Date: May 19th
Location: Jacksonville, FL: Ritz Theatre
Time: ALL DAY
5:45 AM: Wake up time!
Wake up, stretch, do some exercises, wrap my brain around the fact that this is happening today.
7:00 AM: Quick swim
15 minutes in the pool to stretch and loosen up a bit. Violette recommended this to me. Grand Rond de Jambes en l'air in the pool works wonders for the hips.
7:20 AM: Room service (for the first time in my life!)
My mom ordered room service breakfast for us. I was so excited about having room service for the first time in my life, that we took a picture. I will try to bring it up. Went from the pool to her room, and we sat down to granola, yogurt, milk, juice, tea, and muffins. Then I took a quick shower and dressed for the competition.
8:15 AM: Meet in the lobby
We were supposed to head to the theatre at 8:30. There was some confusion because our headcount kept on coming up short. Then they realized that the girl from the local chapter would probably be driving the the theatre from home. I delayed us by 2 more minutes because, like an airhead, I had left my fan for the Kitri in my room. So after that little blip (I hoped that it would be my only blip for the day,) we headed out.
8:45-9:30 AM: Warmup onstage
We had 45 minutes onstage to mark through things and warm ourselves up. Everyone was very quiet. There were lots of iPods and CD players in use. We were given numbers to wear, and we staked out space in the dressing room and enjoyed complimentary water bottles.
9:30 AM-11:30 AM: Ballet, Modern, Jazz classes
1 hour ballet class followed by 30 minutes of modern and 30 minutes of jazz. All three portions were taught by the same person--the chair of the dance department and Jacksonville University. I will post his name when I find it tomorrow. The classes were alright. Some unusual barre exercises in the ballet class. All of the dancers were of a high level technically. Since it was an abbreviated class, we only did each exercise once.
For modern, we learned and performed one long combination. We only got one try at this. It seemed to be Horton-based, but not strictly so. I had fun doing it, but I wish I could have had another try. I think that everyone felt that way about it.
In jazz, we did an across-the-floor combination and then a center combination. Both exercises were ok. We had to do lots of jazz walks, some "kick ball change, pas de bourree" type things, isolations of the hip, and some big jazzy jumps.
By the time we were done with all of these classes, we were all pretty beat. We all thanked the teacher and the audience for watching so patiently. Then we trooped offstage to find our box-lunches and prepare for the solos.
Can I mention how amazing everyone in the Bloomington chapter of NSAL is? They found out that I am vegetarian and have been bringing me delicious food ever since. We weren't sure what kind of box lunch options I would have, so I also had trail mix, fruit, and two kinds of pasta salad from my chapter. It also happened that another person in my chapter had organized a vegetarian box lunch for me. So in my box I found fresh chopped fruit, a grilled vegetable croissant sandwich, and several cookies. Basically, I had enough food for two lunches. And I was quite anxious about my variations, so I could only eat about 1/2 of my lunch.
12:45 PM-4:00 PM: Presentation of solos
We did our ballet variations first, then the modern/jazz. We were not allowed to watch each other. As #1 performed, #2 was backstage waiting for her turn, and #3 waited on the other side of the door to backstage. When #1 was done, #3 went backstage and #4 was "on deck," and so on. Two ladies from NSAL visited with us as we waited and made sure that the next person was always ready to go. On top of this process, tension was added by the no-applause policy. The audience was not allowed to clap during any portion of the competition so that the judges would not be swayed. It was difficult to finish an exhausting piece and bow in silence. But that is what we did.
The Kitri variation went alright for me. I think that it has been better, but nothing catastrophic happened. I had lots of fun. It was great to do that piece onstage, and performing the fan variation is a great chance for attitude and spice without too many scary technical things to worry about. The modern solo went well, I think. I was not too nervous by then, so I was able to focus.
4:00 PM Bows and good news
We all entered and bowed together so that the audience could, at last, clap. We were told (YAY!) that there wouldn't be call-backs. So we were done! I went and gave hugs to all of the nice folks from Bloomington and my mom in the lobby. We took the bus back to our hotel (there had been a bomb threat in the next door building during the day and the hotel had had to evacuate. Things were back to normal when we returned, but there were complimentary strawberries and champagne from the hotel as an apology for inconveniences. What a festive welcome back!)
7:30 PM Barbecue and Pool party!
Delicious barbecue by the pool for the contestants. We sat and enjoyed grilled vegetables, baked beans, cornbread, biscuits, ribs, chicken, pecan pie, and peach cobbler. The pool was much to cold to swim in, but it felt great to dangle our tired feet in the water. The party broke up around 9:45, and a bunch of people came back to our room to watch Rent and chill.
It's time for me to get to bed...9 AM master class with Daniel Lewis tomorrow!