Sinclair College School of Theater and Dance
Audition for a Dance Scholarship
There I was, belly up on the Blair Hall Theater stage. I could feel the bitter wood pressing against my back. There was only silence filling the whole theater. The air seemed thick from anticipation of what I was going to do next. I began to rise to my feet, slowly, while hearing the applause I was being given. I felt relieved as I left the stage, but also disappointed it was over.
As I returned home from a long day of senior high, my mom was anxiously waiting for me. She seemed to be talking almost too fast for me to understand what she was saying. As I gathered the pieces and put them together, I discovered she had an audition set up for me at Sinclair for a Dance Scholarship. I reminded her it was almost a waste of time. I had already received a Business Scholarship, and my mind was made up. I thought to myself it would be beneficial to have another audition experience under my belt. She had arranged this interview/audition for the following day. That was barely enough time to create a routine.
My father and I drove the long drive to Sinclair that next day. The adrenaline was eating at me. I had so much energy filling my body and mind. This was going to go perfectly because I was ready. We arrived at the Blair Hall lobby and had a seat. I began to stretch my legs and body. The carpet felt so rough against my legs. I noticed everyone warming their voices up, practicing their lines, and preparing their muscles for the audition. I heard a manís voice call my name. I got to my feet to enter the theater.
As I walked through the heavy steel door, I saw a table of judges. They smiled at me with assurance. I sat down and handed them my resume. I could smell the ink of the printer from the freshly printed papers. We talked for awhile and both sides of the table were asking questions. I answered them all with confidence. Once the questions were all asked, they directed me to the stage were I was to perform the piece I brought.
I found the center of the stage and paused for a moment. I saw the entire auditorium from here. The seats which I had seen before, filled from row to row, were now empty. Only one lone table sitting near the back exit was there to see my performance. I noticed how gently the long red curtain fell over the wood stage. I could smell wood shavings from a newly cut set. The lighting was soft. I took a deep breath and the music began. My movements were graceful and elaborate. The sounds of my taps hit against the hard wood floor and echoed through the entire hall. I could feel the soft velvet of my costume tickling my skin. The beat seemed so clear and profound to me that day. I really heard it and felt it. Finally the dance came to an end as I hit my final pose. Waiting a short moment, I then began to exit the stage.
"Wait!" shouted all the judges at once. An older man, with a neatly pressed business suit and tennis shoes, began making his way to the stage. Never in my life would I have thought his next question would be so shocking. He leaned over close to me and said almost in a whisper, "I would like you to do some improvisation." Alright, I had done this before, no big deal. Still leaning into the stage, he continued, "We would like you to dance the death of your grandfather." My heart began to pound out of my chest. Thinking before I was so ready seemed to be a big mistake. I didnít quite understand his request. Before I could mumble any question I had, he turned to return to his spot at the table. I removed my stiff tap shoes from my tired feet. Taking this time to relax and pull myself together, I needed to fill myself with confidence. I faced the back of the stage. Opening my ears to listen for the first beat of music, but I heard, "Go ahead when youíre ready." How could I do this without music?
Removing all thoughts from my head, I just danced. I spun and twirled all over that stage. In my mind I filled those isles of empty seats with an audience waiting for my every move. I bound into the air for the highlight of my dance. Falling from the air I landed on the stage to make the impression I was dead. I felt ridiculous and full of doubt. I thought to myself that my performance just wasnít good enough. At that very moment, the judges broke into applause. I removed myself from the stage and walked down the very long isle towards the exit door as I thanked them all for their time.
The very moment I heard that theater door close, I burst in laughter. I did it. I believed in myself enough to finish that audition. I was overjoyed, and so were my mother and father. I told them both the whole story and what had happened. My mind raced with the thoughts of that last minute dance routine. I still donít know where all that courage came from.
About a week later, a letter came for me with the Sinclair logo on it. I didnít want to open it. I didnít want that audition, that went so well, to be a waste. Tearing it open, I skimmed the letter for either the word "accepted" or the words "not accepted". There it was: You have been accepted and are being granted a full scholarship. My hard work had paid off. My self esteem increased. But most importantly, I now have pride in myself to go out and achieve once unreachable goals with confidence.
Written by Milea Harwood September 2003
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