Photo by Kevin Patterson

When I went to see 42nd Street at The Coronado Playhouse back in February, I started to dream of dancing on stage again. I told myself that it was a fanciful notion, that I’m too old and it’s been too long, but my friends were so supportive and encouraging that I found myself hoping I might find a way to participate in community theater again.

My sister didn’t push, but she did send me a link to a website that listed auditions in my area, so I couldn’t use the excuse that I wasn’t plugged in to the community. I checked the page from time to time, but I got busy and forgot about it. Then I heard a few people at my dance studio talking about being cast in Fiddler on the Roof. I’d missed an opportunity because I wasn’t paying attention.

Not long after that, though, I heard about another audition. This time it wasn’t for a musical, but for a tap dance company.  The California Rhythm Project was looking for new dancers and they’d scheduled an open audition for the following week. My stomach flipped and my joints started to quiver. I felt a goofy grin creep onto my face. Was this my chance?

I drove home from the dance studio imagining being a part of a tap company again, something I hadn’t done since the year I taught English in France twenty years ago. Did I still have the energy and the brain power to learn a repertoire? Was I even good enough.

The day of the audition, I tried to convince myself it was just going to be a lark. I’d do my best and que sera sera. Then, I got to the studio, filled out the audition form and wrote my name on a tag. My stomach knotted and I had to force myself to breathe. I was shaky on my feet, but I felt better once we were all called into the studio to start learning the combination. We began slowly, then added music and sped things up. No problem, I had it.

We were split into groups and I was in the first one. Not so bad. It would be good to get it over with. The music started and my mind went blank. Somehow, I faked my way through the first few steps, got the combination back and fumbled my way to the end.


I found myself at the edge of the room watching the next group perform the steps and I realized that I’d completely forgotten to smile. My heart pounded painfully as I watched everyone else dance, all the while kicking myself for having let my nerves get the better of me.

They promised to let us know by the end of the week and I dreaded that phone call. My husband and I had plans to go visit my parents, so I focused on preparing for the trip and tried to forget about everything else. On the morning we left town, I found an e-mail in my inbox. Much to my amazement, I was in! I guess my audition wasn’t as bad as I thought. Bruce reminded me that I’m my own worst critic.

Now I’m caught up in rehearsals for a Labor Day weekend performance.  I’m thrilled to be a part of The California Rhythm Project, getting ready to perform again for the first time since 1993. I’m nervous, of course, and afraid that I’ll get onstage and choke, but with four rehearsals a week, I should be able to do the steps in my sleep.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that all of this extra dancing is charging up my creativity.  I’m more excited about writing than ever, so maybe having less time to write will turn out to be a good thing after all.


Filed under Creativity, Dance, tap dance, Theater, Writing

45 responses to “Audition!

  1. Brava Shary! I am looking forward to hearing more! What an inspiring story!

  2. I agree with Kim above, inspiring is the word! I love reading about creatives with multiple muses, and I really love people returning to one of those muses after an absence. This would have been a great story even if you didn’t make it, but I’m so glad you did.

    • Isn’t it wonderful how art stimulates the creative brain! I suppose it could have been a good story even if it had a different outcome, but I probably wouldn’t have told it – at least not right away. I’m very glad things turned out the way they did, too.

  3. Shary, What wonderful, exciting news! Congratulations! Must be such a thrill for you! I’m so, so happy for you! 🙂

  4. That’s fantastic! Congratulations!

  5. Anita

    Wonderful, Shary! I’m so glad you’re doing this….see you soon. I have news, too…

  6. What an incredible achievement! Happy for you!

  7. Fantastic! Will they sell videos of your performance or should I start looking for inexpensive airfare?

    • Thank you, dear sister… my 2nd biggest fan (after Mom.) The theater is tiny, so by the time you found a flight, the seats would all be gone. I’m sure there will be a video you can watch if you really want to.

