Reflection on the process with DeAndra Stone
By: Trinity Stevens
Each academic year the Cleveland State University dance program welcomes new dancers into its Viking Dance Group and the CSU Dance Company, as well as gives out several departmental scholarships. Auditions are held each spring to determine these things; however, those auditions have looked a little different recently.
Taking place over Zoom, dancers had to prepare a piece of choreography by guest artist Antonio Brown and a work of their own. According to the Assistant to the Director of Dance, DeAndra Stone, the audition process can be a valuable experience for student dancers.
Speaking about the students learning a phrase of Brown’s choreography, Stone states, “Having a phrase from Antonio Brown is two-fold: it allows dancers a ‘glimpse’ into some of the expectations of being enrolled in our upper division courses; and knowing they have the opportunity to learn from and with a guest artist! Knowing that Antonio Brown began his dance experience right here in Cleveland before forming his own dance company is also rather inspiring.”
Those auditioning included dancers already a part of the dance program, but also new incoming freshmen. So, having dancers create a movement phrase of their own allowed faculty to get to know these students better.
Regarding this portion of the audition, Stone remarked, “Dancing solo, and having to create your own piece, taps into vulnerability, personal space, and that creative realm. Dancers look forward to really ‘showcasing’ a piece of who they are and what dance means to them.”
The purpose of the audition for the department is it allows them to see if the student will be a good fit for what they are auditioning for. Stone also states that, “along with this, the audition panel is able to further assess technical background which assists in placement.”
While a Zoom audition process may sound hindering, it came with some unforeseen benefits. Stone states that, “For CSU’s Dance Program’s recent Zoom audition, we were also able to have the opportunity to meet and talk with interested dancers.”
For more information about the Cleveland State University Dance Program and CSU Dance Company, please visit their website.