The Muddy Feet audition happened! I went to it and it was great.

My dance friend (or more than friend) picked me up and we got to the space early. Because Conduit was forced out of their space (grrrr…fuck you, Nia) with a week’s notice, the audition happened at a mutlipurpose studio in South East, not too far from the Morrison Bridge. It was a sunny day. We’ve been having an inordinate amount of those lately.

The audition was in a little room with some risers and a SLICK-AS-FUCK wood floor. This proved to be my (and everyone else’s) downfall.

We’re at a point in contemporary dance history where sock-wearing is completely acceptable and, in many cases, expected. Old school modern dance was of the barefoot only mind, and you were supposed to build up callouses and be super grounded. Many amateur dancers who wear socks tend to stay on top of the floor and have a hard time being grounded, but the advanced and professional are capable to finding the floor through the thin layer of fabric that we cling to, that protects us from floor burns, that allows us to do quadruple turns. Socks allow us to glide on the floor and slide in ways that we can’t in bare feet, and this is being more and more utilized in choreography. You need to be able to travel and use the socks to your advantage. For floor work, you’re able to move much more fluidly. Socks are great.

But this floor was slick. Socks impeded my movement, but when I was barefooted, I stuck too much. And I got an awful floor burn. I prefer bruises to floor burns, for the record, in terms of injuries.

The combination wasn’t entirely difficult, but it’s always a little nerve wracking to be at an audition, even if the people you’re dancing for are super cool. There were a lot of young dancers who seemed to be around my level – a few outliers on either end, but for the most part a lot of us were in the same place.

We did a phrase, which was only hard because of the spatial constraints. It was the sort of thing I could be good at if I had a few minutes to go over it with enough space (excuses excuses), because it was based on spirals and momentum. Those types of combinations are easy once you have the movement memorized, because you just have to buckle up and ride the spiral.

They had us then alter the phrase to our liking. This is the kind of exercise I loved doing in college, and I felt like I was pretty good at it too, but my mind went pretty blank in the moment. It was made all the worse by the fact that I knew it was something I at least used to be good at. I altered some things that were painful because of my tailbone.

We did some more improvisation exercises with partners. Kim and I did pretty well together, I thought, and we showed that we were capable of lifting one another. We had sort of a goofy thing going on, and I felt like I was really seeing her. My favorite part of improving with a partner, when not touching, is to follow and copy what they’re doing, but copy it in my own interpretation.

It was nice to watch the other dancers move. There are a lot of talented people here who could grow to be great with the proper guidance. It’s too bad that there’s no good mid-level company here, but it’s hard enough to keep a talented company going (cough cough Cedar Lake), much less one that only has potential.

The Muddy Feet people said that they wanted not only dancers from this show, but dancers for future engagements and festivals, and that they weren’t going to do auditions every time they needed dancers. This has me hopeful, because after seeing the competition, I’m not entirely sure that I’m going to get in. But I do feel like I have a shot at future opportunities with them. I’m too exhausted to get my hopes up, honestly.

I know that, as my dance lady friend said, I’m a very specific kind of dancer. Not every choreographer is going to want me. And I’m okay with that! I don’t want to do every type of dance. I wouldn’t be able to dedicate myself to every company equally, and being in Paul Taylor wouldn’t fulfill me artistically, even if it does have prestige. But I feel like Muddy Feet is similar to my aesthetic.

It was nice to hang out with my dance girlfriends after the audition, too – we found a cheap place for beer near NWDP. I never gave beer any credit, but it was probably because in college all I ever really had was PBR, and there’s all these breweries here that make awesome alcohol. But anyway, it’s so nice to have dance people I like. The camaraderie is so much of why I like dancing in a company type of setting. There are some really talented NWDP work studies right now; hopefully we can make some work together. When we’re not all at our eight jobs.

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