Stars, they’re just like us, right? It’s true! If you’ve ever messed up during a convention scholarship audition or you blanked at the barre during a summer intensive placement class, you’re not alone! The pros have been there, too, and they’ve lived to tell — and learn from — their tales. Take it from tapper and Syncopated Ladies dancer Maud Arnold, who learned the hard way how to handle harsh criticism, and used it to become a happier, healthier dancer.
Another highlight of 2016 was #tapInRio !! I got to share my FAV City in the world with some of my favorite people doing what I love! TODAY- is also the 5th Day of Kwanzaa, "Nia" which means purpose. I ponder my purpose a lot and try to make sure that everything I do is motivated by a loving and positive purpose. Thankful that I feel surrounded by love and am inspired to share love ALWAYS, ALL OF THE TIME! Live on purpose! Love on purpose! Grateful on purpose! #nia #kwanzaa #2016Highlights #brazil #happiness #love #loveWins
I was 19, a sophomore in college in New York City, and I was visiting my sister, Chloé, in Los Angeles for the summer. An audition for a movie came up, and they were looking for tap dancers, so I went with Chloé and a few of our friends. During the audition, I got called out by the choreographer to demonstrate the step. At that point, in my mind, I was thinking, “I booked this!” Well, I was wrong.
After he made cuts, he lined up all the remaining ladies to look at us. When he passed by me, he stopped, looked me up and down, and then made a face of disgust and asked, “What are you wearing? How do you show up to an audition like this? You need to lose weight! What is this [as he pointed to my stomach]?!” I was in shock. Clearly I knew the dance, I was good, and I thought I looked fine. But I got cut.
When I got back to school in the fall, I thought about my body. I was happy with it! I spoke to Chloé about it, and we laughed it off. But the truth was, I wasn’t in my best physical shape. I was eating shrimp fried rice at 2 am every night! That wasn’t healthy, and I eventually decided I wanted to start working out, eating better, and toning up.
#Repost @chloearnoldtaps *** Wow! When I started @columbia, my dreams seemed so far away, and so "unrealistic" to many. All I can say is #thankyou to all the believers #NeverGiveUp ❤️ LINK IN BIO _____________________________________ 2 sisters out of DC #DMV Ivy League Grads #Columbia Professional Tap dancers #Artists Business Women #entrepreneurs #DC #NY #LA ______________________________ #Wcw my awesome sister and teammate @chloearnoldtaps #priceless Thank you SO much @columbia magazine for featuring us and #paulHond for such a beautifully written story. Thanks @Cuerpaso for making us ivy league bound. link in bio! #tapdance #columbia #ivyleague #blackIvyLeague #alumni #college #dance #tap #tapdance #choreographer #love #thankful #sisters #sister #family #newyork
I signed up for a workout class at Columbia and got to work. A year and a half later, I was walking down the street in NYC and saw the same choreographer from that fateful audition. He recognized me, and was excited to see me. He immediately said, “Wow, you look amazing! I’d love to hire you for something coming up.” He did, and we still work together to this day.
There are many lessons to be learned from this story — several of which I still take with me in auditions today.
- Ask yourself if you’re happy with your body. That’s the most important thing.
- As a dancer, we’re athletes. NBA players don’t get lazy if they want to perform at their maximum potential, and neither can dancers. Our bodies are so important, and we need to take care of them.
- An audition today could get you a job five months — or five years — down the line.
- Leave it in the room. Choreographers and directors have their own aesthetic. Not everyone is going to love you. Don’t let other peoples’ opinions change your opinion of yourself.
- Be healthy! A healthy body and mind are a happy body and mind.
- Don’t give up.