J had her second high school dance audition this morning. This one was at Laguardia School of the Arts. This is the school that the movie "Fame" was based on in 1980 - and again in 2009 (but the newer movie makes it more of a fictitious setting in NYC). It's extrememly prestigious, full of famous alum (Al Pacino and Jennifer Aniston went there and tons of others), and it's extrememly competitive. Over 10,000 kids try out and their acceptance rate is about 8%. For dancers it's about 4%.
We woke up at 5:30am and were out of the house by 6:45am. We got there in about 15 minutes since B drove us right to the door. We waited briefly on an incredibly long line and then went in. Right away I saw the sign that said parents to the right, students to the left. Aaaak. I wasn't ready to say goodbye yet. Did she have her paperwork? Her snacks? Her water? Her ballet shoes? It didn't matter anymore. She blew me a kiss, waved goodbye and I told her to break a leg (then I re-thought that remark, lol). The parents (all of whom were feeling the effects of the abrupt send-off) took several escalators to the 5th-floor cafeteria, where we could have coffee, muffins, bagels, a welcoming speech from the parent coordinator, a Q& A session, and just...wait.
I brought a book, but ended up in excited conversations with several other parents. We all discussed the schools, the auditions, and the craziness of it all. A mom with a violin student from the upper east side was weighing her other schooling options. A mom and dad with a viola student had an older son already in the school, but were still nervous. They raved about the music program and said their son never stops talking about how great it is. A drama student's mom was also from Queens (like me) and looked so anxious as this was her only child. A friend of mine was also there. Her daughter was going for dance as well. We chatted for a long time and then turned to see the fine arts students (carrying huge portfolios) who just ended their auditions meet up with their parents. We saw the instrumentalists (carrying their instrument cases) also come in. It seemed that dance and drama took the longest time. My eyes were glued to the doorway. I couldn't wait to see her and hear all about it.
Finally, after over 2 hours, I saw J. She looked so calm, but as she got closer to me, her smile widened and she handed me the paper which said she has a callback audition in 2 weeks. WOW! J said about 6 kids got a callback sheet (out of the 25 in her group). Although it is possible to still make it into the school without a callback, the majority of those not called-back will not be accepted. If you watch So You Think You Can Dance auditions, I'm calling this the "Yes to choreography". She will take a more intense ballet class, a more intense modern class, perform her 1-minute solo piece, and be intensely judged. She can't wait. There isn't a bit of nervousness or anxiety in her at all. She's just loving the whole experience.
As we walked to the subway I looked around in awe. It's amazing enough that we are coming out of the Fame school - to top it off, right around the corner we were in front of
It was a gorgeously warm autumn day. The entire area was just breathtaking. I feel so grateful to live in this city of endless opportunities. There is NOTHING like NYC.