Remaking History and Open Call Auditions (My Season 4, Episode 5 Recap)
Things are looking up for Nia! She made it off the bottom row of the pyramid and Abby recognized her commanding performance in last week’s group number. Nia was in the front of the group dance and Abby could see Nia’s engaging facial expressions.
Why volunteer to assist Abby? Preparation is important. Abby continues to host open auditions, so I wanted to see the competition. I offered to go to the Atlanta auditions to assist Abby (because I thought I could be helpful) but also to get a firsthand look at the kids auditioning and Abby’s reaction to them to gauge how that impacted the team.
I was surprised to see Abby’s open audition in action. It was pure chaos at times. I never imagined that an audition for ALDC or one in which Abby was involved would have parental comment at all and certainly not the level that I observed. Abby usually runs a tight ship and parents are seldom allowed in the same room where her students are rehearsing. Given Abby’s aversion to outspoken mothers, it’s interesting that she would have allowed the first interaction with these moms of the auditioning dancers to suggest that involvement would be welcomed. I understood the parents’ frustrations and passion. I know the parents were vying for a spot on the team and wanted to seize this opportunity by advocating for their children. I am not certain that the shouting was the best approach in front of the kids during an audition. I could relate to the emotions evoked by this stressful process because I want my daughter to remain on the elite competition team. There should be a more effective way to accomplish that goal without shouting. After all, with Abby, the penalty for unwelcome parental interference falls directly on the child. No parent wants that.
As the featured dancer in this week’s group dance, Nia had a great opportunity to prove that she was a valuable member of the team. Although there was tremendous pressure for Nia to deliver a win for the team as the featured dancer in the group number, it was also a pivotal moment to demonstrate that she had the leadership skills, dance training and ability that Abby is looking for in all members of the team. I knew if the group dance did not win Nia would be blamed. It was essential for Nia to help bring home a win for this team. Although this was a lot of pressure on Nia, I knew she could do it. I thought the role was especially compelling because Nia was playing a strong woman fighting for something in which she believed. Nia was also fighting to keep her spot on the team so I knew she could communicate that passion for many reasons.
I don’t think of Nia’s being given the featured role in this dance as typecasting. This is part of history and it is particularly a part of Nia’s heritage. It was an honor and a privilege for Nia to dance this part. Over the years I have learned to embrace the various characters the girls are asked to portray in dances. Nia has played a variety of roles in group dances and her solos. This is artistic expression.
I had to trust that Abby would treat this subject matter with respect and use it as an educational opportunity and not sensationalize the topic. The Civil Rights movement is a defining moment in our history. I hoped that the dance would be a tribute to it and not trivialize it. I wanted Nia to be a part of a dance as a lead dancer that told a story of heroism and courage and fighting for what is right.
Abby wanted an Oscar worthy performance and Nia delivered just that! Nia was exquisite. She was a shining star on stage and brought tears to my eyes and the eyes of others. The dance was powerful to watch and I think the subject matter and the intensity of the performance made it so moving. Nia is a wonderful dancer. I saw a beautiful, graceful and strong dancer on stage. When Nia performs she makes people feel something through her dance. The audience was so moved by the performance that the team was rewarded with a standing ovation. I was thrilled that Nia was able to lead the group to a victory. This featured role was long overdue. Nia rose to the occasion and demonstrated her ability as a featured dancer and as an integral member of the team.
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