The panto audition

For the last two months I’ve been unable to think about the autumn without thinking ‘we might be busy with the panto then’. But not really believing it. My daughter was auditioning for the chorus of a local professional pantomime for the first time and I knew it would be a big commitment. But would she get in?

I had literally no idea.

They needed 18 children – two teams of nine, so they alternate performances. They want all ages between 8 and 16 – basically a couple of little ones, a couple a bit bigger, a couple a bit bigger still and two 15 or 16 year olds. They wanted children who are Grade 2 standard in either ballet or modern. My daughter doesn’t have her Grade 2 in either, but is doing her modern exam in November, before the show actually starts.

How many people would audition? Thirty? Fifty? A HUNDRED?

I had literally no idea.

I know my daughter is a good dancer, but how good? The only other child I know who has made it into the panto before is a very, very good dancer. Yes, better than my daughter. Maybe she was the best dancer who auditioned that year? Would my daughter be good enough?

I had literally no idea.

In my heart of hearts, I didn’t expect her to get in. I thought it was about 70/30 against her. Yes, she’s a good dancer, but how would she fare against older girls and girls who have done more ballet and modern than her, who go to pushier dance schools?

A few days before the audition, my sister broke ranks and said it.

‘Well, she’ll get in, won’t she?’

I hadn’t heard it said out loud before. I didn’t believe that other people could believe it if I didn’t believe it myself.

But then my mum and my husband broke ranks too. They all believed she would get it.

We had talked about what would happen if she didn’t get in. The whole thing was a win-win. If she got in – brilliant! What a fantastic experience. If she didn’t? Well, it wasn’t meant to be. Getting in would be a huge commitment and a lot of hard work that would inevitably disrupt Christmas. Not getting in wouldn’t be so bad.

But of course I wanted her to get in. Of course she wanted to get in herself.

On the big day, I wasn’t around first thing. So my mum and dad took her. By the time I got there, they’d already been sorted into groups of size order – she’d scraped into the ‘little ones’ and already learned a routine.

There was just 41 kids in total. So that made it pretty much a 50-50 chance, even without taking into account that she’s a very good dancer. It seemed to be rather a lot of teenagers and very few little ones. That had to be a good thing, right?

She showed me her routine. She didn’t give it her all – didn’t make her movements as sharp as they could be, didn’t put her head up and smile, but I could still see how good she was. Her movements were so delicate and her arms were beautiful.

And then they were all called through to show their routines.

A lady came to talk to the parents – to tell them that the standard was very high, that some good dancers wouldn’t get in, that they could come back next year and try again…

And then some kids appeared – teenagers, with their heads down and little ones running to their parents with tears streaming down their faces. I felt so sad to seem them, that I felt the tears pricking my own eyes too.

They hadn’t got in. My daughter wasn’t with them.

Somehow there didn’t seem to be quite enough ‘rejects’. Maybe more would follow?

We waited a bit longer.

I felt so nervous that I couldn’t concentrate on anything.

Four more girls appeared – they were the ‘reserves’. They would have to attend rehearsals and would most likely get to do a few performances.

By this time I knew. But I still didn’t dare hope.

Not until my little dancer skipped in with her immaculate bun and her perfectly tied ballet wrap and the biggest smile on her face.

My daughter is in the pantomime!

Let the hard work commence…

Ballet shoes, Dancing, 365


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh that sounds properly nerve wracking but wow that is brilliant news. A huge well done to her getting into the pantomime!! Bet it’s going to be amazing g to see her up there when it’s live.

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    • Thanks very much! I still can’t believe she made it! Can’t wait to see her. Just need to decide how many times it would be acceptable to watch!

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  2. Wow Sarah I bet your heart was thumping so hard waiting for your girl to gone out! Congratulations to get, sounds like she nailed it ๐Ÿ™‚ best of luck with the hard part xx

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    • Thanks very much, I was incredibly nervous waiting for her to come out! There’s going to be an awful lot of driving and a disrupted Christmas, but I think it will make a nice change from our usual Christmas! x

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  3. How exciting for you all! My daughter will be in panto for the fourth time this Christmas – I’m not sure what we’d do if she didn’t get into one (or didn’t even audition!), I guess back to the standard Christmas, whatever that is! The children have a ball and make some great memories. I’m not sure they have to be particularly great dancers but do need to be able to pick up a routine and, of course, they need smiley faces!
    Good luck with it all and let us know how she gets on….. are we allowed to know which panto it is? Ours is Peter Pan this year.

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    • Wow, four times! That’s commitment! I’m telling myself this is a one-off because of the amount of hassle for us and the amount of school she will miss. I suspect it may be frowned on in years 6 and 7.

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    • Thanks very much! I think it will be a brilliant experience for her ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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  4. How fantastic! What wonderful news – you must be so proud Sarah. I know what it is like to be the other way around and to tell people they hadn’t got a part – I directed Cinderella one year – and it was such a horrible job! Now the hard work really begins but she is going to have so much fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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    • That must have been a horrible job! I really felt for those kids and parents. She’s going to have the best time! I’m actually quite jealous!

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  5. WOW Sarah this is fantastic news. What an incredible achievement to be in the pantomime. I can’t imagine how nervous you were waiting for her to come out with the news. Well done to your daughter x

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    • Thanks very much. I was SO nervous. I couldn’t do anything – couldn’t even read a book! I’m so pleased she got in ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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  6. That sounds so nerve wracking but well worth it in the end! Congratulations & well done to your daughter! You must be so proud x

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    • Thanks, I’m really proud! They made the process pretty gentle, but I was still really nervous. My daughter takes it all in her stride, though! x

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  7. Oh how wonderful Sarah and a huge congratulations to your daughter for managing to get it – sounds like it was a very nerve-wracking wait to find out and I felt quite sad for the little ones reading about them being in tears too. The word “no” is never an easy one to hear no matter what age you are. So pleased that your daughter has managed to get in and hope she enjoys taking part ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thanks very much. I’ve rarely been so nervous in my life! It was heartbreaking to see the others crying.

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  8. Wow congratulations what an achievement I hope she really enjoys performing and makes lots of new friends in the process. #SSAmazingAchievements

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    • Thanks very much. I’m sure she will love it and she will definitely make friends as they will be together for so much time!

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  9. Well done her! Sounds very stressful! I did a local community pantomime one year as a child (not for dancers – I was never a dancer, & in a tiny background role – I was always very shy), and I remember that, though it was a fair time commitment, it was fun & felt very festive to be doing it. Hope she has a lovely time with it. #SSAmazingAchievements

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    • Thank you! I’m sure she will! She’s counting down the weeks until rehearsals start ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. So exciting! I think it’s often harder on the parents – especially when they’re small and we know how badly they want something. When it’s my own audition I at least can control how much I put into it – to have no control from the sidelines i so tough!

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  11. OH MY GOD THAT’S AMAZING!!! I bet you are so proud! I can’t wait to see the pictures!!!!! x

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    • Thank you! That’s my exact feelings! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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  12. That’s so amazing Sarah, well done to your daughter. What a fantastic experience it will be, and so much fun ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. That’s fantastic news, what an amazing thing to be part of. I know it will be hard work but panto is all part of Christmas. (I must book our tickets!) I bet she will be amazing, can’t wait to read all about it.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

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