Monday, February 06, 2012

The Audition Report

I'll do another post about the trip in general later, but, for now, let me tell you all about the audition.  I know some people are anxiously awaiting details.

The audition started at 11:30 on Friday.  We left our hotel at 10:45 and expected to be there quite early, but traffic wasn't great and we ended up arriving in plenty of time, but not real early, at 11:20.  Davan was nervous.  She had had a nervous type of morning leading up to it and only got more nervous as the time drew closer.  However, I'm happy to report that there were no breakdowns and her managed her nervousness pretty well, which is a huge step for her.  She's had some pretty serious audition anxiety in the past.

All three of us, Anthony, Lena and myself, accompanied her into the building, found seats and hoped to be allowed to stay for the audition.  I'd read that parents were supposed to leave, but I'd have felt better watching, Lena really was curious about it all and really wanted to watch, while Anthony would have done some coming and going.

Some other parents were sitting in the stands, obviously hoping to stay, as well.

We noticed a few things right off.  One was that there were a lot more people than we'd expected.  There were about twice as many people there than had been for the preselection tour.  One reason for this would be that the preselection tour went to more cities.  The auditions are held in only five world-wide - Paris, Beunos Aires, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.  Thus, people from several preselections would end up at the one audition.

However, we also noticed that many of the people looked older than high school age.  Davan was concerned that she'd come to the wrong day and that it was actually college audition.  What we ended up finding out was that the Vancouver (and, presumably all the auditions aside from Montreal) are combined college and high school auditions.

The third thing I noticed, after Davan went to sign in and start warming up, was that I recognized several people from the preselection tour.  One set of parents I'd been friendly with before were back with their son, all traveling from the Bay Area in California.  I went and said hello and touched base with them.  Last time, they'd brought a girl who trains with their son.  This time, her mom had come, as well.  We all expressed hopes that we'd be able to stay.

There were parents for maybe 12 of the 28 hopefuls in the audience.  Many of the hopefuls, who were applying to the college, were adults in their 20s, so I guess it makes sense that they'd have traveled on their own.  Some were high school seniors, but were local and seem to have gotten their on their own.

Davan signed in and started warming up.  I noticed her connect with another girl about her age.  Turns out, they recognized each other from the preselection tour.  That girl was the one from the Bay Area who'd traveled with her friend previously.  I was happy she was not sitting in a lonely, hunched up little ball, looking like she was being tortured (like I mentioned previously - audition anxiety has been bad for her).

Then all of us parents got kicked out.  We were told that they'd be breaking for lunch around 2:00 or 2:30.  At that point, some of the applicants would be sent home.  One of the judges mentioned that it might be even later, as late as 3:30 before they were done with the first stage.

Many of us parents gathered outside in a huddle and exchanged information.  One mom had taken her two sons (20 and 21) to the open house in Montreal back in November.  They'd decided to audition in Vancouver because 300 people were expected at the Montreal audition and they figured they'd have better luck in a smaller group.  She had some information that was pretty discouraging.  We'd known the school was small, but I'd gotten the idea they were expanding their program some.  She didn't seem to think that was the case.  She had a lot of statistics that pretty much boiled down to there are about 500 applicants for about 10 spots in both the high school and college.  There are only 8 spots school-wide for non French Canadians.

Now, she may not have been spot on in her statistics.  She did say something that I'm pretty sure isn't 100% correct, based on what I've read on the web site, but the fact remains that this really opened my eyes as to the odds of Davan getting in.  I'd been thinking she was probably going to get in.  After all, they'd called her back from the preselection tour.

Another thing I gleaned from talking with the parents is that pretty much everyone who came to the preselection tour of the right age got called back.  I'm not saying that they weren't all amazingly talented, no, I was really impressed with them all, but I am saying that they didn't really cull the herd at that point.  I'd really have preferred a more frank assessment.  After all, it's getting people's hopes up and incurring travel expenses.

We parents also fairly quickly figured out that most of the hopefuls were going for college.  We came up with a rough estimate that 8 of the 28 were high school applicants and that proved to be accurate.

After a while, we broke away from the huddle and went to a lake for a little dog walking.  We pretty much spent the whole time talking about what we'd learned, what might be going on for Davan and adjusting all of our expectations.

We were back at 2:00.  I couldn't imagine anything worse than to be sent home and have to wait around for a ride.  I stuck my head in the door and saw that they were doing pull ups and the whole group seemed to still be there.  Other parents were showing up and I gave them my report.

