As I sit in a large, cold studio with a few dozen other parents, I hear the piano in the studio next door as E is attending her first summer intensive audition. Yes, she has done summer intensives for the past 2 years with Cecchetti USA, but this summer she is expanding her horizons (and comfort zone) to audition for Walnut Hill, Boston Ballet and Nutmeg Ballet. Why is there so much pressure that E puts on herself, as I saw her after warming up and before she went into the audition? Why do dancers compare themselves to others, always pointing out the great things they can do and the horrible things she can’t do? Why do they make these rooms so cold and not have a coffee machine nearby?
I see the look of concern and fear of the unknown in her eyes – one part of me wants to scoop her up in my arms and tell her that she doesn’t have to audition if she doesn’t feel like it, but that’s not going to do her any good. So I put on the “buck up” face, tell her to breath, that she’s ready for this, her teacher wouldn’t tell her otherwise, etc. She needs to do things that she may not like to do, but afterwards (which I will not publish this post until I have the “post audition” entry) I pray she is glad she is doing these auditions. One of my many “parents phrases” my kids have heard me say for so many years, “do it, even if you have to do it afraid.”
So, now on to the “waiting” part. I look around this room and see so much that I don’t like about being a dance mom, excuse me, ballet mom (but there are 4 dads here). There are 4 little groups of moms in this space, and I have been able to eavesdrop on each of them. “How many classes of jazz did you daughter take last week?” “This is our 5th audition this month, how many have you gone to?” There are 3 moms right next to me, talking about how they don’t have enough time to do more than 4 days a week of yoga, and they are complimenting each other such as, “you have a great body for yoga” and “you should try my hot yoga class on Saturday” and “I am so busy, I’m glad that we don’t work, because I would have absolutely no time for myself.” OK, don’t get me wrong, we moms need to take time for myself, but do we need affirmation from our friends when you obviously have a body that most of us “normal”40-something moms would love to have? Or just talk a little quieter so the rest of us here waiting don’t have to hear
Then there are the other parents here – by ourselves, either reading a book, checking out facebook on their cell phones, or just trying not to look like their are asking themselves, “how is my dancer doing?” Or am I the only one really wondering that? It’s so hard to tell. Not only do I wish E had a friend that went in to the audition with her, I wish I had one here on the “outside” to calm my nerves too.
My post-audition write up to follow…
As I knew, once she got into the audition, she calmed down and did her absolute best. It was good that her first audition didn’t have pointe. She handled all the barre work without any issues. The floor work was complex but not difficult. She was amazed at the difference of some dancers: during the warm ups she was a bit intimidated but things changed once they went into the audition studio. As we are both learning, someone can jump higher or lift their leg above their head, but ballet is so much more than that. It’s artistry, sweat, taking correction, having your body create the story of the music, even if its for 2 minutes. Well done, my ballerina.