This summer is LIT

Yes, I said lit. Am I sorry? Not really.

I have finally decided to take a second to breathe and give a little update on the last two months out here (which have been, you guessed it, lit).

I spent a lot of time in May fine tuning my goals. I wanted to perform, network and ultimately improve in all aspects of my life from mind to body. Seems lofty. To make sure I was headed in the direction of all of these things, I held myself accountable to doing the proper behind the scenes work. As long as I was doing something each day to get closer to where I wanted to be, even if it’s just visualizing or writing it down, I chalked it up as another day of moving the needle forward. Staying positive and not being hard on myself has always been a struggle of mine (those who know me know I’m the world’s biggest perfectionist), so making the commitment to switch from my biggest critic to my biggest fan was most definitely the hardest part. But holy moly is manifestation a real thing.

In June, I finally got to perform. Not just once, but three times. It’s crazy how quick you forget what it feels like to be on stage. It truly is unlike anything else. It’s ultimately why we, as dancers, sacrifice so much to pursue this career. Always in pursuit of that feeling. Not to mention, I was able to meet so many incredible people and further current relationships in the process of rehearsing for these performances. From there, I had so much momentum rolling. So much motivation and so many things on my plate but I LOVED it. I was busy every single day (hence why it’s August and I’m just now talking about June). My mind was in the right place and I was seeing a direct link to my dancing. Auditions were going well, opportunities were coming my way and LA finally felt like home. Feels like home.

Then it was July.

…which wish literally 4 seconds long. I started off with a great holiday weekend spent with awesome friends and rooftop fireworks that left me overwhelmingly thankful for the relationships I have made since moving to Los Angeles. So many outstanding individuals that have played a huge part in making the transition here a seamless one. I continued to stay busy; started a new job, continued to audition, took class, spent way too much money on foodie things, rehearsed for performances and even a video shoot and then somehow fit some time in there to have a visitor.

At the end of July I auditioned to dance for the NBA as part of Clippers Spirit. I went into the audition optimistic but also aware that there were probably going to be near 400 dancers who are just as talented and qualified as me (if not more). Throughout the audition process, I tapped into that same mindset that I had at the beginning of June. I had gone to a lot of auditions prior to this one just because they were open call and I had happen to hear about them. I’m not signed yet, so I literally go to any and every audition I hear about. But this one was different. I wanted this. Badly.

After lots of dance, nerves and sweat (seriously I looked like I had just gotten out of the shower), my number was announced. Second to last might I add- talk about stress. AHH. I could not believe it. Still can’t. I’m so so thankful for this opportunity and now that I’ve had my first rehearsal weekend and I have my uniforms (!!!) it finally feels official. This next year is going to be such a ride and I can’t wait.

IMG-3602

SHAMELESS PLUG AHEAD (you’ve been warned):

You can read more about my audition experience here! Before auditioning I  looked all over for a blog from former members, so I figured I would start keeping up with my experience for other people who are also interested. Stay tuned for more updates!

I ended July with a bucket list evening at the Hollywood Bowl with Kristyn and Kelly. Have I mentioned that I freaking love musicals??? We got cheap af tickets to see Mama Mia and I’ll just start off by saying that I was already crying before the National Anthem was over. Nice. I must say, if you haven’t been to a show at the Hollywood Bowl then PUT IT ON YOUR TO DO LIST. We had so much fun (and you can read about this experience here). ← shameless plug number two, oops.

And now we are officially caught up. It’s August (MY BIRTHDAY MONTH DON’T YOU FORGET IT) and great things are on the horizons. I start regular rehearsals for Clippers, head home to teach and see family, TURN 22, have my dysFUNctional friends come to LA, AND head to Utah at the end of the month.

Wahoooo! Until later, friends.

Advertisements

I AUDITIONED FOR THE CLIPPERS

When I decided to audition for the Clippers, I literally scoured the internet for some kind of guide so I could have an idea of what to expect. Although I found a lot of info on the spirit website, I wanted to find some sort of blog that detailed the audition experience (or entire experience for that matter). Since I didn’t find what I was looking for, I decided to create my own now that I’m on the team (what in the world?!).

IMG-3649

Auditions can be terrifying. How do you prepare? What do I wear? How many are they taking? Who will be there? Alright. So I can’t answer all of these things, but I definitely can tell you about my experience.

