More Outrageous Audition Stories!

The most outrageous thing I was asked to do at my Cirque du Soleil audition was to learn four different combinations in four different styles, and then improvise to three different songs—all in just a few hours. It was difficult to completely change my train of thought and motion so many times in a single audition. —Allison Ulrich, cast member in Cirque du Soleil's Viva ELVIS

Lesson learned: Stay focused on what is given to you at a specific moment and don’t get distracted by what has already happened.



A few summers ago I flew to NYC for New York City Dance Alliance Nationals. About an hour after I landed I got a call for an audition for West Side Story. I didn’t have time to run back to my hotel and get my headshots, sheet music or heels—I only had dance clothes, so I was just going to go without everything else in order to make it on time. When my agent called, I was told there would be no singing that day, just dancing (which is good because I’m not the best singer!). I got through all the dance cuts that day and when I thought it was over they asked me and two other girls to stay and sing. So I decided to channel my alter ego: a pop star. My former teacher Denise Wall told me if I didn’t have a song prepared, I should sing in a different voice because it would be better than my serious one. I sang “All That Jazz” like Britney Spears. The folks running the audition had no idea what to do with me. I ended up getting another callback though! —Jamie Goodwin, "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 3

Lesson learned: Become a triple threat! Take acting and voice lessons and add to your skill set by taking classes in other disciplines.


From top to bottom photos by Julie Aucoin; Courtesy Jamie Goodwin

Latest Posts

Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search