By Eileen Maddocks
Open-call auditions for the fifth season of Farm to Ballet were held on Sunday, February 10, at Spotlight Vermont from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Your intrepid blogger lurked among the dancers.
So many new faces! There was a tremendous response to the publicity that was given to this audition. Over twenty dancers auditioned, and others who could not be present sent dancer videos. A number was assigned to each dancer to pin on his/her clothes. Not quite an ABT audition, but numbers gave it the feel.
So many levels in dance ability from beginner to soloist quality. And one dancer had never studied ballet but she kept up just fine.
About one-third were returning dancers from previous seasons and for them it was like old-home week. Some of the newbies looked stiff and uncertain but previous F2B dancers made them feel welcome. By the time dancers took the floor after the barre, it was one big mixed group of young and old(er), new and veterans!
Twelve-year old Kian of Middlebury was auditioning for his fourth season! He’s trained with Chatch at Spotlight and in classes at the dance department at Middlebury College. How does it feel, Kian? “Yes, I do feel!”
And ten-year old Rowan came from Footworks Studio of Dance in Milton. Welcome, Rowan! Might there possibly be two kid goats this year?
Chatch welcomed everyone with their wide range of dance abilities and said he wanted to offer ballet outside on the grass for everyone. He was looking for joyfulness beyond uniformity and technique. For the beginners, can you hang in there through the tough? Can you persevere even though you don’t understand what’s going on? At the higher level of dancing, he was looking for consistency.
Chatch moved through the rows of barres checking on the dancers. Best to just ignore him!
Ah, the judges. Avi Waring, the Ballet Mistress for Ballet Vermont, and Amy Overstreet, the Media Liaison for Ballet Vermont, sat at a table in front to watch. Sometimes they whispered with each other and rattled papers. Hmmm, will have to find out later what was going on there!
Chatch explained and demonstrated everything carefully for the barre work and floor combos so that no one would be handicapped by not grasping the steps and combinations. The playing field was made level.
How did the dancers feel when the two hours were over? Three of the new dancers said:
The returning dancers were excited, too.
It seems that a good time was had by all.
Now. Dancers. Wait. For. The. Email.
Eileen Maddocks returned to ballet when she retired and studies with Chatch Pregger. She performed with Farm to Ballet for four seasons. She is also a writer with her own publishing company that specializes in religious history.