The Iceberg Effect: more than just an excuse to reference Titanic

Dear diary,

I am a perfectionist.

Love,

Holly

I remember being about 8 years old and auditioning for a role in our community theater’s production of Sleeping Beauty. Typically the younger kids get cast as a something minor whose only purpose is the be cute and make the parents say “awwww”. Nope, not me. Not my jam. I went into the audition wearing something I thought Princess Aurora herself would wear. I wanted a part in the musical but not as some lame side character. I wanted to be the freaking princess. The lead role. Which is almost ALWAYS someone over the age of 15. Did I care? No. If I was going to audition, I was going to land the biggest part in the entire production. Anything less was failure.

Fast forward 3 hours to me having an absolute hysteric meltdown in my room. Like HYSTERIC.

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Pretty accurate TBH

My mom came in with a cold wash cloth to put over my eyes to try to help calm me down but literally nothing would work. Of course, my parents had a big discussion with me to try to explain the directors purpose for casting who he did and that I’ll get the next one. But I didn’t want the next one and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t selected.

Ever since I can remember I have obsessed over things being perfect or being the best at whatever I do (which, hello, that is the best way to set yourself up for failure).

Keeping this in mind, fast forward 14 years and I’m pursuing a career in dance and entertainment. In LA. The Mecca of perfectionism. And as much as I wish I could say I’ve completely shaken that 8-year-old version of myself, I can’t. She is still very much a part of me and, in some ways, she’s 100 times louder. What I can say, is that I’ve learned (and am constantly learning) how to deal with her.

I really believe that mindset is everything and that there is a way to put a positive spin on most things we face in life. Learning how to see the strength at the other end of your weakness is a hard thing to do, but allows for self growth rather than a fun little spiral of self deprecation. And we all know I love self-deprecating humor. For me, I think being a perfectionist has a lot of positive qualities. I am meticulous about my work. I walk in to any new task or opportunity ready to give 110%. My drive to be the best is so loud it almost overwhelms me. Which brings me to the flip side. I get in my head when I’m out of my comfort zone. I spiral about all of the other things I’m ‘inadequate’ at when one thing goes wrong. I have a hard time taking no for an answer. I have an intense fear of looking stupid and I hold myself back from opportunities if I don’t think I know what I’m doing….even if it’s just mentally. But here’s the cool thing- I’m aware of all this.

When I walk into an audition, I never know how I’m going to feel. There are days when I enter the room with my head held high, loving what I’m wearing, the way I look and the way I’m dancing. Those are the days that I walk out of the audition feeling amazing whether I was cut first round or stayed until the end. But there are also times when I defeat myself before I even take off my jacket to warm up. When I’m comparing myself to every other girl in there. Everyone picking up the choreography faster than me, everyone who knows the casting director already, everyone who has better hair or a better outfit…a better body…it’s hard not to. In an industry of constantly being told no with no with zero feedback or reason given, you find yourself always searching for the why behind the no. Why did it turn out this way? Oh it’s gotta be because my hair wasn’t long enough. I should have hit the gym more. I’m not hip hop enough. I wish I was taller. Tanner. Skinner. Prettier. Better. Spiral spiral spiral spiral.

It’s a lot. But like I said, I am aware of it. I’m able to see past the now and look ahead totumblr_p5ehleSHXG1qclnf1o5_r1_250 the future…to know that that particular ‘no’ is a ‘yes’ somewhere else. And that, my friends, is key. I always like to refer to this as the iceberg effect (partially because I love Titanic and am always looking for ways to reference it in my day-to-day life).
Let me explain. When you look at an iceberg (or at least a photo of one cause I don’t know how many people are hopping on ships to go iceberg hunting), you see a little triangle of ice sticking up above the water. Think of that as the now. The parking ticket you got 541866180yesterday, the guy who is just not that into you, the gig you got turned down for, the deal you didn’t close…But what you can’t see is all the stuff that’s coming your way or the why behind it. The stuff that’s not right in front of your face but is underneath all of the day to day stress, working it’s way into your life as it’s meant to be. The good stuff. I really do believe that coincidence isn’t real and that everything happens for a reason (how many times have you heard that?). But it’s true.

