It is almost time for the annual Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) auditions! BYB students are consistently accepted into Governor’s School for the Arts, earning them eligibility for a host of College Scholarships and educational opportunities in all fields of study! Each year 200 of Kentucky’s finest young artists, spread across nine different arts disciplines, are selected to attend Governor’s School for the Arts for three weeks during the summer. GSA is free to all students accepted to the program! What an honor! Those who have attended GSA say that it’s a thrilling, life-changing experience, where they meet new friends, explore their creativity, and discover new things about who they are now and who they can become in the future!
We’re so proud of the many BYB students who have attended GSA over the years! We wish the best for those who have applied to the program this year, and will be attending an audition later this month! Break a leg, BYB Dancers!
“…No Dream is Too BIG!” for our exceptional students!
Interview With Some of Our GSA Students
From Left to Right pictured above: Grace Byars, Claire Rose, Kate Cox, Amelia Caldwell
How did each of you prepare for the GSA auditions? Or, what are some things that have worked for you in helping to stay focused, calm, etc. during auditions, before a performance, etc.?
Grace: Before an audition I always try to relax myself. I tell myself that I know I can achieve what I want and everything will be ok no matter what the outcome. I didn’t really prepare much before the GSA audition, I just made sure I came in relaxed and ready to show the judges what I could do.
Claire: For me, the greatest preparation was strengthening and stretching a lot ahead of time. This gave me a lot more confidence in myself, so that I knew I was trying my hardest when the time came for the audition. During the audition itself, it really helped to stay calm and focused on your own dancing. I think that focusing on the communication between the teacher and yourself is very important, so that you do not become too distracted with your classmates, or wind up comparing yourself to them. The only one you should compare yourself to is past you.
Kate: I’m the kind of person who likes to be over-prepared, so showing up early and warming up are for sure the two best ways I like to get ready for an audition. I also find it important to not start judging other dancers and yourself the moment you walk into an audition. Yes, this process is competitive, but at the end of the day it’s about how you present yourself that makes the lasting impression.
Amelia: I honestly did not do a lot to prepare for my GSA audition. In general though, whenever I have something really important and need to make a good first impression, I clear my mind the best I can. I just have to tell myself that I am good enough, and that I believe in myself. Because believing in yourself is the first step to success. Normally, I find a quiet corner and stretch and think about how far I have come. It helps me to pay attention to myself, and not the dancers around me. If I start looking around the room at other dancers, there is a possibility of comparing myself to them. The only dancer I should ever compare myself to is me. My mom did help me prepare for the interview by asking odd questions and expecting me to answer (the interview questions were much easier than the ones she asked.)
Was there anything about the GSA auditions that you’d like to pass on to those who may be auditioning this year? Maybe something you wished you’d known beforehand? Any specifics about the audition itself and/or words of wisdom?
Grace: Know that the GSA audition is different than other auditions. There will be people from many different dance backgrounds, some being more/less experienced than others. Also, make sure that you show off a little bit! You have to show the judges what you can do and what makes you special!
Claire: The audition itself was pretty standard. Of course it is always important to remain interested and open to new ideas that your teachers have to offer, and to be kind and gracious to your classmates. A big part of the audition was the interview afterwards, where the teachers could ask you questions and get to know you too. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality, just be kind and open to those around you. Also, they love it when you ask questions of them and are interested too!
Kate: For the GSA audition I made sure to get plenty of rest, because it is a three-hour audition, which includes ballet, a bit of pointe, modern, and some improvisation. Many people often groan at the sound of “improv,” but it’s definitely nothing to fear. At this audition you’ll be given an unorthodox prompt, which is designed to put you out of your comfort zone. My biggest advice here would be to just go for it! Don’t be afraid to interpret what you’re given; this helps show your artistry.
Amelia: Think of the audition as a master class. Make sure to soak in all of the information the teachers give you. The audition was not extremely difficult, however the hardest part for me was the improvisation. You really need to put yourself out there and don’t show how nervous you are. Believe me, the improvisation is to show how well you adapt, everyone is going to do the best they can. Everyone at my audition did very well with that part. For the interview, don’t worry too much. They are not going to ask bizarre questions that throw you off. The questions are designed to let the teachers get to know who you are as a person. The most important thing to know about the interview is to be yourself. There is no greater advice I can give you.
How did your experience with BYB help prepare you for auditions and to dance with other dancers who have come from different schools?
Grace: Having the opportunity to take class with many different teachers and in different dance forms has really helped me with auditions. The teachers that we have at BYB are fantastic! But having the opportunity to take class from other teachers opens your eyes to some things about your technique that you may not notice before. It also lets a fresh set of eyes watch you dance and they can give you corrections that other teachers may not catch.
Claire: BYB is such a diverse school, and when we dance we are not only dancing with our age group, the entire school dances together. Our performances are designed to show off the beauty of every age and every shape and size and how they work together to create the beautiful art form that is dance! Having this diverse experience has helped me a lot in being more open to new experiences, and overall more accepting of people I don’t know so well. This is really important, because at GSA there are students there from all over the state, who are in all different levels of experience. You have to learn to accept them with a kind heart and an open mind.
Kate: One of the things I love about BYB is the family atmosphere that is created between us all. Because of the competitive nature of dance, it can be easy to lose this feeling. However, BYB really ingrains the importance of supporting each other every day, and only trying to be better than the dancer you were yesterday. This helped me accept the atmosphere of GSA with arms opened wide.
Amelia: BYB is a very loving community, and I have always felt like I can get along with everyone, even in stressful situations like production week. Because we as BYB dancers have been trained to treat each other with the utmost respect, getting along with the other dancers was not a problem. As for preparing us for auditions, we are expected to treat every class at BYB like an audition, and have respect for the teacher and those around us. I believe I was able to demonstrate this in my audition and at the program itself.
What do each of you plan to do with your scholarship? Do you have hopes and dreams for which college you’d like to attend and what you’d like to do after high school?
Grace: I don’t know exactly what I want to do after high school but I know I want to dance. My dream is to join a professional ballet company one day!
Claire: I don’t really have set plans yet. There’s a lot I’d like to do, including continuing to dance, but I haven’t quite figured out the plan yet. I’d love to go to college somewhere in Kentucky with my scholarship, but I’m not sure if I’ll dance in college. If I can, I’d love to dance with a company and go to college for art. A lot of my planning resistance comes from my desire to travel. I feel as if I need to travel a lot and have new experiences before I can settle down. But whether I’m on the road or here in Kentucky, I’m sure I’ll find a way to dance. I must!
Kate: Currently I’m still looking at colleges, but it’s wonderful to know that I already have great options because of the GSA scholarship. Most recently I visited Butler University, which has a fantastic ballet program. Nothing is certain, but for now BU is definitely a front runner on the college search.
Amelia: I am beyond grateful for the scholarship I received from GSA. Before GSA I always imagined myself leaving the state of KY to attend college, but now I am mainly looking at KY universities so that I can use the scholarship opportunity I was awarded to the fullest. I am planning on studying Elementary Education, but I still have some time in case I change my mind. I am definitely going to keep dancing, even if not in the same capacity. I am thinking about a minor in dance, that way I can continue what I love while preparing for my career.
Great Interview! Best Wishes for our students who will be auditioning for the 2015 Governor’s School for the Arts! …No Dream is Too BIG!