I did it! I booked my first job since moving to Atlanta! I danced at the BET Awards with Chloe Bailey. How lucky and grateful I am to have been a part of such an iconic and amazing performance?! One goal of mine finally accomplished! A FREAKING AWARDS SHOW! Wow.
How I booked it:
I actually booked this job off of a class with Cortland (the choreographer). I had taken his class once before and didn’t think he remembered me at all. After my first class with him he told me, “Why are you hiding in the back? YOU shouldn’t be hiding back there.” I said my thank you and that was that. When I found out he was teaching again, I wanted to go to his class and make sure I proved myself to him and show him I could apply the “correction” of what he said but the class ended up selling out a few days prior. Usually I’m pretty good at signing up for class ahead of time but my sister was in town and it didn’t cross my mind. When I found out it was sold out I was so upset. Needless to say, I almost didn’t get to go to class but luckily, I was able to squeeze in at the last second. (THANKFULLY!) The class wasn’t in an “audition” format, we just learned a combo and ran groups like we always do in class. However, in this class, he ended up telling about 10 or 11 girls to talk to his manager so he could get our information. A few days later, I got a message from him asking to leave my schedule open and it just progressed from there. :) Moral of the story - class is SO important. You never know what classes could lead to what. Train, show up for yourself, put the time in, work hard. I’m so grateful it worked out.
We actually only rehearsed for a week. Literally a week. We started sessions on Friday the 17th. We had sessions Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sessions are basically “unofficial” rehearsals for Cortland to come up with and set choreography. They weren’t mandatory but pretty much all of us went every session if we could. Official rehearsals started Monday the 20th and we had rehearsal Monday through Thursday. We rehearsed at XCel every day (besides Thursday) so it was super convenient for me because I obviously go there all the time. We fully finished the dance by Monday so we had the next three days to just drill it into our bodies and make it perfect. Thursday was our final rehearsal in Atlanta and for this rehearsal they rented out a much bigger studio where Cortland could tape out the exact measurements of the stage for us to practice on. Chloe was there with us every single day of rehearsal from Sunday on (usually coming from other projects she was working on! Talk about working your butt off!)
The Weekend of the Show:
We arrived in LA Friday around 5 pm. We all went to dinner and rested for the next day. On Saturday we had a camera blocking rehearsal that started at 10:45 am. We arrived on location at 10:15, had check-in and a wellness check and then headed inside. When we got inside, Lizzo was practicing and we started stretching in the audience. We then got into our outfits and started rehearsal. We ran through the dance three times just to block out spacing and stuff for the camera. After rehearsal, we went to lunch and just relaxed the rest of the day. Monique (THE BEST - she was a dancer and our hair stylist for the performance) started getting our hair done that night since we had an early call time the next morning. After we woke up Sunday, we headed straight to the theater around 10:30 and it was game time! We started off the morning with a dress rehearsal run through. We only ran it once that morning on stage. After our run through, we ate lunch, hung out, got our makeup done, warmed up, and got ready to perform. Being the last act of the night, there was definitely a lot more anxiousness and anticipation for us vs other dancers. We finally headed backstage and performed! It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in a long time! I told my parents that I was honestly more nervous to do my senior solo than I was to perform that number. I just think because we rehearsed the number over and over and literally drilled it into our bodies so well, we just knew going into the performance that nothing could go wrong. :)
Working with Cortland, Chloe, and the Girls:
Cortland - I mean words can’t describe how amazing he made this experience for all of us. So big on energy and having a good time. I told my parents “I love working with him because he’s so funny and so fun to be around but at the same time, when it’s time to work, he means business.” After working with him, I now realize why he is as successful as he is. Has such a kind heart, so talented, and so humble. I hope I get the opportunity to work with him again because I loved every second. I do also have to mention - He had the best assistants. They were so helpful and great examples for all of us to follow!
Chloe - Chloe is a woman of GOD. She is so talented, kind, gorgeous, unbelievably humble. She also just works her ass off 24/7. Literally. She would go from a filming in the morning to BET rehearsal then be up until 3 am recording music and then have to be up at 6 for another call time. I asked her one day in rehearsal if she ever sleeps and she goes “well I mean I slept in the car on the way here” LOL. She hustles man! Such a star and deserving of everything she has accomplished.
The Girls - It’s crazy because I actually didn’t know any of the girls when I booked this job and 4/5 were from Atlanta and 3/5 lived there still. I’m sure I had been in class with them but just never met or talked to them. This honestly made the job WAY more fun. We all got to meet/know each other on a more personal level. They all were so talented and the energy and vibes of every rehearsal were unmatched. We had a good time every single day and the combinations of everyone's personalities made it special. I’m so happy I met them because now I have new friends in Atlanta (and LA and NY) and the best memories!!
All around, what an amazing first job to have since moving. I’m sooooo unbelievably grateful to have been a part of something so special. Here’s to more adventures and more opportunities! (Because I swear I’m working for it :)) Ask away if you have any other questions about this experience!!