Haley’s Audition Blog
July 14, 2007
One of my roommates is a second year emergency medicine resident. When she got home the other night, she told a story about a patient who had no heart rate as they were rushed into the ER. She explained to me that they had been able to restart the patient's heart- what a miracle, huh?
Well, I nearly needed a miracle heart-starting myself procedure Thursday night at Avalon. As each member of the 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers was announced I swore I could have fallen into cardiac arrest. Allow me to explain...
At 7:30 p.m., all of the finalists were busy getting ready. The hairspray that filled our dressing room was probably enough to do some significant damage to the ozone layer. Various members of the media were being ushered out so that all of the finalists could get dressed. I queued up my iPod to some nostalgic jams from last season to bring about good luck. Blackstreet's "No Diggity" was the song of choice and all the while I'm thinking: I hope the judges "like the way I work it" tonight.
At 8:15, the announcement was made for everyone to head down to the stage. All of us finalists quickly gathered together. As we all linked arms, Courtney took charge and gave a little pump-up speech. "Regardless of what happens at the end of the show," she said, "we are all on one team right now -- the Celtics Dancers finalist team." We all shook our heads in agreement -- we'd worked too hard over the past three days to perform at any level less than our very best. With that, we all headed downstairs ready to make this one fierce final audition production.
Backstage I could hear the sea of people in the audience. Overhead, a booming voice declared that the show was about to begin. The first group of dancers hit their spots on stage, the fog machine kicked in to set the mood, and the curtain shot open as the first beats of the music boomed. Just like that, the show was under way.
Schoolgirls, bikini clad bombshells, and stunningly beautiful soloists; all of the finalists played several roles over the course of the production. Lots of turns, jumps, smiles, struts, and whips of hair later, the show was over. I swear I blinked and it was done. And while the adrenaline makes it hard for me to recall exactly how everything went, I am certain of one thing: I had a pretty good time. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel that I had a flawless performance, but as I exited the stage following my solo I felt excited to find out what lucky ladies were going to make this team.
That excitement stayed with me as we lined up on stage in our cocktail dresses for the final announcement of the 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers. Flowers in hand, Marina stood on stage ready to welcome 21 women into an NBA organization and experience unlike any other. I just prayed that I would get to be a part of it all for a second time.
The MC began to call out numbers followed by names, and my excitement turned quickly into nervous anticipation. I saw my teammates from last season, joined by new beautiful and talented faces, accept their flowers and walk the catwalk to thank the crowd. I was so proud to see my friends be rewarded for the amazing work that they had done that night.
Before long, there were only five spots remaining to be filled. Please let there be room for me to join that line, I thought to myself.
The next finalist was announced; four more spots remaining. I took a deep breath and another number was called -- not mine. Three more spots left. An additional finalist name was declared over the mic, not me. At this point, only two more selections remained. There was a bottle of wine with my name on it waiting at my apartment, and I mapped out how I could get to that wine gracefully should I not be selected. The second-to-last name was read. I held my breath. Nope, not me.
At that point, as I stood on stage under bright lights holding my pose, I felt my heart drop into my stomach. The next name was the final name and my last chance at another season as a Celtics Dancer. Was it possible that I would be saying goodbye to the experience that has defined the past year of my life? I did not want to answer questions like this, but they were echoing through my mind. Stay calm, I coached myself.
"There is only one more spot remaining to be called," the MC said. I closed my eyes; my palms were sweaty- I hate sweaty palms. "And the FINAL member of the 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers was wearing the number one ('Who is number one?', I thought. 'She is lucky.')...nine: Haley!"
Wait a second, number one-nine?!?! Nineteen?!?! Haley?! That's me! My heart fell from the pit of my stomach down to the stage. I grabbed my chest and felt like I was floating as I crossed the stage to give Marina a huge hug. Walking that catwalk was a blur. I felt like the luckiest girl in the room. Not only was I privileged to be selected for membership to an amazing team, but I had evaded an actual heart attack.
And that, my friends, is why I was almost in need of my own heart-starting procedure Thursday night. That is why I had visions of my roommate in the ER rushing toward me saying, "This patient went into cardiac arrest this evening at Avalon when the Celtics dance team was announced."
Lucky for me, instead of spending my night in the emergency room, I was fortunate to be sharing the stage with my new teammates. As the cameras flashed and the new team exchanged hugs and congratulations, I began to tear. When the curtains had been drawn and I embraced my friends backstage, I began to cry. Tears of relief, happiness, excitement...tears that you cry when you know that you have something really good.
Yup, this new team is definitely really good. Actually, they are really great! The 21 women who make up the new 2007-2008 Celtics Dancers are some of the most beautiful and talented people that I have ever seen. Congratulations to everyone! I look forward to sharing an amazing season with you all.
I'm no fortune teller, but my prediction is that this season is going to blow fans away. Get ready for game night entertainment that surpasses any other team in the league. So, "Let's go Celtics!" and "Let's go Celtics Dancers!". Boston, we'll see you on the court in November -- no way you'll be able to miss us out there dancing our hearts out.