Persistence is everything and perfectionism can be a major deterrent in keeping a positive mindset, especially in the entertainment industry that focuses so much on the outward appearance, but use it to your advantage. Flip your mindset and learn how to find the strength within your so-called weakness. I promise your fate with the iceberg will be a hell of a lot better than Jack’s.

 

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NBA FAQ HMU ROFL- Auditioning for a pro team?

I’m not quite sure how it’s already time to end my rookie season with the Clippers, but it officially came to a close this past week at our end of the year dinner. It feels like I just got the news about making the team and now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, next season’s auditions are about two months away. I spent the last several months learning choreography, performing at Staples, attending various appearances and events, and most importantly building a team that now feels like family and now it’s just about time do do it again.

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I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and ask about auditioning for a professional team whether it be Clippers specifically or just in general. Did I like it? Would I recommend it? Am I doing it again? What’s the time commitment like? How important is it to be in shape? What are auditions like? The list goes on and on. And believe me, I get it. I remember after I decided to audition last year, I had so many questions and truly had zero clue what I was getting myself into. Now that I’ve got a season under my belt, I hope I can help at least a few people who are interested in auditioning. I’m gonna break it down question by question. And as always- reach out if I’m missing something.

Q. When are tryouts?

A. This year, auditions are taking place on July 22nd. It doesn’t say on the website, but typically finals are the following day. Unlike other teams and many NFL teams, the process is only two days long and very to the point consisting of a technique round, combination round, interview and final combination round. You will learn two dances during the course of the audition.

Q. Are there pre-tryout clinics?

A. Yes, there are two and I highly highly recommend going to at least one of the. This summer they are June 9 and July 7 and its only $40 to attend. These clinics are a great way to get yourself in front of the coach, captains and potential teammates. Not only that, but it’s a great way to make sure this is the squad for you. I truly believe that there is a pro dance team out there for everyone. Each one is ran differently and has style of dance that is unique to them. At the end of the day, it’s not only the judges selecting you to be apart of the team, you are also choosing them. They want dedicated dancers and trust me when I say it’s so much easier to put in that commitment when you genuinely love the program you are apart of.

These clinics are also a good call because more likely than not, you will see some of the elements you learn during these two dates in the actual audition.

Q. What is the audition process like?

A. I kind of already touched on this a bit, but like I said, it’s two days long. You show up the first day with your headshot and resume and, if I remember right, there’s an application process you go through online beforehand. You start with a warm up and then move to the technique round where a short across the floor combo is taught. After you showcase your across the floor technique (I think there was a double, a calypso and maybe a fan kick), either the coach or last years captains will tell you either “thank you” or “please stay.” Should you move on to the next round, you learn a combination (most often one of last years routines) and perform it in groups of 5 or so. Then they make the cut for finals. I remember this part being agonizing. They announce the dancers one by one. Hello, anxiety. The second day starts with an interview. It’s not a game day quiz of any sort. It’s more of a get to know you. And much like the rest of the process, it’s short, sweet and to the point. After that, they bring in a guest choreographer (last year it was Kevin Maher) to teach the final audition routine. In the studio, and front of a panel of judges, you perform one last time with two other hopefuls.

Q. What should I wear?

A. This for me is always more stressful than it should be. For a lot of professional teams, they require tights, briefs, and a rhinestone bra of sorts. This is where Clippers is a bit different. Absolutely no tights or briefs. Our style is athletic. What that means is no tights, shorts instead of briefs and a sports bra top of sorts. I am always a fan of doing a little something to make yourself stand out whether that be a funky sports bra or colored lipstick. I would recommend wearing pretty much the same thing to finals that you wore the day before. That way it’s easier to recognize who you are amongst all of the dancers (last year there were over 500 who participated in the first round). Las year I wore the same thing but added a cropped camo sweatshirt over the top.

