Artists face tests of audition season; Testing: In September, arts organizations and performers in Howard County go through the seasonal agony of tryouts.


Auditions tend to inspire their own category of tired cliches. The proverbial lump in the throat. The butterflies dancing in the stomach. The knock-knock-knocking of the knees.

The problem with cliches is that they're often true, and if you're the one auditioning for a play, an orchestra or a dance company, the platitudes begin to pile up fast.

'Try to have fun'

Eva Anderson, founder of Eva Anderson Dancers LTD in Columbia, says auditions are like little tests. Can you project an emotion or a feeling? Does the person attack a movement or the material? What have those auditioning chosen to perform and does it fit them?

Her advice: Pick something you do best that shows all of your tricks. Take your time, breathe and try to have fun.

"It's hard, though, when someone comes in and does a fantastic job and you can't take them," adds Jason Love, conductor of the Columbia Orchestra. "And it becomes really difficult when it's people's incomes and their professional careers that you're dealing with. It's not so easy to be sort of matter-of-fact about it then.

"Sometimes, you've got your fingers crossed under the table for them," Love says.

Once in a while, Anderson says, "you get a chance to see a really talented person, someone who takes your breath away. You can almost live for that."

Well, almost. Many times, the best thing about an audition is that it has an end, until the next performance season ambles along and the whole scary process starts again.

"Our next big show in the spring is 'The King and I,' " Orenstein says. "That means kids and dancers and singers. I'll probably see 150 kids -- one kid every two minutes. I think I'll wanna die."

Pub Date: 9/23/99

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