There’s something that happens every year that gets dancers very excited, but it doesn’t have anything to do with a fat man in a Santa suit — unless he’s auditioning for a character role. Cirque du Soleil, international entertainment mogul, holds open auditions for dancers and specialty acts every year and these are among the largest cattle-call auditions in the city.

This year’s audition series took place from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 and was held at The Rock Center for Dance. The four-day stint staked out the largest spaces at the studio and included a plethora of dance styles, from contemporary to step to freestyle to locking and breaking.

How many dancers can you stuff into a studio to learn a combination? The registration team at the audition estimated that about 300 girls showed up on Jan. 30 for the the contemporary/ballet audition for females, which is usually the most well-attended portion. All 300 of those girls were funneled into one studio and taught a combination that traveled from the corner.

Traveled. Interesting concept, when space constrictions necessitate that port de bras consists of finger twitches.

True to promises made by the artistic team at the audition, the dancers were split into groups of two and each was given a few precious counts of eight to make an impression on the casting crew and a video camera. After everyone had been seen, the cuts began.

About 60 girls showed up for the street section on Feb. 1 and a fraction of the contemporary and street groups was kept for callbacks on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, respectively. Those that made it all the way through are now part of the Cirque database, meaning that the artist has information on file with the company and will be contacted if an appropriate contract opens up.

Krista Monson, the director of casting for resident shows, and Giulio Scatola, an artistic talent scout for Cirque, were present and pontificating at the audition. Scatola gave the combination and Monson gave the rundown on general information about the company. A couple things were new.

For anyone that’s confused about what exactly is going on with the impending Michael Jackson experience, take note that Cirque actually has two shows slated for creation. One will be a touring arena show that will hit major cities for a few days to two weeks at a time. The other, as promised, will be a resident show in Las Vegas that will begin in 2013.

For Vegas dancers, hitting up a Cirque audition is almost a rite of passage and being on file with the company is certainly commendable. Keep an eye out for 2012 audition dates and it may be a good idea to bring along a single white glove.

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Note: None of the photos associated with this post are of the audition space, creative team or any audition material whatsoever. For official photos of Cirque shows, cast members and artistic directors, check out their website at the link above. For a sneak peek of audition combinations … go to an audition, yo.