Friday, February 18, 2011

The Audition

On the day of the audition I felt calm with hardly any nerves to upset it.  Me, who is scared  of everything and has zero confidence is in complete control of her emotions. I guess I had grown up more than I thought.  Or I was just stupid . 
It was a big deal in my family to actually be able to get away.  There were two reasons for this.  One was the money issue, and the only way my dad was able to afford a bed and breakfast for my mom's Christmas present was by taking advantage of his bonus.  The other was the known fact that our lives should never be disrupted.  Here is an example why.  He tried to schedule the bed and breakfast at the best possible time, and thought the 30Th to the 31ST of January would be best.  As soon as he announced it Christmas morning things exploded.  Who would take April to school the next day?  What about my ballet class at eight in the morning?  Then the real problem hit me.  The audition!  It was on the 30Th.  My brother stepped in and did as he called it, damage control by offering to take me.  I felt so blessed to have a big brother at that moment.  Oh yeah, one more difficulty was Chloe's rehearsal that was the same day as my audition.  That's why we never plan things around here. 
  My brother came to pick me up about an hour and a half before the audition to make sure we found it on time.  We got there twenty minutes earlier than registration time.  I waited in the car with him and talked, still surprised at my lack of nerves.  That in itself almost made me anxious.  Shouldn't I be feeling something?  After about ten minutes he dropped me off and I went in by myself.  I wanted to do everything right, not give away that I was a rookie and had never auditioned before.  OK, now the butterflies were coming.  Without going into a whole lot of detail, I walked in, was a bit confused at first how everything worked, found a place to stretch and wait after standing around awkwardly, and felt for the first time some regret.  Why couldn't someone be here with me?  This feeling disappeared quickly when everything fell into place and I signed in and got my number.  I felt proud of the fact that I was able to handle this situation by myself, unlike some of the other girls who probably auditioned before but still had their moms here.   
  I sat in a corner away from the rest of the dancers, very aware of their familiarity with each other.  First fear realized, which was that everyone auditioning was from this school.  It was OK, that wasn't a big deal.  I began to relax again.  The parents were able to watch the audition and somehow that was comforting to me.  I guess because it created a more casual atmosphere than I expected.  I watched the audition for the younger girls.  There was only one lady taking notes instead of a whole panel of judges.  This sight put me at ease as well.  I was back on track when the moment of truth came, and I walked into the studio.  It it was bigger than any at California Ballet and seemed to swallow me.  The Russian teacher sat at the other side of the large studio and watched us all with a smug smile on his face as we put our pointe shoes against the wall.  When he did say something I couldn't decipher it due to his thick Russian accent.  It probably wasn't too comforting because the girl next to me quietly joked, “No pressure.”  I found a place at the barre and thought the worst was over.  Now I could blow everyone away and do what I do best.  How sadly mistaken I was.
The teacher surprised us by making it a non-stop barre.  Instead of giving us a combination, letting us carry it out, then giving us the next one, we did every one without stopping.  The person in charge has to tell you what to do as your doing it.  I've done this before, but with a teacher who's not hard to understand.  Often he was on the other side of the room, trying to speak above the piano that was loud and echoed in the spacious studio.  I'll just say I made more mistakes than I wanted.  I honestly couldn't believe how different things were going than the way I had planned.   I felt even more discouraged as the guy teaching went without passing a glance in my direction.  It didn't help that I wasn't used to the Russian style.  Normally when auditioning for summer intensives it's best to stick to the style you've been trained in.  This was a little harder for me though, considering everyone was Russian trained.  I thought there would be a lot more people there, but there was only ten girls and four boys.  It dawned on me, that although the Bolshoi was a big deal this program was new.  Not many people really knew about it yet.  What a time to come to that realization.
The end of barre arrived and I was already sweating and breathing hard.  He worked us hard, most likely to torture us.  “Lets take a break.  The pianist is getting tired, her hands are sweating.” I smiled at his joke that made him either more human or cruel, I'm not really sure which.  By now my fear had made its late entrance and I used my smile as a way to hide it from others as well as myself.  If I had trouble at barre how could I survive center?  I saw all the parents pressing their faces up to the window watching anxiously.  They too felt the pressure being placed on us.  I knew by now I wasn't getting in, so  how could I have the heart to carry on with the audition?  I fought the tears that threatened to escape while granting the teachers wish of showing them my splits.  When he told us to come to center I snapped out of it and fought.
I never gave up.  I made mistakes but somehow remained poker faced.  I quietly fixed it, although sometimes there was no way it couldn't have been obvious.  Still, I was proud that I didn't freak out and was able to save a lot of combinations.  For the last one across the floor I did well, and the teacher even said good job.  I don't know if he told me specifically or my group of four, but I was part of that group so I should get some of the credit right?  After that we put on our pointe shoes and I started to feel a lot better about the whole experience.  I shouldn't have gotten comfortable so soon
 He had us doing fast turns on pointe.  I don't know If I've ever mentioned this but turns are not my strong point.  At all.  It was hard enough for me to do them in ballet slippers.  It also didn't help that I didn't have much pointe experience for the past year.  I was really up against it, but I tried.  Then came the dreaded words.  The thought that he might say this crossed my mind but I told myself It was crazy.  They wouldn't ask us to do this.  But they did.  “Ladies will do 32 fouettes on pointe.” Then I knew it was over.  Not only had I never done a single fouette on pointe before but I was hopeless at them in ballet slippers.  I think it's either a mental thing or my rhythm is off, but whatever the cause for it I knew I was done for.  We went three at a time.  I tried, I really did.  I pulled out about four, but I was very apprehensive about hurting myself so I stopped.  Then I tried about four more before I couldn't turn anymore.  This went on until the end of the thirty two counts.  I was humiliated.  The class ended on that oh so wonderful note and I let the other girls thank the pianist, teacher, and the note taking lady first.  I notice they thanked them in the Russian language, but I don't know Russian and just thanked them in English.  They welcomed me in my language and didn't seem to mind.  The teacher even smiled.  I walked out disgusted with myself and wanting to burst into tears, but managed to hold it together.  I took off my shoes and over heard another girl say she was embarrassed for only doing about twenty fouettes.  Guess she didn't see mine. 
Because my brother is the best in the world he took me out to dinner at Sammy's, one of my favorite restaurants.  I had recently given up dairy for the new year and was doing really well.  The need to drown in my sorrows was great though and I ordered barbecue chicken pizza.  I wasn't able to stop myself from eating all six pieces either.  I felt like a pig but at the moment I couldn't have cared less.  My brother pulled me out of my despair and made me laugh.  After taking me home I made hot chocolate, which also went against my other new rule of not consuming sugar.  So there I was, stuffed, defeated, and not sure where to turn to next.  I thought because I had failed the audition I was not a worthy dancer.  Before I could learn that wasn't at all the case, the next few days would be hard.

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