When I first arrived around 9 a.m., there were only a handful of girls waiting outside of the building, which I thought was odd because I had read that hundreds of dancers came out to these auditions every year. Then I got in line and was handed a slip of paper that said "Group C". The woman who gave me the paper informed me that groups A and B were already inside and it was over 150 people. Well, that explains it. Before we went in we were handed some paper work to fill out with our basic information and we had to sign an agreement. Then, after waiting for at least 45 minutes, we were finally allowed to enter the building!
We crammed in the tiny elevator and went up to the 7th floor to hand in our paper work and headshots/resumes. By the way, being in the elevator with all of these Rockette hopefuls made me realize that I was shorter than all of them. How's that for something to be nervous about? Rockettes are required to be between 5'6'' and 5'10 1/2" and I am about a quarter of an inch away from that requirement. I'm no giraffe, but I figured I'd give it a shot regardless. Anyways, we were directed to a studio where we had to wait for another hour. Everyone diligently stretched and warmed up, but after a while I could feel everyone start to get anxious, myself included. You could tell who had auditioned before because some of the girls were practicing the combination that they teach every year. I was a newbie and didn't know the combo; something else to be nervous about!
After what seemed like FOREVER, a woman told us to line up in the hallway where we had to wait another 15 minutes. As you can tell, there was a lot of waiting involved in this process, but my excitement kept building as we waited longer and longer. When we were in line I heard one girl say she has auditioned 9 times! The girl right next to me was only 17 and she had gone to every single audition since she was 16 just for practice, and they have a couple auditions each year! It was amazing and eye opening to see the diligence and dedication of the people in this industry. You have to work extremely hard to get what you want, and you will probably be rejected many times before you get there.
We went into the practice studio where they were holding the audition, and within seconds the woman standing in the front of the room started teaching the combination. After all that waiting they get right down to business! We learned a jazz combination that was very showy, quick, and precise. There is so much detail that goes into the Rockettes routines, and we had to perfect it in about 15 minutes. When your hands are on your hips the thumbs are in the front and the elbows must be at a certain angle, the head and focus changes ever so slightly with each step, and whenever we extended our arms, they had to start at the elbows and flow through the wrist. It was a lot of information to take in, but it was a great lesson on learning choreography quickly and efficiently.
We performed this combination for a panel of judges in groups of 3. We did the dance one time and one time only. It's so important to hear every word the instructor says and watch her every move because you may only have one chance to get it right. I did all of the steps correctly, but I think I could definitely work on my performance and confidence. The Rockettes are extremely energetic, flashy, and cheerful. They hit every single position sharp, and you almost have to be over the top to make it look right. I could tell that the experienced dancers had so much confindence in what they were doing and they didn't care what any of the other dancers thought about them. Basically, they were going for it and they were going all out. Doing this audition showed me that you have to be hungry for every opportunity you go after, because many other people want it badly too.
After all of the groups performed, they called out some names of people they wanted to see dance some more and the rest of us were free to go. They cut at least 3/4 of the group, so the spots were very limited. I didn't make it through the cut, but I had such an awesome time. As everyone grabbed their things and got ready to leave, I heard people saying, "Well, I'll see you in the spring for the next audition!" This is like a tradition for many of these dancers and I plan on going back next year too. It just goes to show you, you have to keep going after your dreams no matter how many tries it takes, because all of that hard work will pay off in the end.