Friday, January 9, 2009

Ah, Audition Season

January has a lot of connotations for a dancer – and not all of them positive. The end of the joyous Nutcracker (slash Radio City) run, the rush of the wintry snow and freezing cold winds, and the prospects of audition madness.

The latter is quite possibly the one I dread the most, haha. Up until this point in my life, auditioning has been just a normal part of the routine to figure out summer intensive plans, Nutcracker roles, and stints with small companies. But now…auditioning is THE routine. For the moment, it’s currently my full time job to FIND a job in this awful economy, where 12 Broadway shows closed at the same time and many ballet companies are laying off dancers. How lovely.

Ironically, my new year’s resolution is to “stay positive.” After week 1 of being back home in the city, I’m sticking to it but it’s certainly a struggle, haha.
Often in the past, when auditions have come up I’ve found some kind of excuse not to go. As usual I always had a thousand things going on at once and there was always somewhere else to be or something more productive I just had to be doing instead of stressing myself out at auditions. Now, I have no school and no internship, and therefore NO excuse not to go waste my time at equity auditions where I likely won’t even be seen.

Such was the case on Tuesday, when I was so proud of myself for attending 2 auditions in one day. Hah. The first was for Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. I auditioned for them about 2 years ago and when they made a cut the director called me over personally and gave me what she called a “pep talk”, saying that I was very young and needed more strength, but that I might be perfect for the show in a few years so I should definitely come back. At the time, I was ecstatic to hear that. Unfortunately now, the show is basically not hiring anyone, at all, haha.

Before we were taught the audition combination, the director (actually she’s the assoc. choreographer I believe) came right out and said that they don’t hire people straight into the show. They put people they like on a short “swing” list to potentially go in as understudies or when cast members take vacation leave. Then if someone eventually leaves (and why would you with that kind of gig/pay/opportunity???) then a swing may be put in full time.

So needless to say, the audition was unsuccessful in terms of landing a job. It was a decent time, though, because instead of just throwing out choreography and making us wait forever to do it in small groups, they actually took time to break it down almost like a coaching session. It’s nice to actually learn and get something out of an audition besides a big fat rejection.

After that one I ran downtown to another studio to try for another audition – for a musical theater summer season in Virginia (I figure after Radio City I must branch out beyond only ballet stuff…). This one, like Phantom, was an Equity call. That means you’re supposed to be part of the Actor’s Equity Union to participate and/or get the contract. Non-equity people can possibly be seen at the end of such a call if time permits, according to the rules.

Through Radio City I’m part of the AGVA union, but I can’t join Equity until I’m a year in good standing with AGVA. So perhaps my audition life will get easier next year at this time…

I sat in the crowded studio for 45 minutes before the audition monitor guy informed us non-eq folk that they would be typecasting us and only letting the people they were interested in that way come and dance. So we handed in our pictures and resumes and 20 minutes later they decided who to keep just from that. It’s a funny way of doing things, no? Anyway, I was cut from that as well but didn’t mind so much because they only seemed to keep tall people. Ah well.

This was just day one of audition season, so I think I’m going to have to develop some patience, haha. It’s not really the rejections I mind so much as the time lost in waiting around at these things. But I must remember that waiting and wondering is what got me Radio City, and I must hope that something similar will come along again soon!


Anonymous said...

"12 Broadway shows closed at the same time and many ballet companies are laying off dancers. How lovely."
That is very sad.

Thanks for shining a light on what it's like to audition. You seem to have a very positive outlook in general, which must help given how humbling it must be to go to audition after audition. I look forward to reading more about this process. Best of luck!


Taylor said...

Thanks Maria. Yes, definitely trying to stay positive :)