I remember going to one of my first auditions in LA...There were tons of gorgeous girls frolicking around in next to nothing while I, (a very green 18 year old newbie dancer) was dressed in black sweatpants and my favorite Chicago Bulls basketball jersey. The first question I asked myself at that moment was...."Is every LA audition like this?" as time went on I began to discover the answer was....YES!!!
Needless to say, I got very lost in the shuffle at that audition and didn't make the cut...I wondered why I didn't get noticed because in my head, I KILLED the choreography... and then I had an epiphany. I GOT LOST IN THE SHUFFLE!!!
I always considered myself a pretty good dancer and felt like I auditioned well but I realized that day, there was more to just the dancing. In a room of hundreds of beautiful girls what made me different? What was going to make me stand apart and get recognized and book the job of my dreams?? It was a FORMULA!
From that point on, I decided that I needed to create WHO I WAS as a dancer in LA. I thought about it for awhile. I wasn't the chick who felt totally comfortable shaking my thing in fishnets and booty shorts at an audition, so, who was I? Since I had a bit of a tomboy thing going on but wasn't totally afraid of my sexy side...I would mix the two! I began rocking baggy pants slung low, sometimes with heels, sometimes with sneakers with a sexy body conscious top. Hair wild and full...natural make-up...that was me. In fact that was me at almost every audition, every casting, and the way I looked in my head shot. I was also known for my big, curly blonde hair...so it would have been crazy for me to change it ( I still haven't...it just works).
On top of my look, I learned it was supremely important to be a great auditioner. I began to focus as soon as I walked through the studio doors. I would watch the choreographer intently making sure I caught every detail, and LISTENED for notes. Dancers: listening is HUGE!!!! We get caught up with everything that is always going on around us and miss out on the important things we need to hear.
I would work hard on mastering the choreography and would make sure that even if there were 100 people dancing in the room, they could see me. Trust me, this is not an ego thing...this is of utmost importance. When the moment of truth would come, (my number being called), it was time for me to share who I was to that table of people in front of me. I would go into what I call...THE ZONE...This is where you are free, where you are on automatic pilot and your brain stops talking to you and you just dance. Dancers, this is where you share who you are and why you dance!! Once I shared who I truly was...it was done. Whether or not I booked the job, I felt accomplished because I shared myself and my art whole-heartidly.
Now, being a choreographer myself...I can't possibly see everyone all the time, but certain people do stick out. Sometimes people shine because of their facial expression, their passion, or even their hairstyle. Dance is such a personally expressive art form, it is important for you now to start developing WHO YOU ARE as a dancer. If you have a favorite color, wear it a lot. I you are an amazing tapper and nobody knows it...how come? Bring those tap shoes to a hip hop audition and when it's time to freestyle...show them who you are! There are so many things to share about yourself! There are many great dancers but remember there is only one of YOU. The more you can own and embrace who you are as an artist and performer...the more freedom and fun you will begin to have:)
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