Q. How important is fitness?

A.  Stamina is definitely a huge factor and something they look for when selecting the team. I wish I knew how many miles I run on average during game day. And no, I don’t mean as a pre-game workout. We literally are in the tunnels of Staples Center running around from tunnel to tunnel to dressing room to quick change to the court to do a full length routine and then three hot songs back to back. Not only that, but the uniforms can be nearly microscopic as well. There is not one body type you should be, though so definitely don’t let this stress you out. What’s most important is confidence. That goes a long way. You want to feel proud and comfortable standing on the court in your uniforms.

Q. What’s the time commitment like?

A. We rehearse at least 2 days a week for three hours. When the season gets going, it can get pretty crazy between multiple game day weeks, appearances and extra rehearsals.

Q. Does it pay well?

A. There is potential to make anywhere from $15-$125 an hour.

Q. What was the hardest challenge you faced?

A. Anyone who has ever been on a college dance team will relate to this, but I think the hardest part is just being new. You learn routines that the veterans already know, try to figure out the layout of game day, staples center, how to manage your time, stay fit and make it to appearances on time. It’s a lot. But everyone is there to help and are more than willing to do so. They were in your shoes once too.

Q. What was your favorite part?

A. Specifically this season I would say performing with Super Duper Kyle. Since it’s an LA team, there is a lot of opportunity to perform with some pretty cool artists. All Star weekend was also a once in a lifetime experience. It was a lot of hours and hard work, but it was so cool to be on that stage.

Q. How is it being on a team with 19 other women?

A. Honestly, incredible. I gotta say, I was pretty nervous when I first joined the team. It’s scary going into something not knowing the people you’re going to be spending all that time with. This team of women was truly special. We all clicked so well and I can honestly say that we were all meant to be put in each others lives. I’ve been so thankful to have gained 19 new incredible friends who have truly become family.

For anyone on the fence about auditioning, do it. It’s an incredible feeling to be getting paid for something you genuinely love. Yes, it gets overwhelming and stressful at times but the ups far outweigh the downs. Clippers is the perfect blend between industry and dance team. The choreographers, artists, and leadership team you’re exposed to are great tools and resources that are at your disposal.

 

LIT SHIT: April

Happy Siete De Mayo, here’s a blog post that should have been posted a week ago!!!I have been as good as MIA for the past month. Between a trip home, Clippers finishing up and working about twice as much as I had been, I’ve let this little guy fall by the wayside, blinked my eyes and April was gone. Sitting here trying to write this I  literally had to grab my planner and look back on the month to see what I had even done these past four weeks…besides run from one thing to the next. Busy or not- there were definitely some great moments in April so I’ll catch you up on a few of my favorites.

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Did wedding things. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but my BEST FRIEND IS GETTING MARRIED. Almost can’t wrap my brain around it and even more so can’t believe it’s only 4 months away. When I was in Iowa at the end of March, I finally got to spend some time with her. India is a massage therapist in Pella (HIT HER UP IF YOUR IN THE AREA)- so that meant a 90 minute massage for me, which she absolutely crushed. Post massage, she surprised me with the cutest basket of goodies and a card asking me to be one of her bridesmaids…well that’s what she told me the card said. I didn’t read it until I was on the airplane heading home because I knew I would cry. I went straight from opening the basket to trying on bridesmaid stuff so that got real pretty quick.

Road Tripped. To Coachella Valley with one of my Clippers teammates, Aleya. We made a day of it between pit stops, story telling and PLENTY of snacks. I fricken love road trips. Especially in California. There is so much to see and so many different types of places you can see after just getting in the car for a few hours. I mean you can hit the mountains and ski or be at the beach in a matter of a few miles. California is great that way.

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Coffeed. At Go Gettem Tiger. My coffee shop find of the month. Kind of stumbled onto it by accident because I misread my work schedule and ended up being in the area too early. This is something I tend to frequently do. Their service is fantastic and the ambience is even better. I got their almond macadamia milk latte, which they serve in a cute little mason jar.

