Just a quick post about my experience dancing my life away with the one and only, ethereal goddess from the heavens, JULIANNE HOUGH aka the best day of my life!!!
So if you kept up with my blog ( Manifest? What’s that? )you’d know that last week, I was in LA auditioning to be a trainer for Julianne Hough’s new method of movement. This blog is an update on that experience.
When I first arrived to the dance complex in the Hollywood hills that the invitation told us to go to, I pretty much immediately found a bathroom because I was so nervous/excited/had been driving and just needed to pee. After a quick pee and a couple slow long breaths to myself while sitting on the toilet, I found the room that all of the other pretty, young, fit instructors were standing in. (talk about INTIMIDATING!!!) It was only a couple of minutes later when a women about my age with a very official clipboard in her hand, came to tell us that the invitation had “accidentally” given us the wrong address and we were told to go to a second location. (In my head, **”There’s no way they screwed this up!! This is totally an old Hollywood trick so that they don’t get randoms who weren’t invited to show up!!**- and I was right!)
I offered to drive a couple of girls who had taken Ubers there, and about 20 minutes later, we had found the new location. When we arrived inside, and there were black plaques with “Julianna Hough. Expanded Fitness” all over the place, and I knew this was the place it was meant to be all along. Walking into the courtyard, there was so much going on. From signing waivers, to getting our pictures taken, to video cameras asking us questions, and meeting all of the other girls, there was so much excitement and energy. All my body wanted to do was move because it had so much nervous tension inside of it. In the midst of all of this excitement, Julianne made her casual appearance by just showing up in the line and quickly saying hi’s and hello’s. Until this point, I wasn’t even sure if she was going to be at the auditions, so this was a hugely pleasant surprise!! She was kind of awkwardly touching us giving us “love”, so I went ahead and just said, “I want a real hug!” which she gladly accepted. (Such a “me” thing to do.) I had told myself that if I saw her, I would treat her no differently than anyone else because she’s still just a person, and people are just people.
When we were waiting for everyone to finish signing in, I used the time as a chance to talk to Julianne as her and 2 other girls were just standing in an open room chatting. I went up and asked her if 1. this was a staged location change which she confessed a yes to with a laugh 2. how many people were going to be at the auditions- about 60 and 3. how many people had applied- over 2,000!! I was in shock! Humbled and grateful that I was SOMEHOW there, among 60 girls, as a YOGA teacher (not a dancer) at these movement auditions!!! Following up from that, she then went on to tell me that she remembered my video, and how she thought it was so cute and funny!! (If you ask me in person I will show you but I won’t post because too embarrassing haha. I may have done the chicken at one point) I was amazed that she even knew who I was! #I’mseen
Once everyone had checked in, we were taken through a movement meditation where we were to dance like the elements (earth, fire, wind, water) to warm up and get us in touch with our bodies. This beginning movement meditation was maybe my favorite part. Slow music, eyes closed, and Julianne’s voice leading us through each element. Can you say, FREEE EXPRESSION!? Because that’s exactly what it was. It was SO amazing to be surrounded by a roomful of people who not only love movement as much as I do, but love sharing it with their voice, and are taking feasible steps to make real change in this world. There were lots of tears that came out at this point. It felt like everything in my life had lead me up to this point, and I was exactly where I needed to be, no matter what the outcome was. If I had only done this part of the day, I would have been satisfied.
After the movement meditation, I needed to go move my car, which was possibly to worst part of the day because when I came back, I had already missed the first time through learning the sequence she was teaching!!! I was mortified. Other girls were still trickling in, but I know myself, and know it takes me A LONG time to learn choreography, and was so bummed that I wasn’t there the first time she taught it. From missing it, my mind immediately went into “uh oh” mode, thinking I was then at a disadvantage and doubt started creeping in. We practiced it for a decent amount of time (enough time for me to get a blood blister on my toe) and I eventually kind of got the hang of the sequence, but never felt 100% confident in it. I put myself into this box that told myself, “Dani, you’re terrible at choreography and whenever you have to do it, you get in your head, and lose the ability to freely express.” Which is totally true if I think that way!!
After we practiced, the auditions began. We were separated into groups of 4 where we had to do an 8 count FREE SOLO, and then do the dance together with the other 3 people, once in a line, and then once in a circle. When I was waiting for my group to go, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I had so much energy and adrenaline pumping through my body, that I was struggling to just breathe.
When my group finally went, I was up first for the solo. I pretty much just freaked out in every which way I could haha. I did a handstand to maybe splits, waved my arms and hips, pounded the ground, did the chicken (as a reminder of my vid) and just tried to express my body as freely as possibly. Honestly I kind of blacked out… but the other girls said I looked awesome and that I was “shining bright” up there!! And I did feel like it. I was beaming! I had fun, and that’s what mattered the most. And when I was up there, I could breath. When I was moving, I could finally calm down. What hurt my audition, was when I had to do the choreographed dance. I knew I messed up. I think our whole group kind of did. We were off on the counts, forgot some moves, and basically just kind of made up some stuff that was similar to what we were supposed to do. But I knew it didn’t look good. And I knew this was why I didn’t make it to the next round.
After all of the groups of 4 had gone, we had one last big fun magical dance party/ group hug and then all stood in a circle holding hands (I shit you not, this actually happened). Then Julianne comes into our circle (right next to me!!) and we all do this energy exchange of squeezing each others hands. Then Julianne starts this “I love you” thing where we all have to tell the person on our left that we love them, one at a time. We go all the way around the circle, and then I am the one that has to tell Julianne Hough that I love her!! It was surreal. I was like, “I’m actually telling Julianne Hough that I love her, eye to eye, in a room full of people watching?” WTF is life. It was pretty cool. She’s like my biggest idol and it’s not every day you can tell your idol that you love her.
After this is when the room was divided in half, and my half was taken into another room to be told by her that we didn’t make the cut:( I was sad, but at the same time, also not. I was like still smiling from the day, even when she told us that we didn’t make it to the next round. She made us all feel so worthy that it didn’t even matter. It was what was supposed to happen and I was still learning from this experience no matter what. She told us that this wouldn’t be the end completely and we still might be involved with her future events, so keep our eyes peeled for her staff!! (**fingers crossed!**) I learned that only 10 girls from the 30 that made it to the next round were chosen, so HUGE congrats to those girls!!
All in all, it’s slightly disappointing to not be chosen, but it really was the coolest thing in the world to have Julianne Hough actually see me, like really really see me, dance with us for hours, and actually BE who she appears to be on social media and on TV. She really did live up to her expectation and I feel so honored to have been one of those 60 girls at the auditions! Every experience is a stepping stone to something else, so who knows what else is in store for me! I’m just going to keep doing what feels right 🙂
Sorry, guess that wasn’t necessarily “quick”.