Today I thought about another thing that makes me excited and nervous. I'm going to begin auditioning again. My last round of consistent auditions was quite some time ago, and it was in a realm that I was really comfortable in. Ballet companies audition similarly to ballet school auditions. That's one of the things that is wonderful about dance. The class that you take to audition may be stylistically different, but overall, ballet is ballet is ballet. The main difference of course is that when I was auditioning for ballet companies, there was a bit more pressure than trying to figure out who was going to be my roommate for the summer!
I have of course participated in auditions for theatre over the years, but now I'm going to be entering a completely different arena. It doesn't get much more competitive than New York. There are so many people-each one better than the next. It seems a bit daunting from where I'm sitting right now. While I have had some wonderful opportunities to perform theatrically with a nationally recognized theatre here in Kansas City and one in North Carolina, I have had an unusual advantage. I was a part of the ballet. This originally was my ticket in. Fortunately, for now I still have wonderful support from my employer who is helping guide me and push for me, but I know that when I get to the city, it will ultimately be up to me. That's frightening!
As dancers, we live in a bubble. I am proud to be writing about my retirement because I feel that I represent the vast majority of American dancers. I'm clearly talented enough to work for a reputable organization, but I'm not a household name! The sad case is that the time when the general public could name a ballet star is history. Let me explain that statement, and then point out a positive aspect of it. Many people still would know the name Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev, even if they didn't know much about ballet. However, outside of New York or the few true balletomanes that are left, the knowledge of current star's names would be few and far between. I promised a positive aspect! The good news in this case is that there are many more dancers now who deserve esteem, and there are many more companies in which these talented dancers can work. American dance is definitely thriving. I just wish it was seen and respected by a wider audience.
Back to the bubble!(Forgive me for going off on a tangent.) As dancers we are safely insulated in our companies. We audition(so to speak) daily for the roles that we will portray, but regardless of our casting, we still get paid! This concept has often been one that my actor friends who go from show to show(and I will hopefully join their ranks soon) find inconceivable. To have a thirty-five week contract?!? To know that we have health benefits year-round?!? Wowsa!!
So, really what I'm saying is-I haven't had to audition in quite a while. It makes me nervous. I'm back to the old stomping grounds of needing the work and relying on my performance in that moment to get it. Another thing that I just thought of with that last phrase is I really do only get a moment in a theatrical audition! At least when auditioning for ballet companies-unless I was cut during the audition which(let's face it, I'm a male) didn't happen that often, I usually had at least an hour to an hour and a half to be seen dancing class and repertoire. Whoever thought that the most perfectionistic art form of them all would have the most gracious audition process! Ahh! Bring on the sweaty palms!
You know, I'm going to abruptly end this right here. I'm going to honest and not try to finish this entry with a "moral of the story" polished ending. There's no point in pretending that I'm comfortable with all of this at the moment. All I can do is prepare as best as I can, blah, blah, blah.....for now, I'm going to go have a cup of tea.