July 24, 2012

Who's Who in the Audience?

After thinking how nerve-racking it would be to audition, not only in front of the big-wigs like Judy Thomas, Karen Kresge and Sylvia Froescher for the ProSkaters Live Auditions, but anyone else that wanted to dial-in, I wanted to explain that audience members are not all alike.

Judges of any kind can be scary and intimidating, so it is crucial to perform your best for an audition.

But after the audition, the performance, night after night in some cases, is crucial too.

The worst critics in your audience are (after bypassing total, random strangers) in ascending order are:

Mothers and close family members
These are the people you want to skate well for, but let's face it, your mother has seen or knows about your three or four clean run-throughs that preceded the knuckle-biting bomb of a performance you just did. They will still love you and believe in you, and watch more practices until you get it right.

Significant Others/More-Than-Date-Potential People
These folks have many of the same characteristics as the first group mentioned (e.g. seeing the clean run-throughs or sitting around for the practices afterward) but they are not related by blood, and may not understand how scary it is to perform. Still, they will usually be kinder and more informed than ...

Important Teachers/Professors/Neighbors/Bosses etc. Not in a Performance-Related Field
This is someone you want to impress with your skating chops, perhaps to explain why you needed the early morning shift off from waiting tables, and will know little to nothing about skating. So it will be harder for them to be sympathetic to your less-than stellar performance like friends or family. Plus, they won't understand that falling on a double-lutz or triple-loop is somehow more commendable than only attempting three separate double-toe loops and throwing in a second, time-filling, unnecessary spiral to save energy.

But you know who will know this ... and they are the scariest critics in the audience.

Fellow Figure Skaters
Let's face it, they may not be rooting for you to sail through your program error free. In fact, they might be hoping you fall to therefore, make them a better skater. Kind of like, for every action there's a reaction.

And, they know a double-lutz or triple-loop is much harder than a double-toe loop, but if you fall on it, they know you haven't mastered the jump yet and your program defaults to the hardest jump that you did.

For example, the female principal who performed less-than well in Holiday On Ice's Speed, had style and grace galore. Truly star quality. But she fell down SPLAT! on her double-axel (yes there is a difference in how you fall in ice shows ... and I'll have to write a post on that someday) leaving only a double-toe loop for her credentials. That wouldn't get her into the chorus of a cruise ship show, let alone a principal.

But mistakes can happen. Sometimes the bigger shows would fine you for such mistakes, leaving the incentive not to do it again.

I don't know how her other performances have gone since, but I've challenged her ability and just proved the point that skaters (former skaters too) can be the harshest critics in any audience.

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