in your acceptance email.  We encourage dancers to accept and perform any part or parts they have been awarded - navigating the casting process is an important part of any dance education!

The Director(s) will not discuss casting decisions in any manner. Please trust that our decisions are in the best interest of every dancer involved.

What if I don't get the role I was hoping for?

All of the roles in our ballet are “good parts” and are essential to the magic of the production. There are many factors we consider when casting roles: age, ability, size of the costume, style of choreography best suited for a dancer -- the list goes on! If you had your heart set on a specific role, please remember that there will be future opportunities. We ask for your trust in our casting, and we know you will have a great time onstage!

The directors will not discuss casting decisions in any manner. Please trust that our decisions are in the best interest of every dancer involved.

Are rehearsals mandatory?

Yes! Absolutely! Each group has a limited number of rehearsals before we begin to run the entire show, so we ask all dancers to be sure they can commit to all rehearsals, unless approved by the director before before turning in a contract. If you have conflicts with rehearsals this year, try out next year.

What if I know that I am unavailable to rehearse during a certain time frame on Saturdays?

Please indicate on your audition form if there is a time frame within which you are unavailable to rehearse and we will attempt to accommodate with scheduling. Rehearsals take place on Saturdays  from 1pm-7pm. Each part will rehearse for 30-90 minutes. Any missed rehearsals must be indicated on the audition form and approved ahead of time by the director.

What should I wear to rehearse?

To all rehearsals, dress rehearsals, costume fittings, etc., girls should wear pink tights, a solid color leotard, ballet shoes, and their hair in a neat, secure ballet bun (unless specified otherwise in our Dress Rehearsal & Performance Hair information available to cast members). Boys should wear white t-shirts, black tights, and black ballet shoes, with hair neat.

Do I get to keep my costume?

No. The cost of our elaborate Nutcracker costumes is high, and we do not believe in asking parents to make such a purchase year after year. Instead, we have assembled a set of high-quality costumes that are carefully cleaned and stored for the following year after use. Each dancer is responsible for treating the ABAA costume(s) they wear with respect and care. For hygienic reasons, dancers are expected to provide their own tights, shoes, and undergarments as required by their role.

When and where will the shows be held?

Performance dates are detailed on the main Nutcracker page. ABAA's The Nutcracker performances are held at:


Ted Mann Concert Hall
2128 S 4th St
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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