Stephens auditioning at Juilliard School

Published 2:23 am Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Andalusia High School senior Lindsey Stephens has had an eventful senior year already, but will participate in her biggest feat yet when she auditions for The Juilliard School’s dance program next month.

Stephens participated in the Youth America Grand Prix dance competition last year, which is when she toured the campus.

“A couple of girls and I went with Mrs. Meryane Murphy to New York for the Youth America Grand Prix,” Stephens said. “While we were there Mrs. Murphy said that we should tour Juilliard so that is what we did. So we got to the campus and this cello player showed us around and I really liked it.”

Stephens danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in this year’s production of ‘Nutcrackr.’
Photo courtesy of Robert Evers

She has been doing a rigorous diet plan and practice schedule to prepare for the audition.

“This month I have been preparing by eating no grease at all and drinking only water,” Stephens said. “They recommend at least 10 hours a week of dancing, but I am well above that. I calculated it up last week and I’ve been dancing 13 hours a week. I have also been practicing my solo contemporary dance piece to get ready for the audition.”

When Stephens thinks of Juilliard she knows that it is very prestigious.

“I know that it is very hard to get into,” Stephens said. “They are only taking 12 people out of all the people that try out (for the dance program), six boys and six girls.”

She will travel to New York on Feb. 28 and audition on March 1.

“It will be an all-day thing,” Stephens said. “It will basically consists of a ballet class to begin with and they will either keep you or cut you after that. Then there is a repertoire of contemporary and they will keep you or cut you, then you show them your ballet variation, which will be my contemporary piece. If you make it through all of that then you will have an interview. I was in the Distinguished Young Women competition this summer so I feel pretty comfortable if I make it to the interview.”

Stephens has been dancing with the Andalusia Ballet Company since she was three years old and she feels like that has prepared her for this coming audition.

“Being a part of Andalusia Ballet has a very professional touch to it,” Stephens said. “Mrs. Murphy is really good about teaching us things about the dance world that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to see without being a part of this company.”

Dancing is something that Stephens can see herself doing for the rest of her life.

“I hope to do this for as long as I can,” Stephens said. “I have auditioned for the University of Alabama dance program and the Florida State University dance program, so if I don’t make it into Juilliard I will have those to fall back on.”

Stephens said that her senior year at AHS has flown by.

“I think this year I learned a lot about confidence,” Stephens said. “And that is something that I’m going to take into the Juilliard audition.”

She said that when she told her parents, they were all for it.

“My parents aren’t really dancers and don’t really know a lot about artistic stuff,” Stephens said. “We sat down with Mrs. Alicia (Morgan), our secretary at the ballet studio, and Mrs. Murphy they told me that I pretty much have my whole life to get all of the academic stuff and that Juilliard is a huge thing, I think my parents really understood and are 100 percent behind me on it.”

Visiting New York City again is the main thing that Stephens is looking forward to during this audition.

“I’m ready to be in the type of environment that is very professional and driven,” Stephens said.

Her favorite thing about dancing in storytelling.

“My favorite part about dancing is, of course, being on stage, but even in class you get to put whatever day you’re having into the dance,” Stephens said. “Whether it is anger or excitement you can incorporate it into dance.”

Outside of the ballet studio, Stephens is a part of several clubs at AHS including Peer Helpers and Anchor Club. She recently was named Miss Memolusia, and is a Sub Deb member. She was also a majorette in the marching band.

Stephens is the daughter of Keith and Shannon Stephens.