Friday, November 11, 2011

Coral's Audition

One

Several weeks ago, when my friend Maiki was visiting me in New York, she told me about her friend Coral. Coral moved to New York City recently. She's from New Zealand, but she spent the previous year in Hawaii (where she met Maiki). Now, she and family are living in Brooklyn. Maiki thought the two of us would get along well, especially since we are both dancers. So, yesterday afternoon, I met Coral in Manhattan.

Two

Like Maiki, Coral studies Polynesian dancing. As Coral is half Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand), she studies traditional Maori dancing. I thought that was really interesting, but I wanted to know more about her ballet studies. I asked her where she takes classes and she told me she goes to a well-known school. I had to know- what was it like? I asked her about her audition, and she began to tell me.

Three

"On the day of the audition," Coral said, " I woke up early and had butterflies in my stomach. I have studied dancing for a long time, but the school I was auditioning for is very well-known, so I was a bit nervous. As we moved to New York City between ballet school terms, I had a private audition. I was just told to come to the building on Broadway, wearing a leotard, tights, and ballet slippers. While I waited for the ballet mistress, I stretched."

Four

"You must be really good if they wanted to see you in the middle of the term!" I interrupted. Both of our schools are pre-professional schools- there is one audition a year and it is very rare to get in otherwise.

"Thank you," Coral said shyly. "My parents and I talked about requesting an audition for your school, but my ballet teacher back in Wellington recommended this one."

Five

"Soon, the teacher came into the room," continued Coral. "It was actually a lot like a mini ballet classes. She taught me some combinations at the barre and I went through them. I couldn't help looking around the big, sunny studio. I knew I wanted to study there."

Six

"After I did my exercises at the barre, the teacher asked me to come to the center of the floor and dance a short piece for her. I was anxious, because I knew this school would really help me in my career, but it went really well! I was flying across the floor!"

Seven

Coral stopped. "I was really nervous!" she said.

"I was really nervous for my audition too," I replied. "I'll tell you about it sometime."

Eight

"It was over pretty quickly. The teacher left the room, talked to my parents, and came back in. She told me I could join the school!"

I could tell Coral was still surprised and happy that she had gotten into the school.

"The next time I went to that big building on Broadway," she said, " I wore the official lavender uniform of my level at the school. I did it!"

Nine

I was impressed. While my ballet school is better known, Coral's school is very good too. In fact, a boy from her school worked as the title character in a Broadway musical about an English boy who loves to dance.

Maiki was right- Coral is a great friend. We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting about life in New York. Both of us are busy with Nutcracker rehearsals right now (my school's parent company performs in Manhattan, at Lincoln Center, while Coral's school and parent company are performing The Nutcracker in Brooklyn), but we pinky-promised that we'd try to come see each other dance.

I'm really glad Maiki introduced us. Do you have any friends with whom you have something important or special in common?

17 comments:

  1. Salut, Inky!
    This post made me think of Chrissa and her friend Malorie. Although Chrissa and I are not always on good terms, I kind-of miss her. They both dance, and they are quite passionate about it.
    My sister dances, too, and she is extremely good. However, she doesn't think she needs to practice. It's sad; I feel like she is wasting her talent. My best friend dances, too. I love watching her on pointe. It's so pretty...
    I don't dance, but I appreciate it as an art form.
    Anyway, I'm so glad that Maiki introduced you two! You guys have so much in common- I'm sure you'll make great friends.
    I have a lot in common with my best female friend. We both love clothes and shopping, though she always tends to look more sophisticated than me! We also love listening to music; her favorite singer is Miley Cyrus as well. We love traveling, and I've been on many fun trips with her family. She's an only child, and she considers me to be the sister she never had.
    Bises,
    Sabine

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  2. Hi Inky, this is Kaya. :-)

    It's so cool that you got to meet Coral, and that you get along so well. She seems like a really cool person, and a good friend.

    Thanks for telling us about the audition! Sounds scary but worth it. I'm glad she got in!

    My ballet school isn't prestigious like yours or Coral's, but it has a good reputation in our city. I really like studying there.

    I've made a lot of really good friends through dance. Sometimes we get overly competitive with each other, especially around the time parts are being chosen for performances - so it's good to have separate school friends too. Even so, I'm really glad to have my ballet friends, because I think our bond of dancing together is pretty special.