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Got Nailed. At Nail Garden on USC’s campus. This was a last minute, panicked decision. Basically I was headed to Coachella and had tried to make a nail appointment at 4 different places, 2 of which  I drove out of my way to and they proceeded to tell me there wasn’t an appointment scheduled for me….which took all of me to remain calm, cool and collected. So here I was, the day I was supposed to leave with 3 fake nails missing and another 2 trying to fall off- I am hell on nails. I called the only place that was open at 9 am and scheduled appointment. First of all, USC’s campus is insanely beautiful and I got lost trying to find the place so it was fun to wander around a bit. A few hours later I left with a fresh set of nails that made me realize the places I had been going weren’t even close to up to Nail Garden’s standard. I paid a little bit more, but definitely a place you should check out!

Coachella. Somehow I went from never wanting to hear the words tent, wristband, alcohol, Coachella or Instagram to wanting to get my booty in my KIA Sorrento, drive to Indio as fast as I can for round two. I hate this about myself. This weekend I suffered from a serious case of fomo and after having friends who literally snuck into the festival, I’m confident that I could have done the same. Buuuuut alas, duty called and instead, I strapped myself into a straightjacket of responsibility…no matter how miserable it was.

I am proud to announce that aside from a cough, I have finally returned to my normal state!!! It took me almost a week. Coachella really takes it out of you, let me tell ya. You can buy as many vitamins, pound countless wellness shots, perform as many weird crystal rituals and drink as much water as you want- you’re still gonna feel it afterwards. Especially if you camp. And ya girl camped. For the first time ever. Just take a second to picture me in a tent………yeah it’s probably worse than the image you have in your head.

For starters, I clicked all of my plans into place literally the day before. I literally walked into the locker room at Staples with a big ole SOS flag and my teammates pulled all the way through from outfits to a place to stay. I borrowed a tent and sleeping pad (which much to my surprise is NOT the same thing as an air mattress), scored a ride, and even copped a few outfit options. Now I’m not telling you that procrastination is a good thing, but I am saying it all works itself out nine times out of ten. And always leaves you with some interesting stories.

  1. My tent was big enough to house the Duggars. Seriously. Once I got to the campsite, we took it out of the bag to set up by where they had set up the picnic table and we quickly realized that unless we put the table inside my tent, that was not happening. By the grace of God, there happened to be an empty camping slot right next to the 6 that my group had reserved. So I spent the entire weekend with my own camping site space, in a tent that was the epitome of me having a studio apartment.
  2. I had no EZ up. Which means no shade. Which means I went to sleep in 16 layers and woke up because I was drowning in sweat. Good morning desert sun!!!
  3. I forgot a towel. Which makes communal showers fun!
  4. The boys in the campsite adjacent from my tent were definitely 18 and spent each night getting blacked out, bumping into my tent and talking about how much trouble they would be in if their dads knew. They are probably still hungover
  5. I made it to morning yoga each morning….but the first day I grabbed my water bottle full of vodka on accident. Thankfully I didn’t go for a sip until I was trying to talk to the instructor afterwards. So I just held it in my mouth and communicated in sign language until waving goodbye and running to the nearing garbage can to spit it out.

If you know me you are not surprised by any of these. Now let me tell ya about some of the absolute best moments and products that helped me survive the desert life.

