Last Saturday I attended the company audition for Parsons Dance at City Center. This was my first time auditioning for them, and I hadn’t had the chance to see them live, so I did my research beforehand. They are a powerhouse of a contemporary company with a fast, dynamic, and very energetic repertoire. I really liked their strong, powerful moves.
I registered for this one in advance and was in the fourth and last group of the day. Callbacks were scheduled to take place right after my group. I warmed up at home and arrived early to check in. Here I am getting my game face on:
Lucky number 168.
When they took us into the studio, I think there were about 50-60 in the group. They had us line up in rows by number. There was a live band, which was pretty awesome. We were led through a quick center floor warm up – reminiscent of ballet but very modern with lots of contratractions. I struggled a bit to do degages with a fully contracted upper body in the center as this is not something I do too often. I just barely managed to keep up with everything, but tried my best. There were two girls in front of me who were clearly very strong modern dancers totally rocking it out. I watched them when needed
While we were following along with the warm up, I noticed the artistic director (this is who I assume it was at least) walking around watching everyone, and I heard him say the number of one of the girls in front of me, so I assumed she was a favorite.
This brings up an important point which I hope all of you already know: You are auditioning from the very first point of contact. Front the moment you turn in your headshot, enter the room, take your spot in the studio or at the barre – all these things count. Don’t assume just because you are doing a “warm up” that you aren’t being watched to see if you stand out.
After about four exercises, they announced that they were going to make a cut. We were all slightly confused because they did the opposite of what normally happens with a cut. If your number was called, it meant you were being asked to leave. They called, I think, every single number before mine, skipped me over, and continued – meaning, I was NOT cut. I still had to double check that I had heard correctly, but I had heard correctly. I got to stay and dance more. Yay!
I have no idea why, but you know what, that’s how this audition thing goes sometimes. It may be cliche to say, but you truly never do know what they are looking for, and sometimes you are it, and this is why you go. Sadly, the two girls in front of me (including the one whose number I had overheard) that I had been watching were cut. I have no idea why – at least one of them clearly knew the director and some of the company dancers and she looked very confused and dejected. I felt really sorry for her, and also rememberd the times when I had felt this way. It really happens to all of us, folks. You just have to keep going!
It seemed we were down to less than half the original amount of dancers and we moved to a battement combination that traveled across the floor. It really brought me back to my high school days at Hubbard Street! I had fun, and we did this back and forth across the floor roughly 4 million times. Then they made another cut, which I did not make, sadly.
I was still happy with myself for making at least one cut after first contact with the company. I stayed outside to watch the dancers that they kept learn some really fast repertory. I wanted to see what they did with the group, and I was curious to see if they would call back the dancers who I thought were fun to watch. Out of 10 dancers left, they invited 5 to the callback, two of which I had flagged. I made a mental note about the qualities in those dancers that both the company and I enjoyed.
While I didn’t make it too far, I’m proud of the result. It was definitely a learning experience and gave me some feedback that I can carry into my next contemporary/modern audition, and especially if I ever audition for this company again.