Let me start off by saying that Clippers Spirit is a lot different than most NBA or even NFL dance teams. You don’t audition in briefs, tights and a sparkly sports bra. There’s no bikini round, sports trivia or extensive interview. This is what attracted me to audition in the first place. This squad is different and breaking the mold of what it means to be an NBA dancer. We live in LA, the mecca of the dance industry and this team strives to embody that in everything they do. Score.

About a month before the audition, Kelly and I paid $40 for the try-out prep clinic. If you’re considering auditioning for anything dance related, whether it be a sports team, company or even tour, it’s smart to get yourself in front of the coach/choreographer. This is helpful not only to hopefully make a good impression on the person in charge of choosing the cast, but also to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

We started with a warm up, then proceeded to learn an across the floor combination to showcase technique and style. After that we all went across the floor and received individual feedback from both the coach and current captain before going around again. Once that was through, we learned choreography from once of last season’s routines and also did that in smaller groups of 5. Basically what the clinic ended up being was a mock audition. They told us at the end of the day that we should continue to practice both the across the floor and the combination we learned. And thank God we did.

IMG-3628

Okay. So now it’s a few weeks later and the audition date has finally rolled around. We had spent the last few weeks holding each other accountable with work outs, healthy eating and moral support when we went to the mall to find an audition outfit. Honestly that was the worst part. I am the most indecisive shopper in the entire universe. But I ended up going with a fancy sports bra from Lorna Jane (this one) and some good old fashion booty shorts. We left plenty early to make sure we weren’t at the end of the sign in line since we had a feeling there were going to be a ton of dancers there. We were more than right. In fact, there were about 350 girls vying for a spot on the team. Gulp.

Low and behold, the first day of auditions were exactly like the prep clinic. To a tee. Best $40 I’ve spent in a long time. We learned the across the floor combo (that Kelly and I already knew) and went across the floor in groups of three. Each line danced for either one of the two former captains or the coach, Latrice. Once you reach one of them at the end of the combination, they either tell you “thank you, please stay” or “thank you” (which is dancer code for “you just got cut”).  Even though I already knew the combination and was confident in it, it’s impossible not to get nervous. There have been so many auditions I’ve been to where I am fully confident and get cut anyway. Why would this one be different?? That’s when ya gotta tell yourself to chill tf out. Relax and trust your training. For me, this means weaseling my way closer to the front to get it out of the way. It can be easy to keep waiting to dance in later groups, but personally I think that just leaves more time to get in your head. Be brave and go towards the beginning.

After they made cuts (sigh of relief), the remaining dancers (I think there was about 125ish left at this point) learned a combination from last season. You guessed it, we already knew that one too. I was SO thankful that it was the same one from the clinic. This allowed me to focus solely on the details and performance aspect of it for this round of the audition. They counted us off into groups of 5 and Kelly, Kristyn and I were all sectioned off to dance in the same group. That part of the audition was a blast. We left the floor feeling confident. All that was left to do now was wait. THE WORST.

img-3544-e1501712778157.png

After what felt like an eternity, the judges came back from deliberating and asked a few of the hopefuls to dance again. Then the was time to find out which of us would be moving on to the final round the following day. At this point in my LA journey, I’ve gotten extremely used to not hearing my number called. But I had a different feeling about this one. I sat there with my eyes closed and fists clenched waiting to hear 296. Since my group was one of the last ones for choreo round, my number was one of the last ones to be called. BUT IT WAS CALLED NONETHELESS. Enter a wave a gratitude. Holy cow. Out of 350 some girls, my number was one of about 30 to be called for the final round. The finalists were photographed and given an interview time for the next day and sent on our way.

Alrighty, onto day two: FINALS. They recommend wearing the same thing or something similar as the first day of auditions. That way you’re easily identified. Makes sense. I knew that we were going to be learning some sort of hip-hop/jazz funk number so I threw on a cropped sweatshirt over my sports bra to feel a little less jazzy. I’ve learned that I am definitely a person who dances how they feel, so making sure I felt good in what I was wearing was crucial.

IMG-3639

The interviews were about 5-10 minutes long and basically was just a quick “get to know you” session. It was nothing crazy or extensive. Just a short and sweet Q&A to let them know why you deserve to be apart of Clippers Spirit. I talked a lot about my experience on the Iowa Dance Team as well as my admiration of Clippers for breaking the mold of what it means to be a professional dance team. I think I also threw in the word ‘badass’ somewhere in there. I also dabbed at my friend, who was next in line, on the way out. Why do I do these things……????

