by Garth Johnson, 4th-year dancer
The date was February 6th, 2009 – a very special day in my memory. It had almost seemed as if it would never come, but then it arrived: The Juilliard Audition Day. Waking at the wee hour of 6:30 am, I rose with complete thrill to bring on the day. Bundled in excitement and yet feeling a calm ease, I began to eat breakfast in the company of the rising sun. But I didn’t feel too hungry; maybe it was the adrenaline. Gathering my things, I took a deep breath in and released it. I felt the chill in the air as I hopped into the car with my mother.
65 miles to go and I would be at the studio, getting my number, checking in, nervously warming up. Throughout the entire car ride I conversed with my mother about the possibilities the day could bring. As we drove south, getting closer and closer, I must have played the music for my solo 50 times.
30 miles away. I remember thinking a lot about questions the teachers might ask me, and how I would answer.
Who choreographed this solo?
What is the meaning of it?
It’s about letting go and feeling happy.
As I got creepily close to take-off, I thought of something. If you’ve ever heard the song “Ghost of Corporate Future” by Regina Spektor, you will know exactly what I am speaking of. A lyric from the song provided me with a great deal of courage that day:
“People are just people, they shouldn’t make ya nervous…cause people are just people. People are just people. People are just people like you.”
That quote stuck with me. And singing the song in my head made me feel silly and less scared. It was cold and wintery as I hustled and shuffled into the studio. I was 30 footsteps away from an audition that would forever hold sentiment in my being. Deep breath in, breath out. I released the air and watched my breath form into small clouds of vapor. My cold hands touched the metal handle to open the door of the studio. Wiping my boots on a black doormat, I was now 28 footsteps away from my audition.
Here we go, 10 steps later. I gather a number and notice that I’m number 18, which will be my age in a few months. This thought makes me smile. 8 more steps and I find myself approaching the studio, warming up and saying hello to a few familiar faces.
Ballet begins. I am amazed at what fun Mr. Poulin has teaching us. His ease and happiness bring a freeing energy, and I try my best. As the audition progresses, I just keep singing the song lyric in my head. People are just people, they shouldn’t make ya nervous.
The long day winds to a close, and I realize that I have made it to the end. At this point in the audition, I just feel a great deal of happiness, and the last portion of the audition is the interview section. Mr. Poulin interviews me, and I am delighted by the ease of our conversation. I realize that all the teachers want is to get to know you, which feels nice.
I remember the last thing I said to them.
Are there any last things you want to tell us?
I love ICE CREAM!
(So true, but now I am lactose intolerant and never get to eat it!)
What a great day. I realized that whatever came of it didn’t matter, because I tried so hard and showed them who I was. And because People are just people, they shouldn’t make ya nervous. The world is everlasting, it’s coming and it’s going.