Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Awesome Never Stops

It's audition season for ballet company summer programs. I received a calendar from Jungle Boy's ballet teacher, with dates for a dozen different auditions. We're lucky to live near San Francisco because all the big companies take their audition tours through here.

Last Saturday was his first, for a major New York company. We navigated through unfamiliar streets, found parking, and found the host ballet school. It was a cool old building with an old style elevator - complete with attendant to close the grill and guide the car to its floor. I haven't seen one of those in years.

There were long crowded hallways full of young women and parents. The girls were all stripping off sweat pants and uggs and stretching in every imaginable form of extension. Wall to wall limber limbs all around. The parents were nervously shifting around on narrow benches trying to get comfortable and focus on reading magazines.

We turned in his application and photos and I sat down to wait. Jungle Boy ignored all the girls, sat off in a corner, and quietly read his Kindle. Meanwhile, all the girls were getting quite noisy with the chatting and more extreme stretching.

When the audition began, all the dancers went into the studio and we parents started chatting among ourselves. Some had horror stories of auditions. Some were new to the process like me. Although we were excluded from the studio, the door was open and once in a while a few parents would try to look in without being seen.

When the hour and a half was nearly over, my curiosity got the best of me and I went to peek in too. The girls had just been dismissed to put on their pointe shoes and the teacher was marking through the men's combination. All the terms are in French, and I know most of them, so my ears pricked up when the teacher asked for a "double tour." A tour is when a dancer jumps straight up, and spins around. Imagine jumping straight up and spinning twice before you land.

Jungle Boy has, at his best, done one and a half tours. I didn't hear him, but he told me later that he asked the teacher if he could do a single.

"No, I want to see you try a double." I think at that point I stopped breathing. I knew what was up. The combination began.

And he nailed it. The double tour. I nearly screamed.

We'll start hearing audition results in a week or two. Fingers crossed. But even if he doesn't get into any of these programs, he's still my hero. Now I understand why his teacher insisted he do all these auditions. Clearly the experience brings out the best in him.

6 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Coloradolady said...

How exciting~~~I can only imagine how intense these auditions must be!! WAY TO GO JUNGLE BOY!!!

Alisa said...

Congratulations to him for striving and succeeding. Even if he doesn't get the spot, the experience is worth it all! I'm so proud of him!

Kandra said...

Girl this brought the BIGGEST grin to my face during my lunch "light" reading ;) WTG Jungleboy! :) As a gal that danced ballet (many years ago and in a small town - but fun none the less), I knew exactly what you were talking about. I never got to two! LOL

Dena said...

I nearly screamed too just reading that he landed it! NICE JOB JUNGLE BOY!! :D

harpquilt said...

Way to go Jungle Boy----auditions really build character and confidence!! Woo-hoo!

MamaTech said...

Oh my goodness! That's so amazing. I got chills reading about his experience and yours.

Auditions, even if he doesn't make the cut, ARE character building. My oldest is in theatre - at this point more about writing plays and the musical scores and directing than actually acting - but she clearly remembers the first major audition I took her to when she was 13. The part was too old for her but she was determined. Of course, she didn't get the part she wanted, although she did get in the chorus, and for someone who had always "won", that perceived failure was a spur to do better the next time. To the point that now it is her career - mostly as director, teacher, and writer, but still, it's her career and she has a firm belief that the arts education builds character and confidence, a work ethic, and people skills.

Having said all that, here’s me crossing my fingers for luck on behalf of Jungle Boy!

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