Like so many other things that have gone virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange Coast College dance team held its auditions online this semester in hopes of finding new dancers to join the award-winning team.
Brittanee Roberts, head coach of OCC’s dance team, said she had prospective dancers go through three rounds of tryouts. With over 80 people auditioning and seven veterans returning, she had to make sure to carefully assess each dancer.
According to Roberts, the dancers had to submit a video introducing themselves and then record them performing the many technical skills that it takes to be on the OCC dance team. They then had to learn three dances, the traditional OCC fight song, a contemporary jazz routine, and a pom routine.
The last round of auditions is an interview where prospective dancers have to answer multiple questions based on the tryout packet they filled out and the recommendation letters they received.
However, virtual auditions do come with complications.
“Unfortunately we are never going to get a full grasp of technique and showmanship virtually because technically they can record themselves as many times as they need,” Roberts said. “But with my training in dance I am able to tell if it was just luck or if they have the correct technique.”
Despite the challenges of not being able to fully see an athlete’s dancing abilities, Roberts sees this as a learning opportunity.
“The benefit was it pushed us to change the way we normally do things,” Roberts said. “We were able to learn and grow for the better through this experience.”
With 38 people trying out for cheer and 42 dancers auditioning for dance, the OCC cheer and dance squad has welcomed 51 dancers and cheerleaders to their program.
Dance competitions have also had to adapt to the pandemic prohibiting gatherings of large crowds and are forced to find new ways to stay afloat.
Many dance competitions like Kids Artistic Revue, Impact Dance Adjudicators and Elite Performance Challenge have gone virtual so dance studios still get a chance to compete.
The competitions obviously can’t hold an actual in-person event, so instead they require dance studios to submit a video of their dances from a performance, recital or competition before the quarantine hit.
After dance studios submit their entries, a panel of judges will evaluate the dances like a normal dance competition would.
Although many dance competitions are doing the best that they can during this pandemic, for seniors who are graduating, they are missing out on the events they have been waiting for their entire lives.
Julia Bixby, a 17-year-old senior, is having a hard time enjoying her lasts.
“Although I understand what dance competitions are doing, there is no comparison to the feeling of dancing on stage,” Bixby said.
Bixby added that as a senior it’s hard, especially when a dancer like herself grew up with a particular studio. She has to miss out on many things that come as a senior like recitals, nationals and performances.