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Auditions: IABD Ballet Audition in Denver?


Sugarmama

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I had noticed this audition, and I think it's an amazing opportunity. Does anyone have an idea why the audition is only for women and not men?

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DD15 wanted to attend, but it conflicted with another audition for a program that she really wants to attend. Hoping that they have this again next year.

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Just wanted to report out on the IABD audition in Denver. This review is based on DD's experience in the audition room and my parental observations.

 

A bit of background: This audition announcement advertised for company, 2nd company, and trainee positions. Summer intensives, workshops and other training would also be offered. When I saw this audition notice in Pointe Magazine in November, I emailed IABD to indicate that DD (age 15) would be interested in summer intensives of the attending companies and to ask if I also needed to bring her to the regularly scheduled audition tours of those companies. I was ASSURED that the IABD audition would be no different from the other audition tours and since DD was attending IABD, she would not need to show up at the regular audition tours because she would be seen at IABD. So rather than spend money on 10-15 different auditions every weekend in Jan/Feb, I decided to bring her to the IABD audition and knock out 10-15 auditions in one shot. I should also explain that DD did audition for one other program last week and was accepted.

 

Registration: Online, with a headshot, first arabesque, dance resume and a $35 fee. I registered DD in December and got a receipt for the $35 but did not get a confirmation re successful upload of the photos and resume until THE MORNING OF THE AUDITION!

 

Audition location: The Cleo Robinson Dance Center has special significance to IABD and the local dance community. Cleo Robinson serves on IABDs Board. It is a remodeled African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, but its studios were small and cramped for the 87 dancers attending this audition.

 

Audition length: WAY. TOO. LONG!!! The audition was scheduled from 3-5:30. Most of us arrived at 2pm so our girls could stretch and we could get additional instructions (but none came). Dancers came out just after 6pm, so a total of 4 hours!!!!Yikes!!!

 

Audition logistics: Details (on how the audition would be run, that cuts would be made, dancers would be given offers on the spot, how dancers would been notified, etc) were not provided. If I had know how this audition was to be conducted, I would have saved my money and had DD do the regular audition tours.

 

Audition per DD: All 87 dancers were given numbers and the audition started out in 1 room. It was very crowded and not enough room at the barre. DD does not remember the name of the woman who began the audition. Dancers were then grouped by age-15s, 16s, 17s, 18s, 19s, 20s, 21s, and 22 and older-8 groups-and taught the combinations. DD was grouped with a dozen other 15 y/os. She was glad the group was small. Their audition, entirely on pointe, was lead by Robert Garland of DTH. DD enjoyed the combinations and variations taught. Adjudicators sat in front of the class to watch as each age group performed the combinations. Then each company rep called a group of numbers of the dancers, and if your number was called, you went to talk to the company rep. No one in the 15 year old group was called and they were told-thank you, you can go if you were not called.

 

Recommendations: 1) I would recommend this audition for older dancers, ages 18 and up. I'm not sure why 15 year olds were even invited. Most of the dancers were older. I met several parents while waiting and their dancers were at Pointe Park and SUNY-Purchase. One dancer was dancing with the Louisville Ballet and another dancer had graduated from a three letter NYC school and had been pounding the pavement for two years, trying to find a job.

2) Despite what I was told by IABD, I also strongly recommend that dancers NOT use this IABD audition as a replacement audition for the regularly scheduled company audition tours, where company schools run and control their own SI auditions.

 

Irony of ironies: DD had been accepted and attended SIs at two of the adjudicating companies in the past.

 

Overall, I believe every audition experience regardless of outcome, helps a dancer improve and mature. DD came out of the audition smiling and pleasant, glad that she attended and relieved she is going to Ballet Austin for six weeks.

 

If there are questions, ask away!

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Our dd reported a crowded audition taught in two parts by two different instructors (short barre and center taught by one instructor and a second barre and center taught by a different instructor). After the audition, dancers were able to talk to the ADs/representatives who had indicated interest in the dancer. I am not certain whether they called numbers or posted numbers. Perhaps someone else can fill in additional details. Our dd was there on her own.

 

Julisha and I posted at the same time

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Guest narthaki

After returning home, I thought I would write about my thoughts and observations about the audition.

 

Like Julisha, my DD18 saw the announcement in Pointe Magazine in early December and thought that the large amount of companies attending would be a great way to audition for multiple trainee positions at one time. The advertisement made it seem like there were several positions available. She was excited about the opportunity and the historic nature.

 

Her assumption was that there would be about 40-50 people and that the company directors would teach repertoire/make cuts, similar to a company audition. However, this assumption was made because only vague information was given. Details were NOT provided! My DD18 also only got a confirmation email the morning of the audition.

