Lauren just finished her rookie season. A native of Detroit, Michigan, she's a registered nurse. In her Q&A with 5 Points Blue, she shares advice for auditions that happens to involve the number 5.
Lauren: "If you want a real piece of practical advice, I'll share something that I did which sounds kind of lame, but it was very helpful.
"Prior to auditions, I wrote down Five Things that make me feel proud of myself. These are things that I can look back upon with pride so that, no matter how many times I got discouraged, I could look at my list. No matter how tempted I was to compare myself to the other girls, I went back to my list.
"Here's what happens during auditions. You look at the other girls and think, 'Oh, they have better hair, have better kicks, they have better turns'. But if you have your written list, you can look at the list and think, 'They make have better turns and maybe someday I can learn to do that, but I'm so proud of myself for this, I'm so proud of myself for that'.
"The list made me feel more confident. It allowed me something tangible, something I could hold on to, so that every time I got into the mindset of comparing myself to others, I had a reference to get myself re-focused.
"Everybody at the audition is beautiful. Everybody is a good dancer. Everybody is there to do the same thing: win a spot on the team. So having something tangible can help bring you back to a place where you feel proud. For me, it was the written list which I kept tucked in my bag during each round of auditions. After successfully making it through three rounds, I took the same list with me to practice every night of DCC Training Camp. Every time I felt discouraged, every time I thought 'This is my last night of camp because I'm to get cut', I looked at my list.
"If I messed up a dance or my kicks weren't so good, I'd glance at the list. And here's where it really helped at camp: when I looked at the veterans, instead of looking at them with envy, I looked at them with admiration. Instead of feeling jealous, I thought, 'I wonder if she can teach me how to do that one day?' That is a much better mindset than, 'Oh dang, I wish I could be like that!' It allowed for strong friendships, more honest and genuine relationships. That's better than thinking, 'Oh dang it, she's going to make the team and I'm not!'
5PB: It sounds like you've found a great way to navigate that line of "cooperation" alongside "competition". There are only so many spots on the team, so it's very competitive. But you've all got to get along with each other. Did you have that kind of understanding the first time you auditioned? Fans who see you on the sideline would be surprised to know you had to come back a second time before you made the team.
Lauren: "The audition process isn't just, 'How high can you kick?' It's not just how you look on the football field. It's about who you are as a person. The judges are looking for good people who will be good teammates and carry the DCC sisterhood forward. Being a good DCC is not only about what fans see on the field, it's also how you represent yourself and the team off-the-field.
"It's all about how you treat people. So, if you're at auditions and the girl next to you is wearing ballet tights, it's up to you to say, 'Hey, I've got an extra pair of tights in my bag, take these'. It's more important to help a potential new teammate than to keep something for yourself. It's about helping other people and that's how you build friendships.
"You can use the football team as an analogy. The players in the offseason and training camp are competing for spots on the final roster. In football, every player on the Dallas Cowboys' roster has a specific role on the team. A linebacker may not have the same skills as a receiver. A long snapper may not be a good linebacker. But each player has a role that complements his teammates. Each player is there for a purpose and their combined skill sets comprise the 'team'.
"It's the exact same thing with the DCC. Fans don't see it because we're not assigned a roster position like a football player, but each of us has our own role. We each have a reason for why we made the team.
"If you're at auditions and you look at the girl across the room and think, 'I'm going to try to be like her and do what she does', please don't do that. Don't compare yourself. She's there and has a role she can fill with her strengths. You have a different role to fill with your strengths.
"DON'T BE A SECOND-RATE VERSION OF SOMEBODY ELSE! That other girl is already great at what she does. YOU HAVE TO BE GREAT AT BEING YOU!
"What do you have that is special? Bring that. Stay true to that. You never know what the team is going to need that year. BRING SOMETHING UNIQUE. BRING YOURSELF."