By Claire Salinas
In the capital city, the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre has made fine art accessible to all. Signature productions like The Nutcracker: A Tale From the Bayou and vibrant seasons with wide casts of dancers invite experts and casual art fans alike to enjoy a taste of culture, and they’re looking to involve even more performers soon.
In search of fresh talent with stellar technique and stage presence, BRBT is holding auditions for their 2015-2016 season. According to Director of Development and Communications Christy Benoit, the ability to reach and enthrall a crowd defines a winning candidate.
“Presence plays a huge role, and it’s something the artistic directors are looking for, that ability to really shine onstage and look like you enjoy dance,” said Christy Benoit. “Everyone who does this, they sacrifice a lot, and we’re kind of like a little family in the ballet, so having that positive attitude and really liking what you do goes a long way.”
The company is currently looking for dancers, at both the intermediate and advanced levels. The audition will be held as a classical ballet class, and all females must to dance on pointe during the audition and throughout the season.
“It starts with a warm up at the barre, coming to center and then they’ll do some progressions across the floor,” said Benoit. “The corps de ballet is really about their ability to dance together and kind of be in unison, so that’s one reason the auditions are done this way. The artistic directors will be there to watch everyone and judge their technique.”
When it comes to selecting dancers, the artistic directors are not only looking for the best talent but also people who fit certain roles.
“They talk about what dancers would be strongest in what roles,” said Benoit. “One of the major things our company dancers do is dance the featured roles in the corps de ballet roles in the Nutcracker, so that’s a discussion the artistic directors have.”
The commitment level required to be part of the company is high, but corps members do it for the love of dance.
“A lot of them are taking class several days a week, so they’re in class five or six times a week, and that’s in addition to any rehearsals they have,” said Benoit. “It’s definitely a big commitment for these dancers, but every one of them loves to do it, so it’s kind of a labor of love for all of them.”
Auditions for the 2015-2016 season will be held Saturday, Aug. 15, at 10:30 a.m. at the Dancers’ Workshop, located at 10745 Linkwood Ct.
The audition process will be an hour and a half, and Benoit suggests arriving 10 to 15 minutes before auditions starts in order to turn in paperwork and warm up. There is a $10 audition fee, which can be paid onsite.
Attire for females is leotards and tights with hair secured in a bun, and males should plan to wear white t-shirts and black tights, black gym shorts or something they can easily move around in, with hair pulled back, out of their face.
Dancers who audition should also know that the mission of the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre is to “promote both classical and contemporary dance,” said Benoit.
“We do community outreach; we bring dancers into schools, and we have a youth ballet program in which young dancers from around the city perform at nursing homes and libraries,” said Benoit. “Everything we make through ticket sales, donations and sponsoring goes right back into our programming. Our goal is to educate people about dance and to share the beauty and artistry of it.”