….As a Seattle resident, at least. I’ve auditioned here many times.
I’d heard about the auditioning company via word of mouth, and everyone only seemed to have good things to say about them. The audition hit my radar from a facebook post. I debated whether I should ask for the time off to go; after my recent audition quests, I’ve been in a place where I just want to enjoy dancing again. I didn’t get to take much class this summer, being in Idaho, so I’ve just been happy to go to good classes with other modern dancers who also own kneepads.
But the stubborn part of me said to go, as did my coworker, who was covering a bit of my shift. So I drove down the 5 and back-angle parked like the real Seattle-lite that I am.
For some reason, and I don’t know why, I was expecting the studio to be packed to the brim with dancers. After all, this company travels internationally and pays. There were only about fourteen of us, though.
This made me relieved and scared at the same time. Apart from a few quick videos I’d seen, I didn’t know what to expect – sometimes it’s comforting to hide within the masses.
This audition went in the reverse order as most of the others. After introducing himself, the choreographer asked us to do a few rounds of improvisation in small groups. I wasn’t super warm or mentally prepared at this point, but it went all right; I focused on doing what I wanted to do with the sudden opportunity of open air. I spent most of the time on the floor and tried to find new and different points of initiation to pull me off my center. As I watched the others, I tried to tell myself to stand a bit more. I also told myself to stop looking at the goddamned ground like I was in love with it (even though I most certainly am).
We then learned a phrase. It was fluid and full of non-positions. You never stopped or held anything, and the ball of energy moved through your body in spirals. There was no change in quality through the phrase. It utilized the deep second position as well as a tad bit of floorwork that was so satisfyingly fun with the momentum. I don’t even care how the rest of it looked, because I had a great time with the floor.
It wasn’t so long or difficult, but he had us repeat the last 1/4 of it to three different directions, which became confusing. There were no “landmark” movements that jumped out to me, and parts of the repetition repeated within itself, so there was plenty of potential for error.
After the phrase, we partnered up and learned a lovely phrase. I was paired with a man who was as sweaty as I was, and after a few rounds of practice, we got into a good groove. He said that he had done his thesis on partnering, and I had done….a lot of partnering, and I think that it showed. It was all very modern movement, with pelvis lifts and toe skims and that everpresent spiraling around and within one another. I would have really liked to tape us doing it, because it was pleasing to watch on the people who were (obviously) experienced at modern dance partnering.
We switched partners, and we did the phrase a few more times. This second time, I was with a girl who was shorter and less broad, so the experience felt very different.
So much of the movement and the partnering was within my element, so I didn’t feel very nervous as I was moving. What I was feeling was nausea, due to the left-over lunch pizza and the several lattes that the trainees had made for me (and let’s face it: I knew I shouldn’t have been drinking them, but I’m weak, so I did). I was also worried about how obviously sweaty I looked. I love my blonde hair, but it really contrasts against my pink face. I wasn’t tired – just sweaty.
Then it was over. Two hours, just like that. I was happy to have danced on a day I normally couldn’t dance, because nobody gives class in Seattle after two in the afternoon, apparently. It was a positive audition, and while it didn’t entirely feel like a class, I had a good time and didn’t feel overly “examined,” which is how some of those cattle call auditions go. I would take class from this group and audition again.
When I was done, I smelled like my man partner, which meant it was time for a shower. But I stayed for an inversion boomerang, and let me just say this: my pelvic placement has gotten hella good. I can go up fast or slow, and I can stay up there. Forever.
(Or maybe like five seconds, but time undergoes an intense dilation when your body becomes inverted)
As for Seattle Dancing: I’m going to say that I feel like this is a better fit for me than Portland. I’ve only been here for three weeks (not counting the two summers I spent here), but there is plenty of modern and many people are making work. Not all of it is paid, of course, but people are making things, and dancers are dancing, and my friends seem to be finding work on a consistent basis. There are always shows to go to in big and little theaters, and there are always classes.
The Seattle dance scene is visibly different from Portland’s. It seems that all of the female modern dancers have an undershave or some other sort of short quirky hairstyle. I feel like I belong with my new squire-esque cut. People dress androgynously rather than “stylishly” (and what the hell does that mean anyway?), with sweats and tanks that aren’t necessarily part of this whole athleisure thing. None of us can afford real athleisure.
Classes of the week:
Open Ballet at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Modern with Jody at Velocity. ABCs of Aerial at Versatile.
update: oh, the feeling of being told “well, we really want to work with you but your schedule doesn’t work with everyone else’s, so next time” isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible either; sometimes life just gets in the way. Update 2: oh, the feeling of being cast in the choreographer’s next piece (hooray)