  8. Congratulations! Such wonderful news, and also wonderful in that you put yourself out there and have the fabulous opportunity and increased creativity for your writing, too. Inspirational!

  9. I am a little too late commenting here, but what an achievement!!!! Congrats!

  10. Fabulous! I am so stinking proud of you, Shary! Any chance hubby could video a rehearsal and you could stick it on your blog? Well, it was a thought…

  11. Shary,

    This is so exciting! We can’t wait to hear more about this! You have a smart and supportive husband,

    Bella and DiDi

  12. Dance like music lives in you forever.. It’s the poetry our bodies perform long after we believe we know longer have the steps. An inspiring blog that makes me want to go and lace up my pointe shoes 🙂

  13. Congratulations! I am so proud of you for having the courage to get out there… and hope the proof that you are strong, talented and timeless makes you smile 🙂

  14. This is SO exciting, Shary. I’m so happy for you and proud of you for setting the fear aside. When Julia Munroe Martin did a guest post on my blog, several people indicated how other kinds of creative endeavors – including dancing – could ignite the writing. SO cool to know it worked for you.

    I’m like you, too – the busier I am, the more writing/more productive I seem to be. Is that human nature?

    • Thanks, Melissa! I really connected with Julia’s guest post. It’s scary when we lose our writing mojo and it’s such a relief to know there are ways to fire ourselves up again, whether it’s through some other genre of art like photography or dance, or even a favorite writing book or exercise.

      I wonder if it is human nature to be productive when there are more demands on our time. Maybe it isn’t true for everyone, but when I’m busy doing things that are important to me, I feel a sense of purpose that gives me energy. I’m not opposed to relaxing or taking vacations. In small doses, having extra time and mental space helps my imagination wander, but too much time on my hands opens the door for brooding which kills my creativity.

  15. Congratulations Shary! That takes a lot of courage to push through nerves and doubts and go after what you want. How awesome! Enjoy! Look forward to hearing more about it.

    • Thank you! Now that I’m in rehearsals, my nerves have settled and it’s dance, dance, dance. I love it! But when we get closer to the performance, I’m sure I’ll have to practice some deep breathing exercises to stay calm. 🙂

  16. Hi Shary, I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. I appreciate your posts on the writing journey as well as your love of dance. Two of my favorites as well. If you’re interested in the award, come on over to

    • Thanks, Marney! It’s great being able to share the things we love. I’m inspired by your blog, too. My volunteer efforts are close to home, but they’re a very important part of my week. I really admire the work that you’re doing for the A21 campaign.

  17. Shary, this is fantastic news — congratulations! I recently read a quote about “hiding from your truth” (which is where distorted thinking threatens to take over and becomes our reality — aka “own worst critic syndrome” — I can relate…) The truth is… you’re a dancer AND a writer. Sooooo glad you’ve let your other love come out to play!

    My other love is music (piano in particular) and I’ve experienced the same thing… the more I play, the more I write! If tapping on stage leads to tapping on your keyboard, well… I think it’s time for some rings on your fingers and bells on your toes! 🙂

    • I like the idea of letting my creative inclinations “come out to play.” Sometimes I get caught up in my self-imposed deadlines and that pressure along with the “own worst critic syndrome” takes the fun out of it. Today, I’m going to play at writing instead of working at it. Thanks!

  18. Shary, congratulations! How utterly exciting to be a part of something you love! You wait and see, my friend, you will thrive in no time! I can hear your tap shoes tapping already. Lola must be excited as well! After all, she’s a dancer too! hee hee! This post serves to remind us that it’s never too late to return to something you love. I can’t wait to hear more developments regarding your rehearsals and performance! 🙂

    • Thanks, Bella! Lola is definitely excited about my dancing and, of course, she wants to participate. When I practice at home, she brings her toys over and shoves them at my feet so she can play, too.

  19. Oh, congratulations! I love that you went after this dream – so what it’s all about, isn’t it?

    {Hooray for you!}