  1. LANY. 3:45 pm and you better believe I was pushing my way to the front.
  2. The Weeknd was honestly my second favorite set of the entire weekend. He played his new stuff (which I’ve since gotten into) but most importantly he played most of the good ones from Trilogy. I literally went psycho for The Morning. Hair whips and all.
  3. Beyonce. Because it was Beyonce and I’m sure you’ve already read/seen all about her performance.
  4. Yodel boy. I stumbled onto a set of some artist I didn’t even know and out came yodel boy. In the flesh.
  5. Miguel. That man can SING. Not to mention I ran into two of my Clippers friends while walking to his set. Out of all the people that were there.
  6. Cardi B was so stinkin’ fun. We stood kind of in the back so there was plenty of room to dance.
  7. My friends Irene and Leah got into Coachella because they told the guard it was Irene’s birthday at midnight. Which was true. But what was even crazier was that in a land where cell service is not a thing, we found each other within 5 minutes of them getting inside the gate. Meant to be.
  8. I got to watch Super Duper Kyle with one of my Clippers teammates Kylie. This was cool cause we had danced with him earlier in the season so it was fun to see him up there and definitely motivating.
  9. Silent Disco. I’ve always wanted to go to one of these. If you don’t know, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Everyone outs on headphones and that’s how you hear the music. So everyone is like screaming the lyrics and if you take off your headphones, all you can hear is the people singing. It must look so strange to people that are just walking by and not participating. Anyway- they had this on the campsite throughout the night so for a lot of people it was their last stop after all the concerts and sets had ended.
  10. Ya girl made it to outdoor yoga every single morning. I have no idea how.
  11. THE FOOD STANDS. Thank you Clover and Sage for being my healthy food havens during the weekend.
  12. RX bars got me THROUGH
  13. Not your mothers dry shampoo. Thank you for taming my unwashed dreadlocks during this weekend.
  14. And shoutout to my Urban Outfitters hat for covering my hair the last day because dry shampoo can only go so far you guys.

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Bontanica. Shoutout Tori for finding this place. It’s the cutest little restaurant over in Silverlake (which I have made it a point to explore more). We ordered a bunch of apps including sun chokes, beets, some bread thing that I can’t eat, cod and last but not least Japanese sweet potatoes. MMMMM. I freaking love sweet potatoes. Not to mention the interior of that place is basically the spitting image of what I dream of my place looking like.

HUM Flatter Me. We sell these at my work in our Detox market stand and I finally pulled the trigger on trying them. Since getting more in tune with my body and eating habits, I’ve cut a lot of things out that I’ve realized don’t necessarily work for me in terms of how they make me feel- from stomach aches to body swelling and puffiness. These little guys are an all organic digestive enzyme blend that you take before you eat to prevent bloating and aid in digestion. I definitely recommend giving them a try. HUM has a lot of other really great products too that help with sleep, dark under eye circles, skin, hair and even more.

Roommates. LEXIE MOVED IN WITH ME FOR 2.5 WEEKS. Just after I recovered from Coachella, Lexie finally made the move to LA. It’s been so fun to have her around and I’m so proud of her for actually taking the leap and saying peace out to Iowa. We have made an extremely long Summer bucket list so if you have any suggestions of places to go, things to do or food to eat in California, LET US KNOW.

 

 

 

Year two

I’m not sure how this is physically possible, but after what have been the most lightening speed 365 days of my entire life, I’ve officially lived in Los Angeles for a year. How? Feels like just yesterday I was loading up my Kia Sorento to the brim to start on the 27 hour journey to my apartment at Academy Village, so naively excited to be an official Californian.

Fast forward to today and I could never have predicted that I would be writing this from a studio apartment in DTLA about 3 friends down and 6 jobs later. To quote old school Taylor Swift and good ole Ed Sheeran, everything has changed.

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Last you heard from me, Kelly was leaving me for the cruise ship. Update on that: she’s loving it. Although the wifi is spotty, it’s the best thing ever to get 30 second Facetimes from her, chillin’ on random islands. She told me she literally goes to bed not knowing where she’s going to wake up on. Not sure if this is because that’s the standard cruise ship life or because she sucks at reading the itinerary, but either way- what an exciting job. Kristyn is about a month in of living in Los Vegas and is thriving. She’s already had a few dance gigs out there and seems to be loving it. Annie’s Visa just ended so she’s back in Australia and currently recovering from getting her dang tonsils out (FINALLY). Seriously though, this is a big deal cause she had strep 9 times during her stay in LA. But what’s even more exciting is that she’s about to choreograph Perth’s We Will Rock You the musical!!! Jordan’s still in LA and has been side job free for several months now and is killing it with dance, videography and photography. Yay for friends doing things. Even if that means leaving me in the dust over here in LA. It’s fine. I’m fine.

