When Lydea Dickens was young, she remembers looking up to Owensboro Dance Theatre company dancers and wanting to be like them when she grew up.

Dickens, a former ODT company member who now dances with the Brescia University dance team, encourages young dancers who are interested to try out for the company, which is hosting auditions Wednesday at ODT’s resident school, Johnson’s Dance Studio, at 2705 Breckenridge St.

ODT is more than dance, she said, it’s a second family.

“ODT offers many opportunities for you to succeed as a dancer, even after you leave the company,” she said. “They host many professional choreographers and dance companies to teach master classes, giving the dancers the opportunities to expand the variety of choreography they learn.”

Auditions will take place from 4 to 5:15 p.m. and from 5:45 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Those who are interested should register for auditions by Friday, Aug. 6.

Natalie Woodard, ODT’s assistant artist director, said auditions are broken up into two events to help reduce crowds due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in the area. Having fewer students auditioning at one time will also allow for more physical distancing.

Every returning ODT dancer has to re-audition each year, Woodard said, but the company is also looking for some newcomers.

An ODT audition should be treated like a ballet and jazz class, she said.

“You come in, and you are assigned a number,” she said. “You start with a few ballet exercises, and then you do a few slower combinations so judges can see your balance and technique. Then dancers will do jazz, which includes some leaps and turns.”

She said the audition concludes with a jazz combination that dancers will be asked to learn and perform for a panel of judges.

Dancers have to be 11 years old by Oct. 1 in order to audition. There are no other audition requirements, though dancers are asked to be at an intermediate to advanced level in both ballet and jazz.

Dickens said those who are especially interested in continuing dancing after high school should consider joining ODT because the company provides the tools that are necessary to do so.

The company will also provide many friendships, she said.

“The other girls and guys in the company become family because you spend so much time with them,” she said. “The amount of love and support that the dancers have for each other is amazing.”

For more information about the audition, contact Owensboro Dance Theatre at 270-684-9580, email odt1982@gmail.com, or visit www.owensborodancetheatre.org.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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