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Marching On (In February)

I … think? … I’m done with auditions for the rest of the month, at this point.

Yesterday’s was actually rather a soaring success, except for my usual habit of forgetting some bit of the modern combination and faking my way through that part so I could get to the next bit, then remembering it right after … but there are two thoughts that cheer me up.

First, nobody had the combo down cold. We all missed bits and pieces.

Second, that’s one of the skills they’re looking for at dance auditions. What happens when you fall off the script (because it happens even to top-tier dancers)? Do you freeze like a deer in the headlights, or do you roll on just as if you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to? (Bonus points if you can fake your way through well enough to make it look like everyone else was wrong. I don’t think I accomplished that, yesterday, but I didn’t freeze, either.)

The dance improv bit was, of course, a blast, because I love improv.

The trapeze bit went pretty well despite the fact that apparently whatever demiurge manages music for trapeze auditions believes it’s great fun to mess with mine. I recovered from that and had to improvise a fair bit, but it turned out rather well. And, of course, I didn’t fall off the trapeze this time[1].

  1. Last year’s audition for “Orpheus” is still the one and only time I’ve fallen off a trapeze. It’s also my number-one go-to story to tell when, inevitably, groups of people start reminiscing about stupid moments in their lives. There’s something special about making what seemed, in the moment, a very logical decision to drop myself off a trapeze from ten feet in the air rather than risk breaking my arms. Dancers get it; circus people get it; athletes get it. That said, there are entire hosts of people who think I’m crazy, and they’re probably right—but I’d still do it again in a heartbeat.

Once again, at this audition, they’re not necessarily looking for a polished cirque-style act: they’re looking for expression, musicality, and the ability to command the audience’s attention (and also sound technical elements, obviously). The piece that I showed is one I’m slowly working on set to the Indigo Girls’ “Kid Fears,” and it’s intentionally struggly, so it probably didn’t really hurt anything that I was, in fact, wrestling with my own choreography (much of which I didn’t apparently remember).

The acting part was flat-out awesome, and reminded me how much I actually really like acting, my anxiety about struggling to memorize scripts notwithstanding. Maybe what I really like is cold reading. Who knows? Anyway. I really liked the part they handed me, and ran with it.

Today’s audition was also lovely. Almost nobody showed up, so it was really just three of us mostly doing some improv stuff. I already know that our AD likes the way I improvise, so that was just pure fun. I showed the bits of my piece that I could, given my lack of a partner, and described the idea as a whole. Both our AD and the guy from U of L whose group we’re collaborating with liked it, so it looks like it’s a green light there.

My next audition is a couple of weeks away, and I’m happy to have a bit of a breather. The stretch from the past couple of gigs through now has been pretty intense.

Not that I’m complaining. The other night I was kvetching about some company-related annoyance and suddenly though something like, “Oh, hey. I’m complaining about work because that’s what we do. If it wasn’t a pain in the *** sometimes, it wouldn’t be work.”

And that actually felt, in its own way, rather lovely: like, this is my work, and it’s work that I love. And I think I’m becoming rather good at it. Maybe not world-beatingly good or anything but, you know, serviceable. Which has, to be honest, always been the goal. As a ballet boy I’m smallish and muscly and I bounce like a rubber ball, which puts me squarely in the demi-character camp, and I’m fine with that. Not everyone always has to be the prince (and, honestly, there are a lot of ballets in which the prince never gets to do anything cool outside of the pas de deux). As a circus artist, I’m reliable, adaptable, and versatile: not a specialist, but a generalist, and the kind of generalist who can pinch-hit almost anywhere.

I feel like that’s a good thing to be. I’m not here for glory: I’m here because I love to move; because I can’t not move.

And if sometimes that means I’m stressed out and hounded from pillar to post … well, that’s part of it. That and Auditioning for Poverty are pretty much hallmarks life as a dancer, or indeed as any kind of performing artist, or indeed possibly as any kind of artist.

You do the Work because the Work is what moves you … sometimes more literally than other times.

Callbacks ‘n’ Sech

Today was a long day: class at 10:30 (with a smidgen of rehearsal afterwards); teaching at 1 PM; suspended meditation at 2; callback at 3:30 (ended a little past 6:30).

Class was … erm. Like, barre was great? And the rest of it was … yeaaah. Erm. I had issues. On the other hand, I did manage one not-very-good triple, and except for the points at which I actually screwed up, things looked okay.

All three members of my Ballet Girl Posse were in class, and two of them stayed after, so we ran through our choreography … and I actually learned all their names. YAY! So at least I’ve accomplished something today. BG was still around, so he ran us through our bit a couple of times, and we decided that we like fourth arabesque better for my bit of the first partnering piece (a series of supported fouettés).

I begged off the last ten minutes of the modern dance portion of the apprentice-teaching class because my legs were a bit angry at me and I was going to need them for the audition. I used the time to foam-roll the crap out of them.