After much searching around and string pulling, I finally landed the apartment of my dreams. Seriously, it’s really hard to leave the complex cause I love it so big. I’ve pretty much been wanting to have a studio apartment since I was 19 so this is major. I’ve only ever had good roommate experiences, but there’s something about coming home to your own space that just feels so good. I will say the process of moving was the funniest thing ever. Obviously I don’t own a truck and am not the most skilled at moving a full size bed 30 minutes down the freeway, so I hired movers. Very strange experience for me cause I’m the worst at sitting back and letting other people take the wheel. I had an interview right after the move was scheduled, so I’m like ‘great, I’ll dress up and then I won’t be as tempted to try to help the movers!!’ Wrong. They had to tell me to (kindly) back off like 5 times. I felt like a Beverly Hills housewife sitting on my counter on the phone in my heels telling them where to unload things. After a hefty target run and a large order from Urban’s home decor section, it’s starting to feel a little bit more like home. AND I HAVE TV NOW. Have yet to turn it on but COOL!! Once everything arrives and I finally unpack all of my boxes, I’ll do a little post on my bachelorette pad.

Clippers has been keeping me pretty busy with the craziness of basketball season. But I really do love it. Performing at the Staples center is a dream and the team is made up of so many incredible women. I feel like I’ve known for much longer than a few months. Between that, my current side job, the job search, class, auditions and my newly rejuvenated love for fitness I can’t say I’ve had a lot of downtime. I guess for those of you that know me, this is no shocker. I’m the absolute worst at downtime. Which is why it’s been ages since you’ve heard from me. I must say, it feels great to write again and (even though I’ve said this in probably every post I’ve put out there in the past year) I’m pretty set on getting a consistent posting schedule going. So get ready for a little bit of post overload (I’m sure at least my family is happy to hear this).

Okay yay. I think that oughta do it for now. Bring on year two!!

City of goodbyes

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A LONGER, SAPPIER VERSION OF MY INSTAGRAM FAREWELL TO KELLY.

And, for those of you who skimmed past my ridiculously long Instagram caption the other day (I really don’t blame you because as I said, it was ridiculously long and reading is hard), I said goodbye for now to one of my best friends. Kelly booked a cruise y’all!!! SO proud of that human. She leaves to dance her way around the world aboard the Regent 7 Seas Navigator in about a week after stopping by home. Taking her to the airport was such a bittersweet moment for Kristyn and I. Definitely had all the nostalgia feels (tell me why I started crying when I saw a sign that said “airport”….annoying) and couldn’t help but replay this last year in my head a million times. We’ve all come so far, but freaking Kelly literally accomplished her biggest goal in under a year!!! Incredible. I feel like a proud mom over here. Buuuuut. I definitely have a selfish side of me that wishes she was still gonna be around for the next 6 months because #twinbeds. Luckily one of the best friends that I’ve made out here, Annie has now become my twin bed mate (I say mate because she’s from Australia). Then I’m like, oh shit I can’t get too comfy here cause she leaves to go back to Australia in November…and then I got to thinking. Damn, there have been so many friends that I’ve made out here that I have already said goodbye to and many more that are coming up.

I guess that’s part of living in such a creative city that has its roots embedded so deeply into the entertainment industry. People come here for the opportunities…I know I did. That doesn’t necessarily mean you stay here for whatever those opportunities may be. Obviously there are a lot of jobs in the city, but there are just as many (if not more) that travel. Which is so cool because who doesn’t want to see the world? I definitely have a bit of a travel bug, so I don’t blame anyone for leaving. I would do the exact same if I booked a dream job that led me elsewhere (for a short period of time anyway). People are coming and going. Frequently. Then those jobs connect them to other jobs that travel and the cycle continues. Honestly, LA kind of just feels like a temporary home to creatives. Myself included. Don’t get me wrong, I really do see myself as a lifer in California. I mean I’ve been wanting to live here since I was about 10 years old…but I know I won’t stay in LA for the rest of my life. But for now, it makes sense for 22 year old me. I’m loving the Clippers and I feel like my journey in this city is just getting started.

