I try to treat my mum to a surprise on Mother’s Day, but this year she may have to accept something a little less imaginative from me as it falls on the very same day that my year group will be attending our final audition for a coveted 1st Year place at The Royal Ballet Upper School in Covent Garden.
Places are limited and numbers going through from White Lodge, particularly girls, traditionally range from one-third to about fifty percent of the class. We will be competing against the very best of students from around the world. There are thought to be almost 40 girls auditioning on Sunday and it is understood that several places in 1st Year are already taken by exceptional finalists from competitions such as the ‘Prix de Lausanne’.
The 14 girls in my year will have an early start. We leave White Lodge at 8am Sunday morning, travelling by coach to Floral Street, Covent Garden. Arriving at about 8.45am we have about 45 minutes to prepare and warm-up before the Director and Senior Staff formally welcome students and parents in the De Valois Studio.
Then starts our lengthy audition class that will run from 10.00am until 12.30pm. With a number pinned to our leotard, we will start with a warm up at the barre followed by centre practice and pointe work in small groups in front of the judiciary panel.
Afterwards we must wait for the boys to finish their audition class at 3.00pm. I asked my mum to spend the afternoon with me and will do my best to be good company, but I will be anxiously waiting for a possible recall class!
At 3.20pm all auditionees must return to the Linden Studio in dancewear and warmed-up in case we are ‘called back’. This would mean the Judges want to see you re-do anything they missed or are unsure about. I remember that I was called back at my White Lodge final audition five years ago.
Fingers crossed that I will have some good news to share next week so that my mum can be proud.