    My ballet school has a non-professional company that performs special performances. (Our province doesn't have a professional ballet company in residence.) My school's company is mainly university students and high schoolers, but sometimes they take younger people as apprentices. I decided that I'm going to audition for an apprentice spot this year, even though I probably won't get in at my age, because I think it would be a good experience.

    Love,
    Kaya

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  3. Auditioning for a ballet school must be so exciting and scary, too! None of us are serious dancers, but some of us are studying music very seriously. Not me, though. Lalita is a wonderful violinist and gets to go to a special performing arts school. I'm more into biology and being outdoors, but I share that love with Mia and Nicky.

    Hugs,
    ~ Kiki

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  4. Sounds like a lot of work and fun at the same time to do something you both enjoy and have that in common. I would probably be frozen with stage fright myself and would not do as good. I applaud you both for making it through your auditions into your schools.

    I just came to this family this year and have not found my nitch in life yet. I have a sister Loryn who is a concert pianist and Mara is unbelievable on her violin. I know I will find my talent soon, just have to try a few more things.

    Hope to see you in April.
    Taryn

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  5. Hi Kaya!
    Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoy ballet too. Before we moved to New York, I went to a regular local ballet school. I don't think it matters how prestigious your school is, as long as you have a good teacher and are learning good technique.

    Coral was a regional associate at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington before she moved here. Have you ever thought about going to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School? There is a girl at my school who came from there. She dances beautifully.

    You should definitely audition to be an apprentice! At my school, apprentices are usually about 16-19 years old, but young students have the opportunity to perform in different ballets that have roles for children, like the Nutcracker or Sleeping Beauty. I've only done the Nutcracker so far, but I'm hoping for another role this year.

    I could chat forever about ballet! It's really, really hard work, but I love to dance. :)

    Inky

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  6. Hi Taryn,

    You will find your niche! Before I came to New York, I wasn't serious about ballet at all. I only studied it because my moms made me! Now, it's my choice to dance.

    Your family sounds really musical. How cool to have a concert pianist in the family! My ballet school is right next to Julliard, a really famous music school. And Mara plays violin- awesome! I take viola lessons, but I am really bad because I don't like to practice.

    I'm excited for you to come to New York! Is there anything special you want to do? I love showing friends around- they usually want to see things I've never seen myself! Maiki took me to Magnolia for cupcakes when she visited.

    Inky

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  8. Hi Inky, it's Kaya again.

    Royal Winnipeg Ballet is awesome, and I've heard their school is an amazing place to study.

    The problem is, it's really really far away! (Like if you went to study in Kansas or something.) I wouldn't be able to live with my family anymore, and I'm not sure I'm ready to see them only at holidays. I think I want to wait till I'm older to make that kind of choice.

    I'm also still not sure if I want to study dance or science at the university level, so I feel that it's better for me to stay in my current academic program for now.

    It's a super fun idea to think about, though! Even though it won't actually work for me right now, it's one of my daydreams.

    :-)

    I think the reason that our company members and apprentices are younger is because they're not professionals. It's just a hobby for them, although it's one they put a lot of time into. The main people who can devote that much time are students, and the ones who eventually turn professional move out of province to do so.

    I've decided I'm definitely going to the audition. I'm not going to pressure myself to get a spot, though - I'm just going to focus on doing my personal best, and treat it as practice for auditions I'll have in the future.

    I hope you get a Nutcracker role, and that it's something good!

    Our school is doing a Nutcracker this year, with mainly students. (Usually they hire two or three professionals for the most demanding roles too.) We get our roles next week. I'm pretty sure I'll be in it because almost all the pointe students are, since there are fewer of us and we have more experience.

    Fiona isn't sure if she'll get a role, so she's nervous. They only take about half the kids her age, and she hasn't been studying as long as some of the others. I have high hopes for her, though! She's talented, and she's very determined.

    Love,
    Kaya

    P.S. Sorry for the long comment! I got on a roll. ;-)

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  9. Hi Kaya!

    I can't write much, because it's really late and my moms don't know I'm still awake!

    Break a leg at your apprentice audition! We had Nutcracker auditions last month- I'm a polichinelle again. Even if you are an absolutely amazing dancer, the company needs dancers in certain pieces to all be one height. I probably won't move up to candy canes until I grow quite a bit more. I wouldn't mind being in the party scene or a mouse or soldier, but maybe next year. :)

    That's so cool that you're en pointe already! I'll start when I get to Girls IV. I'm in Girls III right now.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for Fiona! My school's parent company uses an A cast and a B cast. They alternate days, so there are more parts to go around.