Onto the dancing. They brought in Kevin Maher (HOW STINKIN COOL) to teach the choreo for the final piece of the audition. I’ve been dying to get in his class so I was pumped. I challenged myself to stand in the front during this portion of the audition. The judges stay in the room the entire time so (as cliche as this is) your audition starts the second you walk through the door. Your dance teachers growing up were right about that one!!!! Once we learned the combo, we were asked to dance in groups of three whenever we felt ready. They also were very adamant that we don’t practice while we were waiting to audition because it’s distracting and unfair to the dancers who go first. Makes sense.

By this point my nerves were on full blast. I ended up dancing about midway through all of the groups and left the floor wanting to dance again. I could have been so much cleaner if I would have relaxed and breathed through the nervous energy. But taking into account that I’m always way harder on myself than I need to be, I felt proud of what I did. I was done. The audition had come to an end and now it was out of our hands.

FullSizeRender

Waiting for my number to be called was the absolute most nerve racking moment of the entire audition. Which is weird when ya think about it, because at that point you can’t do anything about it. They announced the number of 8 veteran members and 12 rookies. I knew they were taking 20 total numbers, so as they got closer and closer to reaching 20 I started to prepare myself jusssst in case they didn’t say 296. I still had a great feeling, but I wanted to be ready for whatever was thrown at me. My number was the 19th number to be called. TALK ABOUT STRESS YOU GUYS. But damn, I did it. Finally. It felt like all of my hard work had paid off.

IMG-3602

Now it’s official. We went through orientation at HQ, had our first rehearsal weekend and even received our uniforms. I absolutely can’t wait to continue with this new chapter of my life and can’t help but feel overwhelmingly grateful to have 19 talented and dedicated women alongside me in this journey.

GO CLIPPERS!

Holly at the Hollywood Bowl

CALLING ALL LOVERS OF THE ARTS, PERFORMANCE, VIEWS AND FOOOOOD. Getcho booty to the Hollywood Bowl ASAP.

IMG-3797

A few months ago, Kelly, Kristyn and I were sitting at a coffee shop (Romancing the Bean for those of you who are coffee shop hunters) trying to get our lives together when Kelly randomly signed up for updates from the Hollywood Bowl. To be honest, I wasn’t even entirely sure what that was. I knew there were concerts and stuff there but that’s about it. Part of the perk of signing up was a discount on tickets. Impulsively, Kelly bought 3 tickets (only $18 each) to Mama Mia. I’ve seen a lot of shows (small secret I’m a huge musical buff), but I had yet to see Mama Mia.

When we bought the tickets, it felt like July would never come. The show seemed sooo far in the distance but, like I keep saying, It felt like it was time for the show only a week later. We all took off work for the evening and planned to get there hourrrrrs before the show to picnic our lives away. How fun?! On our way over we hit up Trader Joe’s for cheap(ish) wine, and plenty of snacks.

IMG-3804

Once we got there, we headed to the very top of the hill (our seats were front row…..of the very back section of the entire Bowl). They have cute little picnic areas set up for you to chill out at before the show. We’ve all been staying busy with different things and completely opposite schedules so it felt so good to catch up with Kelly and Kristyn about life over a bottle (or two) of wine and a ridiculous game of Cards Against Humanity. Also very lowkey announcement that the vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s are actually burning hot lava fire flames. And yes, I said vegan. To be extremely LA, I challenged myself to two weeks of it to see if I could do it. Still going strong for your information.

I do this weird thing at musicals where I cry….and that was already happening by the end of the national anthem. Nice! The rest of the waterworks held off until the end of the second act (thank God). The song that always gets me in Mama Mia is ‘Slipping Through my Fingers’. So good.

The talent on the stage was overwhelming and I couldn’t help but wish I was up there. Definitely on my list of goals. It was so unbelievably cool to see so many people from all different backgrounds singing along to ABBA and enjoying themselves just as much as we were. There is such a large community of support for the arts out here and I truly can’t express how thankful I am for that. With this in mind and the Hollywood sign in the background of the stage, I could help but get a little teary eyed (again).

IMG-3803

Dang. How did I get so lucky?