Making The Cut

Inside an audition for Alonzo King LINES ballet.
Published in the February/March 2011 issue.

There’s a feeling of quiet intensity in the air at San Francisco Dance Center, where ballet master Arturo Fernandez is leading an open audition for Alonzo King LINES Ballet. After barre, director Alonzo King slips into the studio. With minimal fanfare, he takes up a position to one side, observing the dancers as they begin an adagio combination. Although LINES holds open calls a few times a year, it’s rare, he says frankly, to hire someone directly from an audition. King prefers to have dancers spend some time with the company in classes so he can really “see who they are” before they join the 11-member contemporary troupe. “I am drawn to people who aren’t playing Simon Says,” says King, “but who really have given a lot of thought to the science of movement.”

 

 

“Even if an audition doesn’t go my way, it’s an opportunity to learn,” says Little. “Did I not feel focused enough? Why was that? Can I fix it next time? I’ve done enough auditions to know that if I don’t get this, it’ll still be okay—something always comes along.”

 

 

Corina Kinnear, a senior in the LINES BFA program, waited until today to sew her pointe shoes so that she could keep herself busy—and her mind off her nerves. “I like to call my family before an audition,” she says. “It helps to remind me that I’m a person, not just a dancer.”

 

 

The dancers mark a combination before splitting up into groups. “I already took class in this studio beforehand,” says Jeffrey Ware. “I have to get comfortable in the space.”

 

 

Natalie Lambelet says, “I try to stay focused and be grounded. Find your center, don’t look left or right.”

 

 

“Remember that they are auditioning for you, too. So many times I’ve found myself in a situation where I think I might get the job, but in order to do that, I’d have to become someone I’m not.” —Natalie Lambelet

Sarah Bukowski, Natalie Lambelet and Rachel Speidel Little look on from the back of the studio.

Photo by Quinn Wharton

Natalie Lambelet

Photo by Quinn Wharton

Corina Kinnear

Photo by Quinn Wharton

The dancers mark a combination before splitting up into groups.

Photo by Quinn Wharton

Natalie Lambelet

Photo by Quinn Wharton