During meditation, I fell asleep. Given that I am the world’s worst napper (seriously, I can normally only nap when I’ve been awake for at least 48 hours straight), that’s saying something. Evidently, I was pretty tired.

The callback turned out to be the highlight of the day. It was more like a dance-and-theater workshop than an audition—we did some partnering stuff, then learned a dance and performed it in groups, then played theater games and ran some sides. Honestly, it was a hell of a lot of fun with a great group of people (both judges and fellow auditionees), and if every audition was that much fun, I’d audition for everything.

It turns out that I know the guy who’s directing the production. I met him at a party (which happened to be at his house) and felt instantly very, very comfortable with him, which speaks very highly of him. Also: proof that my world is incredibly tiny, heh.

We’ll hear back in a week or so about roles and such. Fortunately, I have too much going on to have much time to chew my nails about it, though I don’t have class with BW on Thursday this week.

Regardless, BW gave me homework—jumping rope to improve my cardio as well as the usual Turns Homework and … erm. I’m supposed to be doing something else, too, I think? Fehhhhcccckkkk. I can’t remember. It’s in my notes somewhere.

Anyway. I will miss BW’s class this week, but I suspect my body will welcome the extra rest. The fitness is returning, but my body hates me so much right now.

Very Funny, Universe

Before tonight, I had managed never to really fall off the trapeze before. I’ve dumped myself off handstand-style once, but that doesn’t really count.

Tonight, I managed to take a legit fall—during my audition.

In retrospect, I made the wrong call abotu my music: instead of just going for the piece I’d intended, “La Mer,” which was a little too long, and letting them cut it off, I opted for “Beyond the Sea” (Bobby Darin’s version).

It turns out that the tempo of Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” is actually quite a bit faster than the recording I have of “La Mer.” I was tired and attempting to adapt, and somewhere along the line my brain decided halfway into an egg-to-pike inversion that I was actually doing the arabesque roll to sit that comes at the end.

20161004_085517.jpg

Uh-oh. Here comes the Failboat.

Since one wraps one’s arms for the inversion in question, it’s not possible to do the roll in question without breaking said arms. I’m more afraid of breaking bones than of falling, so I basically just let go.

Failboat

Allll Aboooooaaaaard!

 

Apparently it was a pretty spectacular fall—and a technically-correct one 🙂 I tucked and rolled, and as a result the only parts of me that hurt are my forearms, which is what happens when you wrap your arms and then do crazy shizzle.

I popped back up and was ready to hop back on the trap before they even had a chance to cut the music (though they did, in order to make sure I was okay). I sorted my way through the rest of the trap routine, though I didn’t do the arabesque roll at the end; my arms weren’t digging that.

Ironically, the rest of the audition went pretty well, and apparently my trapeze improv looked pretty great (the fall was evidently quite exciting as well :D).

So, that’s my life for you. When I do finally manage to fall off the trap, it’s in the middle of an audition.

the-most-interesting-cat-in-the-world

At least I didn’t fall down during the dance portion? I did fall down during the acting part, but that was on purpose.

So there.

~

Oh, also, ballet was good today, petit allegro was far less bad than usual, and we discussed rehearsals for showcase, etc.

We also had a Physical Theater workshop, and afterwards I was chatting with the teacher, and she said something like, “So, you dance ballet?”

And I said something like, “Yeah, a little modern, but ballet is really my first language and my first love.”

Then she said, “I could tell—the legs!”

😀

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Eat All The Food.

The First Audition

So the audition was a bit mixed (kept reminding myself that almost nobody else had 100% of any individual phrase, either), but overall a complete blast — especially loved the partnering improv.

Also, I think my legs are going to fall off.

Audition Registration Taimz

So I’m filling out an audition registration packet for a local company that I know and respect, the AD of which I know and respect.

This is way more intimidating than filling out a registration for some audition for a company where I don’t know anyone personally; where nobody’s going to call me and go, “Asher, what the heck are you thinking? You are definitely not ready for this.”

Um, not that that’s going to happen here, either.

But that’s where the whole Impostor Syndrome thing takes me, apparently, in this particular circumstance.

Interesting.

Danseur Ignoble: The Audition

So my audition is done. Denis recorded most of it for me, which is pretty cool (if mildly horrifying at times).

I sort of screwed myself by setting the corners of my “stage” too close to one another, thus screwing up some of the lines of my choreography (such as it was) — there’s a bit that should go:

step
step
tombe
pas de bourré
arabesque turn
failli

… And when I realized (halfway across the floor) that I couldn’t do it in the space I had provided myself, it turned into:
step
step
pas de bourrée
oh crap
now what

But such is life.

I also spent a great deal of time basically wrestling with the robe that plays a role in the piece, which looks really dumb on camera.

There are a few beautiful moments in the video separated by long stretches of WTF. I’m debating whether to post a copy; frankly, it’s kind of embarrassing.