 

The audition facility, while historic, was entirely too small for the 87 dancers who showed up. Although they had pre-registration open for approximately 2 months, they were still accepting walk-up registrations on the day of the audition. There was also limited space to warm up. The audition numbers were given to a few girls at a time (2 or 3 girls), 5 minutes before the audition started, even though they pre-registered MONTHS in advance. In addition, information about the audition (if it was on pointe, if they would make cuts, if they were doing rep) was just heresay and rumors. DD went in prepared for everything. At this point my DD was beginning to get frustrated with the crowded room, but she told me that she tried to ignore it and just focus on her dancing. However, the barre was only 4 combinations (plies, tendu, adagio, and grands battements). DD told me she was scared to kick someone because they were so close. She said that as she did port de bras, she would hit the butt of the girl in front of her.

 

The pianist had to leave after the barre, and one of the audition coordinators came to the waiting room and asked the parents if any of them played piano.

 

The center was chaos, as she puts it. There were so many people, it was hard to dance even after they split up into groups of 15 by numbers. They did just a few combinations in the center as well. Then, Robert Garland of DTH came and taught them a variation, which they did in groups of 8 by age, like Julisha said. After that, AD's called what numbers they wanted.

 

An additional note was that parents were crowding around the door, which was open, people were going in and out, and parents were talking loudly and taking videos of the audition INSIDE the audition room! In the hallway outside the audition room, parents were talking loudly and eating. It was totally unprofessional. Stanton Welsh left partway through, in addition to the representatives from SFB.

 

DD says most of the audition was standing around, getting stepped on, etc. Similarly to Julisha, she had previously been accepted to a few of the attending companies and believed that would be a positive factor. However, she was not called by any company, even the ones that she had been accepted to prior. I also STRONGLY recommend that people do not use this as a replacement for each program. She said it seemed very disorganized and almost like a slap in the face to dancers who had a lot riding on this audition. Many girls, including my DD, were trying to get contracts while saving money because all the companies had come to one place. Some people came from Canada, others came from the far northeast. The premise seemed so promising, with 15 high profile companies attending, but the actual execution was poor. I'm surprised AD's were able to see anything in that crowded room! Hopefully, the facility and the organization can learn from this years mistakes and continue to offer this audition in an improved manner.

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Narthaki, just read your review to DD and she forgot to tell me about the pianist! It sounds IABD didn't get a ballet accompanist but instead someone who plays piano. DD said everyone was confused because they are used to hearing preparation bars, and this pianist would just start playing without any lead in. And to leave mid audition? Wow. Mind blown.

 

I totally missed the parent drama because when I walked in, I could sense the impending feeding frenzy and purposely got myself lost in the Safeway Starbucks across the street, far from the maddening crowd.

 

Truly unfortunate. Narthaki, wishing your DD all the best.

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I hope they can address the challenges that happened this first time out of the gate and run a stellar audition next year. I know, that doesn't help those who attended this year. Maybe next year they can limit/cap the number of people who can audition based on the size of the space or perhaps break the audition into two groups based on age or goal and provide some information about the process before hand.

 

Regarding some of the ADs leaving early, it was probably mostly a factor of the audition running overtime rather than a lack of interest. I would assume that many of the ADs are tight on time. That said, it's unfortunate that this was not a more positive experience.

 

Best to everyone as move forward!

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Thanks to those who shared such detailed reports if this first time event. I surely do hope and, with good feedback, imagine that things will go smoother in the future. Here is a link to an article which sheds a generally favorable light on the event, its' importance in helping diversify the field, and a detailed list of the AD's, administrators and faculty.

 

http://www.mybodymyimage.com/iabds-first-ever-ballet-audition-for-women-of-color-a-step-in-a-new-direction

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Dejeowmom thanks for the link, I think that the piece is definitely emphasizing the positive and historic aspects of the audition as it should. It will be interesting to see the "tally" of offers that were made. I do think that if they can address the crowding and timing issue and provide an annotated list of what each company/ school is offering that this could be a great event. While it was clear that some of the representatives were looking for students or second company dancers it wasn't so clear for all.

 

The emphasis on the diversity of the group was a bit surprising based on my dd's assessment when I asked her about it, that said, she is pretty oblivious to race, ethnicity and kind of stays in her own head during auditions.

 

From a job perspective, my dd and I talked about the audition as a good opportunity to include in her audition schedule. She was surprised by the crowding and structure of the audition and disappointed that these factors lead to the departure of some ADs before the audition ended. For her personally, it was exciting to be a part of something larger.

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