Jessica Gadzinski, a former apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theatre, shares her tales from the audition trail with Pointe.
Auditions. Just the thought of the word sends my mind racing, my body into a panic and my self confidence plummeting. It’s something about the part where a handful of people stand at the front of a room and decide if you can do the one thing you love well enough that makes it more than unappealing. For me, it’s a scary time of year that raises many questions: Am I good enough? Do I look like a professional? Will this year finally be the year that someone sees it in me? I certainly hope so.
It’s always a new territory entering the audition season. New fresh-faced dancers graduating from their schools and trying to get jobs. The change you feel within yourself or your dancing from year to year. Maybe even the new responsibilities that come along with growing up. There is so much that comes into play as a newfound adult wanting to combine a passion with a career. I’m not only looking for artistic fulfillment now, but also financial stability. Not for just a gig, but a place where I can hone my talent and continue to grow well into my best dancing years. Maybe even a place to call my home and to start a new chapter.
It’s the next step, and despite having done countless auditions in the past, it’s always the step I feel reluctant to take. It always feels make-or-break for me. And in that, even more questions surface: What if this doesn’t happen for me? No words can really describe the love affair I have with ballet and even the thought of our relationship not working out is heartbreaking. But as they say, “if you love it, then let it go.” In that sense, I hope to let go of my fear, let go of the pressure I put upon myself to succeed as a professional and just dance. Actions are much stronger than words, and if I can dance smart, dance strong and be the artist I know I am, then my thoughts will follow with optimism. And hey, maybe some artistic directors will follow as well. Although the anticipation, uncertainty and nervousness may leave me feeling hopeless, my wisdom and the lessons I’ve learned along the way remind me that if I want to dance, I will find somewhere to dance. Just as Cassie in A Chorus Line reminds herself, “I am a dancer” and that doesn’t change when an artistic director makes a cut. So with these thoughts, I embark on the slew of ballet company auditions that are sure to consume many of my upcoming weekends. All I can ask of myself is to keep being my own best friend and to trust in my dancing. And hopefully along the way I will find what I’m looking for.