Hundreds Get Into The Groove At Madonna Auditions

Singer holds open call to find dancers for upcoming tour.

NEW YORK — Who among us has not fallen into a reverie involving being part of the elite dance troupe that would accompany the world's most famous woman across the globe, striking poses and getting into the groove in front of tens of thousands of fans every night?

Well, perhaps this is not the stuff of everyone's dreams, but for hundreds of young women waiting in line for an open call for Madonna's Music world tour in Manhattan, it most certainly is.

On Wednesday (March 13), aspiring dancers — some professional, some that merely dabbled — braved a gusty afternoon to audition for Madonna's first tour since 1992's Girlie Show (see "Madonna Says She'll Mount Summer Tour"). The line stretched up Lafayette Street to Astor Place, turned a corner and spanned the block of Astor Place from Lafayette to Broadway.

At the very end of the line was Allison Castillo, 27, who dances in her spare time in a small Manhattan company, and Janelle Gilchrist, 21, a dance major at the University of Hartford. The two saw a notice for an open call in Back Stage, a dance and theater periodical.

"I was, like, 'Ohmigod, I gotta go,'" Gilchrist said of her reaction to the notice. Madonna's latest album, Music, is "hot," she added.

Castillo has a vinyl copy of the "Music" single. She said that at the very least, regardless of her chances, "it's Madonna. Of course you wanna say that I went and did the audition. It's an experience. At least I stood in line for an hour."

Castillo wondered if this reporter was legitimate, and not someone with a fetish for tape recording women's voices.

Dancer/actress Marie Bruck, 23, called her boyfriend, Jason Fraser, 22, to wait in line with her. She thought the audition would be fun but was more openly ambitious than Castillo: She said she thought she had a good shot and would take off on tour in a second.

Fraser, one of the few men present (male dancers were auditioned earlier in the day), said with a smirk that he would follow her around the world. Bruck said she would most like to dance to "Music" of all the tunes from the Madonna songbook.

Mollie Black, 21, and Cherilyn Caufield, 24, had been waiting for two hours by 4:15 p.m. Black said she got out of the nearby subway and said, "'Oh my God.' The reality of it sets in, that you're going to stand outside in the cold."

Both had seen "Truth or Dare," the warts-and-all documentary pertaining to, among other things, the bond between Madonna and her dancers on the 1990 Blond Ambition world tour. "I'm doing 'Truth or Dare II,' Dad!" Black joked.

"You can pretty much dance to all of her songs," Caufield said.

Black, as someone who has attended "lots of open calls," said Wednesday's scene was "as bad as it gets. Usually, it's 50 or 80 people. Obviously, every dancer wants to dance for Madonna."

"It's more of a media event than anything else," Caufield suggested. "You figure she already has her dancers she's used for years, so I think they wanted some hype. I could be wrong; maybe she is looking to get a whole new group."

Josie Rose, 25, languished deep in the back of the line, until she ran into the choreographer of her dance company, who brought her farther up. She said she skipped work to audition for Madonna. "Love Madonna," she effused. "I've been doing Madonna routines ever since I was young, wearing Madonna outfits." She would most like to dance to "Justify My Love," "because it's sexy and slow."

"I'm hoping that [for the judges] it will be about a look, and that they'll typecast and not waste anybody's time," Rose said. "That's the worst thing, when they keep you here all day when they know what they're looking for."

Melinda Sharretts, 18, and Jessica Deal, 25, befriended one another in line. "We've been waiting for so long, you've got to make friends with your neighbors," Sharretts said. Deal said she teaches dance but had never come to an open call before, and Sharretts said she is a dance student on her third open call.

"My mom likes this one too," Sharretts said of Music. "[Madonna] really reached over the generations with this one."

Though both said they would like dancing to the title cut and "Don't Tell Me," they saved their greatest praise for classic Maddy cuts. Sharretts singled out "Vogue," while Deal said she would love dancing to a remix of "Justify My Love."