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A Dancer’s Life For Me, Part 3

dancer's life
By Natalie Davids

God, I Hope I Get It

Anyone who has ever tried to make it as a dancer, singer, actor or musician will undoubtedly at some point, have had to take part in some form of audition.

For the majority of us dancers and singers, it’s a live audition and you had better be prepared. It’s a gruelling process. It’s invasive, it’s nerve-wracking and it’s personal. Anyone who tells you otherwise probably hasn’t been through it…

I can clearly remember preparing for an audition for a production company based in the UK. They were hiring for a cruise ship that was to be sailing around the Mediterranean. By this stage I had already worked on board cruise ships for 4 years, however I had spent the last 2 years ‘on land’ and I had itchy feet to say the least. A contract overseas was what I wanted and I’d never been to Europe.

The agent didn’t have many details, just that the audition would be held over two days with dancing on the first day and singing the next. I arrived bright and early at the stage door of the theatre but to my surprise, there wasn’t a soul in sight! Panic set in as I began nervously searching for someone, anyone that could tell me where I needed to be. I found a member of the theatre staff and he reassured me I was in the right place, just a day too early! Frustrated but also relieved, a quick phone call and crosscheck of my diary confirmed that it wasn’t my mistake. The agent had given me the wrong day.  So the next morning with a sense of deja vu, I arrived back at the stage door, only this time there were people there. Lots of people.

As we began signing in, I scanned the room, scrutinising the competition, and I came to the conclusion that I was one of the oldest dancers there (I was in my mid 20’s).

In fact, I was convinced there was only one other dancer who may have been older than me. I tried to tell myself that I had experience on my side but half of these kids were still in full time training and in peak physical condition while I was a little, how shall I put this – rusty. Still, I wanted this job, so I was going to give it my best shot.

We slipped into our dance shoes and were herded into one of the theatre rehearsal rooms. It started out like any other dance audition. We did some corner work and we learnt a routine. They split us into groups and we danced our butts off for the audition panel sitting in front of us. The room was small & there were a lot of us. It was so hot there was condensation dripping off the walls.

After they had seen everyone perform the routine, they made the first cut. We were all given numbers at the start of the day and if you’re number wasn’t called, you didn’t make it through and you had to make your way out of the room, collect your things and go. My number came up. Yes, I still got it! We were then ushered outside so the next group of dancers could make their way in. It was like a revolving door of dancers all wanting the same job.

Once outside, those of us that had made it through had to have a headshot taken. Are you kidding me? NOW?! I look like I’ve been in a sauna! Whatever makeup I had applied prior to the audition had seemingly evaporated from my skin to reveal a very red face and my usually blonde hair was now dark with sweat. This is the photo they are going to remember me by? I smiled and hoped for the best…

While sitting in the waiting area wondering what we would be asked to do next, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation happening near me. A small group of young female dancers were gathered around a male dancer who didn’t look much older than them. He had experience on ships and was giving them the lowdown on life at sea. They were hanging on his every word. Although he wasn’t backstabbing or saying anything that could get him into trouble, as I listened to the male dancer speak, I made a mental note to always watch what I say at an audition. Even in the waiting area, you never know who may be listening and in our industry, you’d be surprised how many people know each other…

Continue reading A Dancer’s Life For Me, Part 4

Return to A Dancer’s Life For Me, Part 2

 

Also on TheatreArtLife:

Performer and Stuntman: Josh Fried

Circus Artist: Nicola Willis

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