Outfit for dance call - check. Outfit for singing call - check. Every possible choice of shoe - check. Sheet music - check. Head shot and CV - check. Ok, it’s time to go to sleep now - big day tomorrow! You’ve got this.
If you didn’t already know, this is what dancers have to do the night before an audition - if we want to have a good night’s sleep that is. Good preparation is vital for our audition mentality. And our mentality is EVERYTHING.
Yes, the physical aspect is very important too - especially if it’s a 4 hour long dance call. That was my experience on Friday when I auditioned for a Musical Theatre Agency. I turned up to Pineapple studios (in 30+ degree heat) and the line of dancers went from the front door to the end of the street. Great! I thought. Should have arrived earlier. Never mind, I’m still early and I’ll get my turn soon enough. I then found out they were seeing the first 75 people (I was number 82) and the rest of us would have to wait an hour or so and be seen in the second group. More time to stretch then! I thought. (Remaining positive - also very important.)
After a good stretch down stairs, I returned to the studio and noticed everyone watching the first group through the windows. I had a look too (why not?). The routine they were learning appeared difficult. Confusing actually. Complicated. Way harder than I expected. I could see people’s faces start to panic around me. I ignored them and kept watching. I had a little conversation to myself. You can do this, Brianna. You just need to watch, listen and stay focussed. You will be fine. I could tell the girl standing next to me had already given up mentally. I turned to her and said “we’ve got this!” - she laughed at me and replied “I don’t think so.”
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘mind over matter’. The thing is, actually putting that into practice is a lot harder than it sounds. You can have all the talent in the world but that means nothing if you don’t see yourself clearly. No matter how many times other people tell you you’re capable, you are the only one who has to really believe it. At the end of the day, you are your own worst critic, so be kind to yourself!
The second group (my group) was called in to learn the same routine. It wasn’t so scary once we started learning it - in fact, I absolutely LOVED the choreography. I wanted to nail it. I knew it was possible if I remained positive and focussed. I danced my little heart out and gave it my all.
They cut about 3/4 of the room and I wasn’t one of them. Phew!
No time to rest - we went straight into learning a second routine (along with the others who got through from the first group). There were about 30 of us at this stage. The second routine was easier than the first. They were now looking for personality, it seemed. I was singled out and asked to take onboard a correction. They do this in auditions to see if you can adapt, listen and improve on the spot, as that means you are more employable. I made sure I gave them exactly what they wanted. I was hungry for it. God I was exhausted afterwards. It was so hot in the studio that I actually sweated off all my make up! What can you do?
They made another cut. 30 became 15 and I was one of those 15! I was super proud of myself but it wasn’t over yet. We went back to the first routine and added on a new section. It was hard. I had to try and find energy and focus but my brain was starting to melt like the make up that was previously on my face.
It was almost my turn. Come on Brianna, you love this routine. Show them how much you love it and if you make a mistake at least they can see the joy. I went for it. It wasn’t perfect but it was better than I expected. I surprised myself - which is a wonderful feeling. (This doesn’t always happen.)
They asked the final 15 of us to stay and sing our songs in an hour. We left the studio, got ourselves changed into new outfits, re-did our hair and make up and when it was time, walked upstairs to sing. Apparently they had so many people turn up to the singing call (for those performers who sing better than they dance) that they told us we will be emailed soon requesting a recording of a song to be sent instead of a live audition. There are pros and cons to sending a recording but at least I left Pineapple feeling positive. I even made some friends!
It’s now Wednesday and I’ve just sent off my song recording this afternoon. All I can do now is hope that I’m what they are looking for. If I’m not, that doesn’t mean I should give up. It could mean they didn’t have enough spots to fill in their agency, it could mean I need to keep working on my singing, it could mean someone else simply out-sang me and out-danced me. I’ve already come to terms with being rejected. It’s all part of being in this industry. I mean, it still feels like shit - not gonna lie. You just have to stop dwelling and move on. Something better could be waiting for you.
And then we do it all over again.