"Oh, I don't get nervous before auditions anymore" she said.
Oh boy, was I WRONG.
This week saw me face up to my first professional musical theatre audition since I've moved to Melbourne. I'd been so excited about doing it, that I hadn't even considered the concept of nerves - I just wanted to get in that room!
Then suddenly... I was in that room.
I felt like I was back at the beginning; that very first time stepping into an audition waiting room, not knowing what to expect, not knowing anyone, suddenly doubting everything I've ever done up to this moment. It came on slowly. A little tug of a thought in my mind "You don't know what you're doing"... then it grew "You are SO out of your league here"... then the butterflies in the stomach started... then the physical heaviness of my entire being set in.
Thankfully, I've done enough scary stuff in my life to recognise what was happening and
was able to just breathe and calm down... a little. As I sat there stretching, watching dancer after beautiful dancer walk through the door, I repeated to myself "You are enough, you are so enough, it's unbelievable how enough you are!" - thank goodness for Sierra Boggess!
By the time my group was called to the audition room, I had calmed down enough to walk in a straight line and not look utterly terrified.
Notice I said not look utterly terrified.
Being my first big audition, it's perfectly normal to feel fear/nerves/like crumpling into a ball of broken dreams - just don't let it show. Front up to that panel like you're a pro and you're ready to go. I've said it a million times myself, and heard it twice as much from my mentors and tutors: the panel want you to succeed.
They want you to be the one they're looking for.
I know that my strength does not lie in dancing. I may have trained as a dancer for many years, but I am not a professional dancer. I knew that getting past that dance call to have the chance to sing for the panel was going to be tough, and there was a very high chance that I wouldn't get there. So instead of putting even more pressure on myself, I decided to change my goal.
I did not go into that room insisting "land the job or die!". I did not go in desperately wanting to get cast. I went in with the goal to leave a good impression with at least one person in that room. I may never know who that person might be, or if I ever succeeded, but it focused my mind on being the best me that I could be from the moment I walked in the door. And to me, that was enough.
I may not have been enough of a dancer to get in to this particular show, but I certainly did my best for what I had at that moment in time. I conquered that fear that was desperately trying to make me run full-pelt out the door and never look back.
I stayed. I danced. Now I'm ready to take on the next one.