“Why be #2 when you can be #1!”


(Direct quote from the script of the musical I recently helped choreograph… that line led directly into a polka. Or should I say, a “polka.” What ended up happening on stage was far from what I envisioned when I choreographed it! I never knew people could take a step-ball-change and turn it into something so complicated!)

Anyway, #1 is all well and good except when that’s the audition number you’ve been handed. And the room is packed with auditioners. And the adjudicators decide to go in numerical order. So you always end up in the first group attempting a combination. Yeeeeahhhh. Fun.

Okay, let me back up a little. Nutcracker auditions! They happened! I survived! No bones were broken and no blood was shed! From that standpoint alone I count it as a success.

I’d mentioned a few posts ago that I was wondering about doing the audition en pointe. First I thought, “Maybe.” And then I thought, “No.” And then my fellow dancers started asking me if I was. Which made me think that I wasn’t so terrible that it was outside the realm of possibility. Then when I said I wasn’t sure they said that I should. Which brought me back to, “Maybe.” And finally — eek! — “Yes!”

Started off the day with some work at my second job. Get me out of my head for a bit. Came home. Made an apple-cheddar sandwich to fuel my audition (good combination of carbs/protein… that’s my story anyway… mostly it’s just that’s what I was craving and happened to have in the house at the moment).

Then, outfit! What to wear, what to wear? Picked out my favorite pink tights… Gaynor Minden convertibles. They are ever so soft and the waistband is quite comfortable. They also happen to be the one pair of tights I own that doesn’t have a snag on the left thigh. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know, but every pair of tights I own ends up with a snag in the left thigh. Except these… so far… knock on wood. Then leo… there’s always the safe black leotard option. But of the two I own, one is an el cheapo which is starting to look pilly in all the wrong areas. Now I know why it goes for $12 on Discount Dance! The other is pretty, but kind of uncomfortable in the strap area. I didn’t want to be thinking about my leotard during auditions. Then I spied my light blue ABT halter leo. It’s super-comfortable and soft and the only reason I don’t wear it more often is because of the amount of sweat I generate during class and the fact that light colors do absolutely nothing to hide it. I figured that I wouldn’t be sweating too much during auditions, so this would be a good venue for it.

Okay, decided on the outfit. Hair in a basic bun. Then the next question… which pointe shoes to wear? I’ve been switching between the Grishko Ulanova I and the Bloch Heritage in class trying to decide which one works best for me. And then this week I finally sewed up the Chacott Veronese II that I bought back in August. So there I am with the three pairs lined up. Tried on the Chacotts and did some rélevés and some piqués. They’re okay. But I’m hesitant to wear them since I haven’t tested them in a class yet. Try on the Grishkos. And immediately rule out the Chacotts. I actually think the Chacotts might make a good performance shoe eventually because they’re so light and quiet, but the Grishkos are obviously more broken in and easier to work in for my immediate needs! Then I switch out to the Blochs. And man… I initially thought these might be the shoes but lately I’m thinking no. That silly foam pad in the toe is really bothering my feet. Plus I don’t feel nearly as stable. I put the Grishkos back on and they feel so much better. Funny… I’ve totally flip-flopped on my opinion on these two shoes. So, Grishkos it is. I pack them up in my dance bag. Grab my water bottle, a check for the audition fee, and I’m off!

Get to the studio which is PACKED! Mostly familiar faces, though there were a couple new ones. And it turns out that we oldsters have a pretty good representation at the pointe audition! Go Team Old Lady! One of the adults who said she wasn’t ready to audition en pointe was there, too, and said that I inspired her to give it a try… and if nothing else could at least cross “auditioning for a ballet on pointe” off her bucket list! Yay! I felt better having her there. And, just to gloat about how much I love this school and the people in it, one of the more advanced teens saw me putting on my pointe shoes and her face lit up. She was all proud of me. These kids really are a great support. I know there are some schools where it gets all competitive and stuff. Our kids really get behind the family feel of our studio.

So I fill out my form, hand in my fee, get my number (the dreaded “1”) and some safety pins and head into the studio that’s being used as warm-up space. Do some half-assed stretching/warming up (I really am the worst when it comes to that stuff). After what seems like an eternity the 9-12 year olds emerge from their audition with their lollipops and we are finally called in. And then kicked out. Well, the pointe people are kicked out. The adjudicators said that with the sheer volume of people it would be easier to see the non-pointe auditioners first and then do the pointe audition separately. So, back out we go to cool our heels (or rather, keep our heels warm!) while the non-pointe kids do their bit. Back in. One center combo, a bunch of across the floor stuff. I surely wasn’t wowing the judges with my abilities, but I felt okay about it. I would have done better if I wasn’t feeling so shaky. I don’t know what it is about performing in front of a table of three judges (plus the director) that makes me feel so… well, feel like I’m being watched! I would rather perform in front of a packed house. Oh, and being in the first group to go every time… ugh. In class I’m usually closer to the back of the pack. Hardly ever go first. And all that watching helps get the combination in your brain before it’s time to go out and attempt it. When you’re first, well, you just have to give it a go and I’m not the best at forging ahead with gusto, especially when I make a mistake. Gotta work on that… treat non-performance situations as if they’re real and give it your all even if it’s not exactly right.

Anyway. We were then given the opportunity to stay and try fouettes or take our lollipop and leave. I went for option 2. I will save the fouettes for the next audition. Perhaps after I’ve conquered (or at least become moderately proficient at) pirouettes. Ha!

Oh, and then I switched into soft shoes and did the adult audition. Which lasted all of 15 minutes or so. And including a lot of giggling and acting goofy. Which is pretty much the only reason I did it. To add some levity to a stressful afternoon.

All in all, a good experience. Cast list should be up within the next day or two, so we’ll see where it all ends up. If I just get stuck being a party parent, that would be okay. They at least have pretty costumes! 😉


One thought on ““Why be #2 when you can be #1!”

  1. […] to watch and mentally go through the combination before it was my turn to perform it (preferable to the time I was #1!). Also… I had zero time to freak out before the audition. It was still nerve-wracking, of […]

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