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 Post subject: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 6:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 54
Location: Warrington, Cheshire, UK
My 15 year old daughter failed to get a call-back at her first 'real' audition. She was devastated. It was her first taste of failure. She was not that keen on that particular school, but the 'stigma' attached is immense. <P>This story is repeated year after year at audition time, but when it is happening in your home the reality hits hard and the fall out affects everyone. <P>She will live and there will be other auditions but there is a new 'sadness' in her eyes. She sobbed her heart out for many hours -behind her bedroom door. All her ballet pictures quietly disappeared. <P>She is a hard worker, never misses a class, has gained honours for every exam, got good parts in the school productions, spent two years on a Senior Associate programme, gained places on spring and summer courses and has dreamed of nothing else but becoming a ballet dancer. Initially she took this rejection to mean she will never fulfill her dream, and I thought she would never recover.<P>Would it be better if students were told why they had failed. We mull over the possibilites.... <P>Suddenly, her feet (though never suffered an injury and extremely strong) are 'not the desired prawny type'. Oh, and her back is... perhaps a little too long? What does that mean, is she disfigured? Unable to have a career in dance? <P>Luckily she is already attending a small private dance school full time (which she entered a year early) and her teacher has said she is 'dancing with a new determination'.... <P>In spite of being the youngest member of the school, she has earned the right to dance one of the lead roles in the upcoming production. She wants to believe that an ugly ducking can turn into a swan. I walk on eggshells, waiting for the next disaster, wishing she would not care so much.<P>Yesterday one lonely picture re-appeared on her wall, Silvie Guillem, her idol. I just wish she didn't care so much.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 7:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Caroline - being a parent and watching a child enter the world is difficult - from birth on..........<P>Unfortunately, as you know rejection is part of living whether it is an audition or a job. We have probably all felt rejection from a group, a job, a friend. It is much more difficult to watch it happen to our children. <P>I watched one day as my son was very purposefully not invited to a friend's birthday party - he sat across the street and watched the others at the party. How cruel I thought that was - there was no reason - it was just a childish whim not to invite him. The other parent should have stepped in - but didn't.<P>Don't wish that your daughter "didn't care so much" - her caring will carry her through. It shows her depth, not caring would show superficiality - and you wouldn't want that. <P>She will find her place, and renewed will and strength. If the heart is in the right place, as her's obviously is, it will learn from negative experiences too, and beat all the stronger for it.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited February 08, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 7:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 54
Location: Warrington, Cheshire, UK
Thank you for your very, very kind words.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 8:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 275
Location: California
Caroline:<P>Speaking from having run several auditions, and then making as much effort as possible to deal with each situation individually, let your daughter know that each director has an ideal in mind - but that "ideals" vary from place to place. <P>In auditioning for a professional company, you may find that the director only wants female dancers under 5'4"; or over 5'6", in order to work with the men available; or something comparable for the reverse situation.<P>Or a company does a lot of Balanchine ballets and uses that ideal. I personally preferred that the women in my companies looked like women, and the men like men; but some companies prefer an almost "unisex" look. I prefered a great deal of individual personality; some prefer a unanimity of approach (a tabula rasa). <P>Or, it might just be the way you look standing next to the other members of the company. <P>In the case of a school, it might be something similar. I believe some of this might relate to the differences in the ways teachers approach their work - whether they choose the bodies to fit the teaching; or adjust the teaching to fit the bodies. (The latter is much harder, and some teachers choose not to take the challenge.)<P>As hard as it now seems for your daughter, encourage her to approach her auditions in the same way she approaches her classes - with determination and dedication. Learn from each one, and go on to the next with the assumption that next time she will show them even more.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 10:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Caroline...auditions are one of those "icky" realities of life in dance. One of my least favorite aspects. They are often totally arbitrary...based on a particular "look", height, weight, hair color, perfume...no, just kidding. I heard of a story of a dancer that went to 100 auditions before they got their first job. Wow, imagine if they had gotten discouraged and not gone to that 100th audition! Merce Cunningham himself said "It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get up". Tell your daughter to keep on "keeping on". Try to learn something from every audition, or even try to approach an audition like taking class--do your best, have fun! (try to!)


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 242
Location: Washington St.
My ballet teacher's daughter went to at least 27 auditions before she got accepted into a company. She is tall (5'10") and maybe this was part of the problem. I asked her mother (my teacher) why she didn't give up, and the answer was that she had so much respect and passion for her art and its beauty that there was never any question of giving up. It was never an option. I also think the support from her mother helped her get through the pain of repeated rejection, so she could get up and go try again.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 275
Location: California
There is a true story of one casting director's written reaction to a screen test by Fred Astaire. I will find the exact quote, but it ran something like this:<P> "Balding, skinny, can't sing, dances a little."<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2001 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I remember that one, Wordfox. <P> It shows we can't let the critiques of others rule our lives or rob us of our dreams.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2001 6:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 275
Location: California
One of the first lines I ever committed to memory (ah, so long ago it has now slipped, as to the source) was:<P>"I shall not listen to reason. Reason always means what the other person has to say."<BR> Ann Davis(on)? 1602<P>Had I listened to reason, I might now be a very unhappy physician with many ex's, dreading the trip to work everyday.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition 'realities' - a mother's view
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2001 7:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Had I listened to reason - I would never have danced.


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