It’s not something I talk often about, in fact, I’ve told very few people. I mean, it’s not the kind of thing you can brag about, because I’ve found that bragging is less effective when you have to explain to someone what Juilliard even is, and there are a lot of people that don’t know what it is. Then, upon explaining, they still tend to look at you cross-eyed and say, “Oh, cool.” or something equally as unexcited. Now, I have been known to mention it a time or two, if I’ve been in the right crowd, ie. the artsy crowd, but here in Portland, the artsy crowd tends to be more the you-aren’t-an-artist-unless-you-ARE-actually-starving kind and the “Look, I made a life sized sculpture of a whale out of recycled organic food packaging” kind, and less of the master an instrument or excel at dance kind, so it mostly goes unmentioned.
The whole experience was a blur. I barely remember the trip to New York. It was as if I were just suddenly there, waiting for my turn. It’s the little things that pop out, really. I remember staring at my feet while I was standing outside the room the auditions were taking place and thinking that my feet were a mess. I really needed a pedicure. I had just a touch of blue polish left on my big toe, left over from a month ago. Did I have time to try to scrape it off? Hopefully they won’t notice it. My stomach was a mess. I was sure I was going to crap myself, throw up or pass out, or maybe all three. Triple threat.
Before I could spend more time thinking about it, the door was opened, my name was called. This was it. Don’t embarrass yourself. That was the last thought I can remember thinking until my audition was finished. I was breathing hard and my palms were damp and my eyes were closed, but I knew without a doubt that I had just done the best dancing that I had ever done in my life. I was so exhilarated that I didn’t even care, at that very moment, if I got accepted. I had laid it all out, left it all on the floor. I was so proud of myself for daring to dream. Eat your heart out Martha Graham (and if you don’t know who Martha Graham is, you clearly don’t know enough about dance!).
I opened my eyes, my breathing still erratic, and found myself looking at my ceiling in my bedroom. I was so confused, because I was still feeling the adrenaline rush of my audition. My audition that had only been a dream. How and why my brain created an event so realistic is, to this day, a mystery. I am sure that my bitterness at not taking dance lessons when I was three likely played into the creation of such a masterpiece. That, and all of the episodes of So You Think You Can Dance.
Irregardless, I have never given up that feeling of absolute joy that I had in my dream of having worked so hard for something and then having success. The elation did not come in getting accepted into Juilliard, but in putting forth a performance that could only have come with endless amounts of hard work. I am sure that if my dream had continued, I would have been accepted into the famed school of dance, but remembering my audition and the emotions that I felt, pushes me forward in the real areas of my life that that are scary or that I am striving for success in. If you can finish, feeling proud of your efforts, it was a job well done. Of course, it also helps if you didn’t crap yourself in the process!
“The idea of dancing is the only thing that scares me.” ~Johnny Depp