I met a woman who was also from Portland and who's daughter is over at Pendulum.  We've looked at them, but there is a rivalry between them and Do Jump for some reason.  Davan would do both, but that isn't allowed at Pendulum and Davan hasn't wanted to leave Do Jump.  The conversation I had with this mom was very frank and interesting.  We may check Pendulum out again.

Pretty soon we were all in a group huddle again, discussing our kids and ENC (which is shorthand for the National Circus School and one of the things I learned).  The mom with the 20 and 21 year old shared that her boys are primarily dancers and they both danced in High School Musical and some commercials.  Another mom had a 14 year old gymnast who had gone to the preselection tour on a whim because her friends were and then she was the only one to come to the audition.  Her friends had been invited back, but all decided they didn't really want to go.  She only came because her mom thought it would be a good idea for her to at least explore the possibility of going.  It was an interesting mix.

Time dragged on and on.  Anthony spent some time listening to the conversations and some time walking the dog.  Lena and I mostly stayed in the group, taking breaks from time to time to have a side discussion or to just be away from all the "my kid" talk, as Lena put it.  We all spent some time in the van reading and having a snack.  We put off lunch because, if Davan were sent home at lunch time, we wanted to take her out to lunch.

"Lunch time" finally came at 3:30.  Some parents got calls or texts that their student was ready to be picked up.  Some got no word at all.  I finally poked my head in again and found that many of them were sitting and having a bite to eat, including Davan, so I went in and said a quick hi.  She was fine and had not been sent home.  However, none of the high school applicants were sent home.  Were they all good enough to stay?  Were there so few of them that they just kept them?  I don't really know.

We ended up with more time to wait.  The other Portland mom left with her daughter and her daughter's friend, along with about half of the college applicants.  We waited, mostly reading.  I'd been reassured by seeing Davan and seeing that she was pretty well aware of what she was up against, but also looking pretty comfortable.

The audition was supposed to be over at 4:30, but it was 5:30 before they were done.  We got the report.

Davan said they'd done most of the same things as at the preselection tour prior to the break.  She said that this group of instructors were very difficult to understand and that she'd done a couple of things wrong because she hadn't understood what they'd wanted.  Their French accents were very strong and their English very oddly phrased.  This had been a problem for most of the applicants.  One of the high school hopefuls had flown up from Mexico for the audition and he, with English as his second language already, had a particularly hard time with it.  All of this became a running joke for the younger kids, who all hung out together.

Davan said she loved that part of the audition - getting to hang out with kids her age who were all so excited about circus.  She enjoyed them all, but made particular friends with the girl from the Bay Area, who, it turns out, has a French Canadian mom and speaks fluent French, the gymnast who's mom I mentioned above and the boy from Mexico.

During the first part, groups were formed for testing purposes, but not by age.  It seemed to just be random, so there were high schoolers and college kids all together.  Davan said that she made friends with the person she least expected to during that part.  One of the college applicants had a large pointy mohac, which kind of unnerved her, but she said he turned out to be really nice.

What they didn't go, which was a shame because Davan would have been really good at this part, was create a piece to show.  We'd expected that because it was on the sheet of what to expect at the audition we found online.  However, it never happened.  Did they run out of time?  Again, we don't know.

The college applicants had all been required to prepare an audition piece and they showed them in the second part.  Davan said that was really great.  They all got to watch and she said they were the best performers outside of Cirque du Soliel she'd ever seen.

The one thing the high schoolers did differently than at the preselection tour was had an interview with the judges.  Davan said that was one of the difficult parts for her because she didn't always understand what they were asking.

When asked how she felt she did overall, in comparison to the other high schoolers, Davan said she couldn't really say.  She said that they'd been in different groups, so she didn't get to see how everyone did.  She felt like she'd done pretty well, though, and was happy with her performance.  She wants to audition again next year if she doesn't get in this year.

So, what now?  Now we wait.  We don't really know when we'll next hear from them, but the next step will be to take an academic test, if they are interested in her.  The auditions in Montreal aren't for a couple of weeks and I'm sure it'll be after that before we hear anything more.

What will next year bring?  I don't know.  But, I'm less sure Davan will be living in Montreal than I was a week ago.  I'm also very proud of her for putting herself out there and doing the audition.  I'm proud of the work she's done in the last couple of months, preparing for the audition.  We'll just have to wait and see what the future holds!


  1. Thank you for the update. You have all been on my mind all weekend. I am sure Davan did amazing and I can't wait to hear the results. I am just blown away that she did this. HOW AWESOME??? Keilee thinks it is the coolest thing in the world.

  2. I am reading even if sometimes I do not get to comment. I am all caught up.