Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dance machine!

I'm not a dancer, even though I love to dance. I'm good at the kind of dancing where you're just out having fun and making up your own steps to the music. And since hubs doesn't dance much, I take every opportunity I can to dance on my own. (Remember my impromptu street dancing in Memphis? I should have put out a hat or a cup or SOMETHING. We could have gotten our drinks for free that night.)

But if I have to remember steps or routines, everything quickly devolves into a HORRIBLE mess of arms, legs, and feet. (Remember all my teeth gnashing when I had to learn steps for that show at New Stage? This failing is one of the reasons I had such trepidation about bellydancing class. Memorized steps? Check. Undulating midsection? Check. Dancing on stage in front of a live audience - and later, for cameras? Check. Very well, then! I see we have all the ingredients for disaster!)

A director has never, NEVER seen me dance and said, "I MUST have her for my next production!" Usually, what happens is the director sees me act, hears me sing, and is interested in casting me. Then, when I show up at the dance callback, he/she thinks, "Hmmmmm. Maybe we can put her in the middle, have her sway a bit, and then have the really good dancers pirouette all around her or something. 'Cause this chick is a train wreck."

Anyhoo, a while back, New Stage called me in to do a dance callback for Smokey Joe's Cafe, which they are producing this summer. (I'm not sure why they called me for a "dance callback," as I haven't auditioned all season. I guess it was in response to my whiny complaint that they kept calling me up on short notice to audition for other productions, and they figured that a fall audition for a summer production ought to be enough notice for even the most overscheduled mother.)

They told me that they were holding two sessions, one at 3 p.m. and one at 3:30 p.m. I chose the later audition, and showed up promptly. I could hear session one still auditioning. I signed the sheet, stretched my legs a little, and waited my turn. All of a sudden, the door to the audition room bursts open and eight VERY SWEATY people came out. They were all breathing hard, like they'd just run a marathon. I knew one of the girls in the group, and she mentioned that they'd been "auditioning" for NEARLY AN HOUR. Then she told me that the routine was really "quick-paced." People, these folks were in WAY better shape than me. And TWO of them looked like actual dancers, with leggings and leotards and stuff. At this point, I started to realize that I was soooo in over my head.

As I've said before, I'm no dancer. I'm an actor/singer who can walk. And, looking at the dripping, exhausted group, I began to wonder what (in the name of God and all that's holy) I was doing at this audition.

Finally, their audition ended, and the damp collection of skinny people practically limped out the door. I was nearly hyperventilating by this time. Then, I looked around. The waiting area was oddly quiet. And oddly bare. With a start, I noticed that there was NO ONE else in the waiting room. You guessed it. Session two was ALL ME. What? You mean, no one to hide behind? No one to strategically position squarely between the camera and myself? Sweet Lord in heaven. At this point, I seriously thought about making a break for it.

"Next!" chirped the choreographer. I took a deep breath and prayed I could make it down the steps without taking a head dive.

The choreographer was really nice. We talked about my ability level (nil), and then she taught me a quick routine. It was alot of step-pop, some turns, and the requisite "ta-da" pose at the end. I have no idea if the previous group's routine was more difficult, but I'm betting it was. We practiced for about 10 minutes, then I did it a couple of times for the camera. I managed to get *most* of the steps right, but I was no Baryshnikov (no surprise there).

At any rate, I got through another harrowing experience. And I must say, I am SHOCKED that the director didn't call immediately to offer me a role.

Shocked, I tell you.


Brogan said...

You should have done some serious drinking prior to the audition. I've found that I'm an excellent dancer between beers 10-14. Once I hit No. 15 I'm not so good.

Nicole Bradshaw said...

Hmmmm . . . somehow, I doubt that alcohol would improve my brain function (i.e. actually remember the steps) or my coordination. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

As for drinking to loosen up at clubs and such, I need no such help. I'm high on life! (And Coca-Cola.)

HEATHER said...

Sounds interesting!
I'm not coordinated at all when it comes to trying to remember a routine like that.

Nicole Bradshaw said...

Heather - you and me both, honey!