The judges asked to see the opening again, which Denis takes as a good sign.

I’ll hear back next week. Til then I’ll be sitting at the edge of my seat with my fingers crossed, I guess. Also biting my nails, which might be hard to do without uncrossing my fingers.

If my piece is selected, it will be a miracle I’ll have a lot of work to do, but plenty of time in which to do it.

This is the first dance audition I’ve done since, like, middle school, so it was sort of terrifying in its own way.

Future auditions shouldn’t be as bad, especially since I’m likely to be better prepared.

I just realized I never posted my class notes from yesterday, so those will be along eventually. Edit: I’ve posted them now, back-dated appropriately.

Danseur Ignoble: The Playa Plague Continues, Audition-y Anxiety

Since my cough was still keeping me up all night, I went to the doc-in-the-box on Monday afternoon. She listened to my lungs and said, “Ah-hah!”

o.O

It turns out I’ve got acute bacterial bronchitis. I’ve been running around assuming that this was some kind of sinus-drainage-induced-annoying-cough-thing that would clear up on its own. So … um, oops?

I was initially rather annoyed that I’d developed bronchitis, but then I realized it’s actually been quite a while (by my standards) since I’ve had it, or at least since I’ve had a case that warranted medical intervention. I feel like I still get sick more easily than most people, but my overall health is improving. I spend more time being reasonably well than I used to. Thanks, ballet!

So now I’m on an antibiotic and a prescription cough syrup. That should, I hope, get this shifted, though at this particular moment I’m still pretty uncomfortable.

I was able to sleep four about four hours tonight before the prescribed cough syrup wore off and I started coughing again, so I’ve taken my second dose for the night.

Since the cough has been at its worst when I’m lying down (convenient, right?), I decided to get up and give the medicine time to work its magic so Denis can sleep. He deserves a good night’s sleep for many reasons, not least because he’s been so great about looking after me while I’ve been useless and miserable.

The downside to the timing of this whole thing is that I’ve been invited to audition for a dance performance, and I’m iffy about whether or not I’ll be entirely back on my feet by the first weekend in October. (Or, rather, whether I’ll both be back on my feet and adequately rehearsed.)

The upside is that if I make it through the audition (that sounds so dire: there probably won’t be a shark pit waiting for those whose works don’t quite cut it), the performance isn’t until February, so I’ll have plenty of time to arrange my waterfowls in a linear array.

Swan Lake. By Paata Vardanashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia (Nino Ananiashvili "Swan Lake") [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Original photo by Paata Vardanashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia (Nino Ananiashvili “Swan Lake”) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of me says that I’m just being a big ol’ chicken (duck! :V). There’s some merit to that argument. I talk a good game, but my confidence about my ability as a performer and choreographer is, shall we say, still embryonic — you know, as yet unhatched.

Still, I must not let it ruffle my feathers.

…Okay, I’ll stop with the, ahem, poultry attempts at humor.

At any rate, I’ve bitten the bullet and signed up for an audition slot. After all my whinging about the challenge of finding performance opportunities, I can’t very well pass one up when it’s handed directly to me!

I have a piece in mind, though it’s a little on the short side (~4 mins; audition pieces need to be between 5 and 12 mins long). I’ll have to see if I can expand it a bit. If not, I may have to whip up something fresh — I do have some ideas, though, so that should be doable. I hope.

Being who I am, I feel a great deal of anxiety about the audition and essentially none about the concept of performing before (GASP!) an actual audience comprised of people who have actually paid actual money to actually sit down and watch. In short, I figure if the folks putting this performance together think I’m good enough, then I probably am*.

*This is very much consistent with my personality in general: I have absolutely no fear of public speaking before large groups, but the idea of carrying on a conversation with three or four strangers? Scary.

Here’s hoping I’ll be back in class this week. I’m going to need it. It seems unlikely that I’ll be up for Brienne’s class on Wednesday, but I might be able to handle Margie’s class. I’m optimistic about Friday, at any rate.

In other news, it looks like my primary employment this year will be with Porchlight Express, refitting the website and getting the other communications stuff sorted. That will take up a significant portion of my free time, so it’s useful to know that I probably won’t also need to pick up another part-time job.

I also still need to sign up for the GRE (OMG, WTF, BBQ) and submit my grad school applications. Oh, and take the driver’s exam at some point, hopefully before the 4th, in case Denis doesn’t feel like driving to Cincy for the audition. (But, seriously, there’s an IKEA there — why wouldn’t he want to go to Cincy?)

On my life-anxieties scale, by the way, this audition thing is right at the top. I feel pretty confident about getting accepted into one or more DMT programs and quite confident indeed about being able to really polish the PLX website now that I have time. That really rather puts things in perspective for me!

Anyway, I’ve stopped coughing up furballs for now, so I shall try to go back to bed.

Wish me luck?

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