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What It Takes To Land A Gig As A Grammys Backup Dancer

To some people, the life of a professional dancer must seem rather simple. They think you wake up, take classes, rehearse, perform and that's it. But in reality there is so much that goes into not only being a professional dancer, but the entire behind-the-scenes prep of any show, especially a show like the Grammys.

Life as a dancer definitely varies from day-to-day. If I am not preparing for a show or booked on a gig, I’m teaching workshops and private class sessions, I’m working out and stretching, and taking classes myself. I also look up YouTube workout videos or have a session with a trainer once or twice a week to maintain my figure. You are always growing and learning even if you are not working.

However, when I’m preparing for a show … my schedule goes absolutely crazy. In most cases, you put everything else on hold to concentrate on the gig ahead. Well, you try to do that. I always end up stuck trying to fit in my rehearsal schedules, stage prep, costume fittings, teaching, auditions and workouts all into a 24-hour day. It can quickly get very hectic and very tiring, but somehow I’ve learned to make it work without adding extra stress in order to prepare for the process that waits ahead of me … auditioning!

The audition process for any show can be kind of nerve-racking no matter how long you have been dancing or auditioning. So I always try to stay in a clear and positive frame of mind so that I am mentally prepared.

Here’s the scene: You walk into a room, head shot and resume in hand, sign in and see so many -- sometimes hundreds -- of dancers all auditioning for the same artist and show that you are. You receive a number and then wait in a holding room till your number is called. Once you’re called, you are taught all of the choreography in 15 to 20 minutes. You are then put into smaller groups, normally of five dancers, and asked to perform everything you were just taught.

You do this in front of a table filled with people who will be deciding if you make the cut.

You may have to do the process all over again -- this time learning a little more choreography and going in smaller groups. More sitting and waiting. Finally, they make another cut, or your agent calls, letting you know you made it and have been officially booked.

Sounds kind of stressful and nerve-racking, right? Right!

Even though you typically work repeatedly with the same artists or choreographers, no matter how many times I go through the process, it always makes my palms a bit sweaty and a little nervous.

With all of the prep that goes on behind-the-scenes to produce shows like the Grammys, it’s really hard as an individual to find a balance. From the eight to 12-hour-plus rehearsals for the dancers and the artists, to the meetings about costumes, wardrobe, hair, and makeup, it is a long and tedious process -- and all that has to happen before we can even attempt to run a complete show from start to finish.

The day of the show is usually just as crazy. The early call times to rehearse and camera block on the stage with lighting so that the performance can be just right, to having so many hairstylists and makeup artists to accommodate all of the dancers … you can only imagine the amount of running around that’s going on.

Once everything is over and the show is finally done, of course we normally head out with the crew to celebrate, maybe even to the event’s official after-party. If not, we will just meet up after the show to go hang out and enjoy a few drinks around great company. It’s a great way to sit back and relax after the busyness of the day ... at least until the next show.

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