It is kind of funny that I ended up here, though…since I am the worst human in the world at goodbyes. Like do I hug you? Will I see you again? I don’t really miss people that often so I probably won’t miss you that much…or will I? What if you fall out of touch with me purposefully? And I swear to God it takes all I have not to sarcastically say “see ya never!!!” when I should actually be taking the farewell seriously (public apology to anyone I ever said that to). Living here and being thrown into constantly making friends who peace out of LA has helped me grow as a person though. I definitely went through a phase during, and even after college, where I didn’t know how to #emotion. And while I definitely still struggle being vulnerable, I’ve realized how important it is to tell those influential people in your life how much they mean to you and just how hard the goodbye (or see ya later) is for you.

 

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?!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Word vomit

If you saw my Instagram or Facebook post then you probably knew this was coming. And quite honestly, I imagine this being a little bit difficult to type. Really I’m not even sure if it’ll make the cut and be published but here we go anyway.

As you may well know, I have two dogs who are, as I like to say, “old as dirt.” Had two dogs. Yesterday, I received a message from my parents asking me to give them a call after  my dance class. Of course my intuition immediately knew that something was up. I wondered if I had sent them a text that I meant to send to a friend or maybe they got a few of my parking tickets in the mail. Especially when I called on my way home and they said it would be better if I waited to take the call until I was at home and out of the car. By then I had had it. I needed to know what was going on and when I asked for a hint they simply said “It’s about Bear.”

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This didn’t come as a huge surprise to me. When I was home a few weeks ago, we had noticed that she was moving a little bit slower. My dad has basically had Rottweilers his entire life and most of them had some sort of issue involving their bones ranging from minor joint pain to full fledged bone cancer. We assumed that this may be the case, and so did her vet, so we ended up buying her some treats that were designed specifically for joint pain. We noticed an improvement, but we also noticed some strange lumps forming on her belly. Those aren’t related to joint pain…

They had grown a decent amount between the time I left for California and when I returned home last month. We had had the vet check them out a few times and we had basically decided to keep an eye on the lumps and her disposition to see if there were any changes for the worse.

If you read my last blog, you also know that I did I shitty job of seeing all of my friends back in Iowa. For some reason I couldn’t get myself to leave my parents or my dogs. Now it makes sense. I spent the entire week cuddled up to bear. My parents said they hadn’t seen her that social and lovey dovey in months. She knew. But I could have never prepared myself for the phone call I received last night.

She was gone. They took her to the vet to have her lumps, they had grown significantly since I had returned back to California, drained and checked out. The vet found more than what he had bargained for. It was cancer and it had spread. A lot. Still on the operating table, the vet called my parents. They were faced with the decision of putting her through extensive surgery, recovery, pain and (maybe) a few more weeks of life or letting her go in peace.

Bear left us around noon yesterday. I can’t imagine how different my house in Iowa is. No one to steal the good couch or squeeze on with. Fluffy (our other dog) is probably lost. In fact, I know she is. But I also know that she knows what happened. She got in the habit of leaving a few little crumbs of her soft food for Bear to finish off. Last night, my parents said that she ate every bite. She knew Bear wasn’t coming home. I just can’t help but wish that we had the same instinct.

It feels like my family is down one member. One unconditional lover who didn’t care if we got fired from a job or had a shitty day or even yelled at her one hour before.

I’m beginning to learn how I work a little bit better and called today off specifically for this blog post. I had full intention of doing what I normally do. Go on as if I’m unaffected, afterall, I’m halfway across the country. But I stopped. Called my dad and said “not this time.” I needed to get this out. I needed to deal with it in the moment and be present in it. In the painful, empty and sheer realness of it. Otherwise, I’m going to feel it x20 in three months like I always do. To make this even more of a growing experience, I challenged myself to write this in public. Why? Because I knew I would cry and crying in front of people makes me want to crawl out of my skin. But I let it happen. I needed to let it happen, to not wear a mask as I so often do.

So to finish up, thanks for reading this. Sometimes the only thing that makes me feel better is just letting my fingers do their thing on the keyboard while I turn my brain off. That being said, I’m making the choice not to proofread this.

 

Give your furry friends some extra love today. They can teach you so much.