18th May 2021
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A Dancer’s Life For Me, Part 4

Dancer's Life For Me
By Natalie Davids

It Takes Two

I tried to focus and keep my muscles warm. In an audition you rarely know what is coming next or when they will call you up, so you have to be ready for anything, at a moment’s notice.

After what seemed like an eternity, I was called back into the audition space. The panel had made another cut and we joined those dancers that had made it through. All the females were partnered with male dancers to do some lifts. There were 3 female dancers for every male, so the guys had their work cut out for them. I had a giggle to myself when they partnered me with the male dancer I had been eavesdropping on in the waiting area.

When you work with a partner, it usually takes time to get comfortable with each other. Great partners can almost read each other’s minds, they can anticipate and adjust when things go wrong but this sort of connection develops after hours and hours of rehearsing together and getting to know your partner. We did not have hours and the guys were dancing with multiple partners. This was going to be tough.

As we began learning the lifts, I struggled with one lift in particular. It was called the ‘crucifix’ and as hard as I tried, I could not get it. I had always been good at lifts in the past and I was frustrated with myself that I was cracking under the pressure. All of the couples had to do the lifts one by one, while everyone watched, and I was the only one in the room who couldn’t do the crucifix. Even the other two girls who were dancing with my partner could do it, so it clearly wasn’t him, it was me. I was mortified when the choreographer unsuccessfully tried to lift me himself. There was clearly something I was doing wrong and without knowing what, we didn’t know how to fix it. The choreographer gave me an easier lift known as the ‘sit lift’. This involves standing in front of your partner and as you jump, he lifts you up and onto his shoulder so that you land sitting on his shoulder, with your arms up in the air.

It’s a standard lift that doesn’t have a high level of difficulty and I was the only one who had to be given the easy option.

We learnt a short partner routine, which combined all of the lifts we had just learnt, finishing off with the lift. I focused all my energy on making sure the other lifts were spot on so the panel could see that I was actually good at partner work. When it came time to perform the routine to music, we quickly realised that the music had a faster tempo than what we had been practising. Much faster. We just had to go for it. As we neared the end of the sequence and it was time for the lift, I glided up onto my partner’s shoulder with ease and there I sat, high above everyone else, arms up in the perfect finishing pose. Out of the corners of my eyes I could see the other girls falling all around me. The music was too fast for them to execute the crucifix properly and they were crumbling beneath me as I sat up there like a queen on her throne. I could feel the panel’s eyes on me and I smiled – not a ‘stage’ smile but a genuine ‘I’m on top of the world’ smile. Suddenly I was glad that I had been given the easy option and I think the other girls below were cursing me…

They made the final cut for the dance round and against all odds, I made the cut! It just goes to show that even when things don’t seem to be going your way, you should never give up as you never know what the panel are looking for. I was now on cloud nine. The dance call was done and I could relax, or so I thought…

Continue reading A Dancer’s Life For Me, Part 5

Return to A Dancer’s Life For Me, Part 3


Also on TheatreArtLife:

Let’s Talk: I’m Not Succeeding Fast Enough

Let’s Talk: What’s Harder, Stage Or Screen?

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