I woke up this morning from a dream in which I was not even allowed into Radio City to audition for the Rockettes. I showed up at the doors and they took one look at me and said, “Nope, don’t even bother, see ya,” and that was that. So, I was hoping the real thing would go a little better than my dream.
At 8:00am I rolled out of bed and hopped into the shower. At 9:00am I was leaving the hotel with my mom, hair in a slicked bun, dressed in a leotard and tights under my sweats, and wearing black eye-liner with classic Rockette-red lipstick in my bag. While we walked to Radio City we passed girl after girl with slicked hair and stage makeup just like mine…all hopeful Rockettes.
When we rounded the corner at Radio City we immediately saw that even though call time wasn’t until ten and it was just after nine, the line extended all the way down the street. I made my way towards the end of the line and was greeted by a nice, blonde woman who handed me a pink ticket that told me to come back at 11:30am.
So, Mom and I explored 5th avenue looking for somewhere to eat! A nice guy pointed us towards Toasties where I devoured a ham and cheese omelet. For the next hour, Mom and I sat in Rockefeller Plaza soaking up the sun and chatting until my call time. At 11:00am Mom went back for a shower and I headed to the end of the line.
I started talking to some of the girls around me and luckily I wasn’t the only one auditioning for the first time. We inched our way towards the door and were handed paperwork to fill out to accompany our headshot and resume. My paperwork had 371 on top of it…three hundred and seventy-one girls had gone in that door before me, and there were still at least a hundred in line after me…all auditioning for just a couple of spots.
While I waited in line I kept checking my Facebook and Twitter on my phone and was so encouraged by all the posts people were leaving on my wall. Between the texts my friends sent me and the posts on Facebook I was definitely feeling the love! Knowing everyone back home and at school was rooting for me helped so much, so big shout out to you guys: you’re the best! Thanks so much for the encouragement!
The door was in sight when the blonde woman began to count us off. I was number forty out of a group of seventy-five that would be the next group to go in.
“Ok! Get ready to go in!” she said. Instantly my stomach knotted, my palms got clammy and, obviously, I had to go to the bathroom. For the next half an hour I fought against my nerves. We were directed into the building, up an elevator to the seventh floor, up more stairs, around a corner, down a hallway and to the left into a room where we could stretch and change into our shoes.
While I stretched, I noticed a girl with a jacket that said NYU Dance Team.
“Hey, NYU Dance Team!” Awkward? Yes. But she turned around to look at me. “You guys are awesome! We were behind you guys at Nationals this year.”
“Oh! Stonehill!” she said. The girl’s name was April who introduced me to Jenna, also on the NYU Dance Team, and we chatted in the back room while we stretched, which was nice to keep my mind off the butterflies swarming in my stomach.
At 12:30 our group was called into the hallway and in what seemed like seconds, we were told to head into the rehearsal room.
I found myself a spot off to stage left somewhere in the middle of the crowd where I could see. No time was wasted and the instructor began teaching us a short combination immediately. We had just minutes to absorb the choreography before we were split into four groups. Each group got to run through the dance with music twice. Then the groups consolidated into two groups, each of which got to go one more time, and that was it.
We were directed against the walls. The instructor explained how the audition process would go. Our names would be called three at a time and we would stand on our respective X marked on the ground. The first three names were called and the girls took their places while everyone watched. The first few groups I watched, but then I shut my eyes and marked through the choreography in my head every time the music played. I noticed I was so nervous that I had beads of sweat dripping down my arms. Seriously? Ew, that’s not even natural. Desperately trying to wipe my arms dry (discretely), I saw the girl who had been in line right in front of me get called third in one group of three and knew I was next.
My name was called and I found my place on the first X and struck the opening pose. The combination went by in a second. I know I did all the steps, I didn’t make any major mistakes, and I smiled the whole time, but all I could think of while I was dancing was Oh my god, I’m auditioning for the Rockettes! The Rockettes! Oh my god! Oh my god! Rockettes!
Which, as you can imagine, didn’t help the nerves.
And just like that, it was over. One shot, that was it. I watched the rest of the groups go, able to breathe a little easier, but anxious to hear which girls would be able to stay for the next round.
When I told my friends I was auditioning for the Rockettes, most people’s reactions were, “What if you make it?” since I still have a year of college left. I guess they didn’t really understand just how hard it is to make the Rockettes. Making it on your first audition is pretty much unheard of. Most girls have to audition at least six times to make it to the end, and even then you have to fit into the costume of one of the girls who’s leaving!
Pretty much, not only do you have to be flawless, you have to be extremely lucky.
Needless to say, I wasn’t too worried about having to decide whether or not to drop out of school for the Rockettes.
So as I stood there waiting to hear the names of girls who were being asked to stay, I had to remind myself that I had already accomplished what I came here to do. I wanted to have the experience. I wanted to get the first time out of the way so, after graduation, the first time I really want to audition isn’t the first time I’ve ever auditioned. I had learned a lot from the audition and if this was as far as I made it, well that was ok.
The judges started calling names and I couldn’t help but hope that mine would be there. Two Megan’s were called and I jumped at the sound of the M, but my name wasn’t called. Probably about eight girls were kept out of the seventy-five of us, and the rest of us were free to go.
I packed up and changed and in the elevator down to street level one of the other girls said, “Anyone up for cupcakes from Magnolia’s?” To which we all burst out laughing.
I called my mom, who was waiting in Rockefeller Plaza for me to finish. I met her outside and gave her the whole run down then realized I was absolutely famished.
Give you one guess what we ate…
After inhaling two donuts we walked back to the hotel so I could shower and change then we went to the Harry Potter exhibit by the Discovery Channel in Times Square! The exhibit was so cool with tons of real clothes and props from the movies! We weren’t allowed to take pictures though, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
After the exhibit we went shopping for a little then met up with my dad and sister who had driven down to pick us up so we wouldn’t have to take the train back. We grabbed dinner at Carmine’s (duh, where else would we go?) and stuffed ourselves with spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and the classic Carmine’s salad.
Last stop of the trip was my home away from home in the city, Broadway Dance Center! I texted my boss and let her know I was coming to say hi. It was so great to see everyone in the office that I had worked with last fall and some of the dancers were around the studio so I got to say hi to them too! The whole visit made me really miss BDC and NYC and everything about my fall semester.
I write this in the car on the way home, totally exhausted and still so full from Carmine’s.
On another good note, I may not have become a Rockette over the past couple days, but I got other exciting news: I was voted captain of my dance team along with two other seniors for the upcoming year! I’m absolutely thrilled about being named captain and I’m so excited to work with our coaches and seniors to make this year absolutely awesome. We have a lot of great ideas; we’re going to have such a blast!!