Considering I’ve been BUSTING MY BEHIND at ballet and pointe for the past two years and managed to survive a couple Nutcracker auditions, I decided the ECC for Phantom on Broadway was a realistic fit for me. I just had to show up looking sixteen years old and “innocent.” No biggie.
Actually, I was excited for this. Once you narrow the range down to girls under 5’4″ who dance en pointe, look like teenagers, and can carry a tune – you knock out a lot of potential competition. What they wanted was so specific, and I wasn’t expecting any really outrageous ballet dancers to show up to a musical theatre call. Chances were pretty good I’d get seen and it wouldn’t be a big group of girls. And I really have been busting my hump on my pointe technique. I put on my shoes every day, take a full ballet class at least 3-4 times a week, take pointe variations on Saturdays, and have been rehearsing in them for my own choreography non-stop.
I took the morning off of work, donned a brand new leotard, begrudgingly packed my pink tights because I knew it was the one time I’d actually wear them, and headed over to Pearl Studios. I was sure to bring a dance skirt with so at least I wouldn’t hate my pink tights too much.
I also tried to do something cool with my hair – better than the traditional bun or French twist (which I can’t manage anyway), and we all know that having my hair down doesn’t work for me – I sweat it out in 5 minutes. I found the idea in Real Simple magazine. It’s a sideways french braid and then you just wrap the end. You can see the results to the left.
The call was scheduled for 11 AM. I arrived shortly after 9:30. There was only a handful of girls in the holding room. I was #15 on the non-union list. I put on my headphones and started to warm up.
The monitor arrived, and it didn’t seem like there were many equity girls. It turned out we were all going to go into the room at the same time.
As soon as we got in the room, I was reminded Pearl Studios only had studios with slippery wooden floors. Eek! Luckily they had a huge box of rosin at the ready for all of us. A couple of the girls had pointe shoes with rubber tips – smart!
A sweet older woman welcomed us after we settled into the room and got our rosin. We were told that there were no current openings in the show, but she would be keeping about 10 people on file for future replacements. We were shown a simple combination by her and her assistant.
We split up into four groups to learn the combination. I had it down along with a lot of her corrections by the time the first group finished. I was in the third. She was correcting people she liked, so I was encouraged when I went and was getting lots of direction. She worked with me on refining my arms and had me try a few adjustments once or twice, singled out. It was the first time I was at an audition and felt able to really think beyond a little more.
She knew a handful of the dancers by name, and I started to realize there were some at hte audition she had worked with or seen at another audition.
We went in groups of four and did the combo twice through. I was around the middle of all the groups and she gave me another direction before doing it the second time. This is usually a good sign. I was happy with my adjustments.
She asked to see some in my group go again. I was not one of them. This surprised me. I knew at this point that I wouldn’t be asked to stay. She ended up keeping about 10 to stay and sing.
All I could really take from it was that I needed to keep showing up now that she had seen me once, and that the only real thing I’d been doing wrong was not showing up enough. And so, time to show up more.