    Yeah, I know Winnipeg is really far. If my family didn't have to move to New York, I probably would never have gone to a professional school. My grandfather was a ballet dancer, so he would be really happy if I do it as a career. Sometimes he jokes that I have it in my blood since I'm from Russia. However, my real dream is to be a park ranger!

    Okay, now it's really bedtime. Good night!

    =^..^=
    Inky!

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  10. Hi Inky,

    Being a polichinelle is a great role. That's something to be proud of for sure. Congratulations!

    I understand about the height thing. At our school they reuse the same costumes every year rather than buying new ones to fit each dancer, so part of getting a role is whether you fit into the costume for it. (Another part is being capable of dancing it, of course.)

    It was the same way at our guardian's ballet school when she was a kid. Blakeney had the same Nutcracker role (an angel) four years in a row because she didn't grow fast enough to be tall enough for the next set of costumes. ;-)

    Yep, I'm en pointe - but remember that I'm a couple of years older than you. When I was ten I was not en pointe yet. You're the same age as Fiona, and she isn't either. Nothing wrong with that. :-)

    Thanks for the well wishes for Fiona. She appreciates it, and sends hugs. Our school does A Cast and B Cast too for the younger kids (and for the role of Clara,) but still not everyone gets in.

    It can be kind of hard to anticipate what we'll get because we don't audition for Nutcracker - because it's mainly for our dance school, they choose based on how we've done in class for the year so far. Fiona hopes she's done well enough, but it's kind of hard to know if the teachers were looking at someone else during your best moments, or focused on you during your klutz moments, etc.

    We'll both find out Monday, though, so we'll let you know! :-)

    Love,
    Kaya

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  11. Hey, Inky! This is Chrissa! Dancing is 1/2 of my life, so I had to comment on this post.
    I've been dancing for most of my life, starting with ballet. Then, I began to take jazz and tap classes. I've also taken some modern classes. I began en pointe two years ago- when I turned tweleve. I've always thought pointe was beautiful, and I never took into consideration how much it hurt your feet! Even with toe pads, my toes ache. It's worth it, though, because I'd love to open my own dance studio someday.

    Since I go to a boarding school, there is no Nutcracker here. :( My old studio used to alternate years- one year we'd do the Nutcracker, and one year we'd do a recital in the spring. As much as I loved Nutcracker years, I preferred the recital years because I always loved the jazz dances and costumes.

    I'd love to come see you dance someday!

    -Chriss <3

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  12. Hi Kaya!

    Yeah, our school reuses costumes too. They get remade occasionally, but they are the same Karinska design.

    What time do you find out about your parts? I'm so excited for you two!

    Our teachers usually give recommendations at auditions, but we have a separate children's ballet mistress who rehearses us for special roles.

    Dancing runs in my family. My great-grandmother was a ballet dancer in the 30s and 40s! My grandfather still plays Drosselmeier every Christmas in his local company, and my mother danced for many years when she was young. Her first Nutcracker role was as a polichinelle too!

    If you or any of your sisters ever come to New York City, you should come see the New York City Ballet or American Ballet Theatre!

    -Inky

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  13. Hi Chrissa!

    Thank you for your comment. :) It's so cool that you want to open your own dance studio someday. I study ballet and character, but I know students at other schools do jazz, modern, and hip hop. At the Alvin Ailey school, kids do all different kinds of modern dancing.

    My school doesn't do a recital- the Nutcracker and the occasional times we appear in regular ballets are it for us. Our school's founder believed very strongly that children should get used to performing at a young age, so many of our company's ballets have roles for children.

    I am not looking forward to the pain of going en pointe, believe me!

    Inky!

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  14. Dear Inky,

    Your and Coral's friendship reminds me of me and my friend Megan. We both share a passion for writing, but are extremely quiet about our work. We both met over time, though, not introduced by someone. We love to exchange stories from different points of view or just one in third person narrative together.

    I hope you get to see Coral again soon, and that the Nutcracker performance goes well!

    Laurel

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  15. Where did Coral get her lavender leotard and coat?

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  16. Hi Anonymous,

    Coral's coat is from a board member on American Girl Playthings. Her leotard was made by Dynamite Threads, out of a real American Ballet Theatre girls' leotard.

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  17. This dancing sounds so cool!

    I haven't started doing dance yet- I want to, eventually- but my mom takes tap, hip-hop, and irish step.

    I hope you get another good role!

    -Natalie, a MAG #40

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