8 Thoughts Every Dancer Has During an Audition
Whether it's your first time jumping into the audition scene or you have hundreds of crinkled numbers to prove you're a seasoned pro, having a panel of judges eyeing your every move makes everyone's mind race a little.
Here are eight thoughts you're bound to have when you step into the studio for an audition.
1. Who has my lucky number?Giphy
You may not be superstitious, but your développé is definitely a little higher when number 11 is pinned to your leotard. If you didn't get a chance to snag it at the registration table, chances are you'll be surveying the room during pliés to figure out who scored your lucky number.
2. Please, please don't let my tights run.Giphy
Whether your tights are brand-new or you're wearing your favorite reliable pair, the last thing you want to see is a run when you glimpse in the mirror.
3. Smile! Wait, not too much.Giphy
Not only do you have to worry about showing your rock-solid technique, but you also have to make it look enjoyable. It takes practice to strike that delicate balance between "I'm having fun" and "I might follow the director home."
4. Are they looking at me?Giphy
It's been half an hour, and it doesn't seem like the director has even glanced in your direction. But as soon as you wobble during a penché, suddenly all eyes are on you. Couldn't they watch later when you're bound to jump higher than LeBron James during grand allegro?
5. Nope, I definitely didn't catch that combo.Giphy
Normally, picking up combinations isn't a problem for you, but between the intimidating looks from the panel and the thick crowd of dancers marking in front of you, sometimes it just doesn't happen. Time to slide toward the back and hope another group goes before yours.
6. Wow, she's GOOD.Giphy
When the dancer in front of you nails eight pirouettes and stays on the music, you might feel like packing up your dance bag and calling it a day, but don't let thoughts like this distract you. For all you know, someone else could be standing on the side thinking the same thing about you!
7. This is the fastest petit allegro I've ever done.Giphy
Is this combo designed to assess your technique or simply give the judges a good laugh? Either way, just be happy you didn't trip over your feet.
8. Just tell me if I got it already.Giphy
You made it through the audition, but every dancer knows the worst part comes after you take off your number. At least you can ice your feet while you obsessively refresh your email.
In the middle of one of New York City Center's cavernous studios, Misty Copeland takes a measured step backwards. The suggestion of a swan arm ripples before she turns downstage, chest and shoulders unfurling as her legs stretch into an open lunge. She piqués onto pointe, arms echoing the sinuous curve of her back attitude, then walks out of it, pausing to warily look over her shoulder. As the droning of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto's mysterious "Attack/Transition" grows more insistent, her feet start to fly with a rapidity that seems to almost startle her.
And then she stops mid-phrase. Copeland's hands fall to her hips as she apologizes. Choreographer Kyle Abraham slides to the sound system to pause the music, giving Copeland a moment to remind herself of a recent change to the sequence.
"It's different when the sound's on!" he reassures her. "And it's a lot of changes."
The day before was the first time Abraham had seen Copeland dance the solo in its entirety, and the first moment they were in the studio together in a month. This is their last rehearsal, save for tech, before the premiere of Ash exactly one week later, as part of the opening night of City Center's Fall for Dance festival.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.
"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.