Over and out,
July 12 - The Final Countdown...
The choreography has been learned, the music and lighting have been set, the costumes have been bedazzled, and we dancers are ready to show the world (or Boston...) what we've got. It is T-minus two hours until we have to report back to Avalon in preparation for tonight's final show. And in about six hours the Celtics will have their 2007-2008 Dancers.
Today, the third and final day of audition workshops, we ran the entire show in full costume for the first time. From what I could see while running around backstage, it looks phenomenal. I am so excited for family, friends, and other attendees to see what is in store for them when the curtain goes up tonight.
After today, I have to extend gratitude to the makers of two products: muscle rub and double-stick tape. My body could not have made it through the dress rehearsal if it had not been soothed by the cooling effect of my Bengay and because of double-stick tape I has able to keep my lacy pink top from drifting too far down and my black swimsuit bottoms from hiking too far up. Thanks for helping a girl out.
Ok folks, show time. To all of the finalists: Good luck. No matter what happens tonight, we all have something to be proud of for the hard work we put in over the past couple of days. To all of you bloggers: if you see a girl in big hair rollers riding the T in the next hour, wish her luck. It's probably me.
July 10, 2007
I am sitting on ice packs and frozen peas, contemplating the daily recommended limit of Advil. This can mean only one thing: day one of workshops for the 2007 Celtics Dancer Final Auditions has come to a close. Yes, after fifteen hours, countless bottles of water and millions of 'eight counts' of choreography, all 42 finalists have successfully made it through. (queue the pat-on-the-back, ladies...) Having been through auditions last year, I knew today was going to be quite a whirlwind. So, in the spirit of whirlwinds, let's review the past 24 hours...
It is about midnight now. This time last night, I was engaged in the small rituals that have become my routine on "audition eve". First, I went through my mental checklist: jazz shoes, high heels, iPod, snacks. Second, I pinned my good luck safety pins and ring into the front pouch of my favorite backpack. Third, I called my family in California and forced them to talk to me about my pre-auditions jitters. Lastly, I hopped into bed with a movie to distract me from any nerves that may otherwise have made it a restless night. Last night Old School was the movie of choice and I fell asleep to chants of "Frank the Tank!" and visions of a man named Blue.
Maybe this is why I had a dream that the Celtics started a sorority and I was pledging. Oh wait, I guess that may not have been a dream! After all, auditions for the Celtics Dancers could be likened to a type of pledging process. Hazing consists of dancing and more dancing. And to be quite honest, I can think of neither a better hazing process nor a better team to hope to be a part of when all is said and done.
When my alarm went off at 5:15 this morning, I felt it: a sense of anticipation and excitement that told me today was going to be an excellent day of audition preparation. I remember that I had this same feeling last year when the inaugural team held final auditions at Foxwoods. Today, similar to my Foxwoods experience, the feeling was right - it was a great day.
After a few wrong turns thanks to Alexis' GPS system (lovingly named "Gladys") we arrived at registration and studied the schedule for the next couple of days. We have long hours of rehearsal ahead in preparation for the show and team selection taking place at Avalon on Thursday night. Get your tickets now, because is it going to be one heck of a show!
Once we were settled in at our rehearsal space, we all stretched and engaged in slightly nervous small talk. In the process, I found that my fellow finalists definitely kick some booty. The 42 of us auditioning this year are composed of a broad range of national talent. Representing both the east and west coasts, these women are talented, educated, and well spoken. Whoever is selected on Thursday night is sure to make up a dynamic group that will carry the Celtics Dancers through their second season in the NBA.
After everyone had checked in, we jumped right into group work and choreography. Today we spent the better part of our time learning the opening number. From jazz to prop to fierce hip hop, this beginning number covers all the bases. The talent pool amongst the 42 finalists is amazing and seeing the pieces fit together is a really exciting thing. I won't give away the theme, but I will say we all danced so hard today that several of us have rug burns and I personally bore the embarrassment of a bloody toe. Not pretty, but well worth it.
Besides developing soreness in muscles we has long forgotten existed, we also spent the time reviewing the main audition routine, and working to choreograph solos that each finalist will perform on Thursday night. I am still working on mine, by the way, so if anyone out there has some choreography they'd like to suggest, please pass it along. Just throwing it out there...
Between learning, dancing, learning, and more dancing it quickly became 10:30 pm. After a quick recap of the day, Marina dismissed us all to get home, sit on ice packs, and hopefully get some sleep for another big day tomorrow.
Ah, sleep; something that I should probably get to myself. So good night for now, and Boston, you can rest assured that there are 42 women busting their butts over the next few days to make the team that has the privilege of carrying the Celtics name.
Wish us luck as we continue to endure the dance hazing with grace and style. Maybe instead of dreaming about Celtics "sororities" I'll have sweet dreams about a list of names being read as the curtain closes on Thursday night.