Contemporary dance graduate Jana Castillo has been auditioning for dance companies in New York

“Just thought I would give you an update on my adventures in New York. I have been here over a month now and have seen shows ranging from ABT and NCB to Streb – the most physical company I have ever seen, the girls look like swimmers!

I have been doing as many auditions as I can get into. All I can say to NZSD dancers is make sure you have the basics in your body and know how to perform even the very simple movements… Complexions did 3 exercises on pointe. At Paul Taylor it started with walking and one exercise before he made the first cut. As the rounds went on it became more complicated, I made it from 400 girls to 35. Parsons was plies and rises, endless contractions, double attitude tours ending in forced arches, and did I mention contractions? Parsons was 250 women and I made it down to the last round. I have even done Legally Blonde auditions where I made it from 400 girls down to 10!

The common issue that I encounter is that due to the current economic situation companies just don’t have enough funds to support international dancers. In some cases you are not even able to audition if you don’t hold a green card. I have had fantastic feedback from choreographers but it all ends in “it is such a shame you don’t have a green card otherwise I would hire you”. I have been informed about the possibility to apply for an artist visa, so am working on that but as you know these things can take time.

On the lighter side, NY is fantastic at holding week long workshops, which provides an opportunity to get to know different choreographers. Stephen Petronio’s choreography is amazing to dance and his dancers are stunning. I have found myself ushering for the Joyce which is a great way to see shows for free. I have also been doing classes with Mark Morris and next week am starting an intensive with Trisha Brown.

I am really loving being in New York it is an amazing city and I am learning so much. Thinking of you all.