I attended my first NY audition yesterday. Let me tell you I was scared. I've auditioned for all kinds of things before and had good and bad experiences (ever blank mid-pirouette? I have.), but never in NY. This is where the best dancers are, and I was intimidated. What if I stuck out and looked like I didn't belong, wore the wrong thing, did my hair and makeup wrong, what if we had to tap??? And what if I choked?
Don't worry, I didn't choke. But I did get cut. If I wasn't cut, I would be at the callback right now, not writing this blog... But it wasn't horrible. I didn't stick out in a bad way, I even felt like I belonged. Kind of a cool feeling. The funny thing was, the movement was really, really easy. Seriously, we barely moved our feet. But the musicality, now that was tricky and speedy. When we began to learn the combination the choreographer announced that he was looking for actors, and to get the very precise movement, but more importantly, act the role. And while I did fine, he only felt that about 6-8 of the 25 dancers in my group were sufficient in their acting abilities to stay for the next round. Ah, you win some, you lose some.
As a dancer, I keep noticing how important acting and performance skills are to my teachers and choreographers. I took a theater dance class at Steps last week taught by Diana Laurenson, a former Fosse dancer and Broadway veteran. Another former Fosse dancer who had worked with Laurenson in the past also took class, it was fun to hear them chat about their experiences working together in the theater. Anyway, Laurenson was trying to get us to use our focus in order to increase our performance level and draw the audience into us. She told us to imagine that the mirror was the audience:
"Look into the audience and find your victim in the 12th row of the orchestra section. Ask them to dinner. They're buying"
And then later on:
"Find your victim again. They're taking you to dinner. Get dessert."
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I'm actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn't my flexibility translate to turnout?
The dark, deeply personal video is Yang's coming-out moment. We see Yang being rejected by his family, condemned by a preacher, and attacked by a hostile mob after attempting to express himself as a gay man. Though not a professional dancer (as we found out in "The Try Guys Try Ballet"), Yang is a gifted mover; he choreographed the project himself, and gathered a group of talented performers to bring the story to life.