Auditions season is coming. November is the month when we usually start seeing many announcements of dance auditions online. This is why today, we want to share with you some tips to help you be more physically and mentally prepared for a dance audition.
1. Being mentally prepared is as important as being physically prepared
It is natural to worry about being in shape when you are going to an audition, but being mentally prepared is just as, or more important, than being physically prepared.
When attending an audition, you will find yourself in a new environment and surrounded by people you don’t know, that’s why having a calm and positive mentality is key for doing a good audition.
2. Do not overthink and enjoy the moment
An audition can be as pleasant or unpleasant as you want it to be. Thinking too much about what the audition will be like is counterproductive. Creating expectations, whether positive or negative, will only make you more nervous and make you miss the magic of the moment. Every dance audition is unique and different. If you go with an open mind you will probably enjoy it a lot more, so instead of trying to foresee what will happen or what other dancers are going to attend, focus on learning and enjoying every second, because this opportunity will not be repeated. Also, if you look happy during the audition, you have a much better chance of attracting the attention and liking the jury.
3. Trust your hard work
Being consistent in your daily work is key to preparing your body and mind for a dance audition. Before an audition, it’s important that you imagine that every class and every rehearsal you do, is like an audition. Arrive early to the studio to warm up, ideally 1 hour or 30 minutes before class. Start moving your body gently and increase the force as your muscles feel more prepared. Pay particular attention to the parts of the body where you have suffered a previous injury and gently stretch before starting the ballet bar. At the end of class and rehearsals, stretch for a longer time to relax your muscles and prepare them for the next day. If you go to the audition knowing that you have been following a good exercise routine and have given your best in each of the classes and rehearsals before the audition, you will feel more confident and better prepared.
4. Be humble and don’t compare yourself
Each dancer has their own flaws, and you are no different. No one is better nor worse than anyone else. Is important that you work feeling a good atmosphere inside the studio, getting along with the rest of your peers. Being competitive in excess won’t benefit you. Feeling envy is never a positive thing. No dancer is born knowing how to dance. Remember how you were when you first started, and use this memory to motivate yourself to improve and get better every day. Whenever you look in the mirror and start having self-critical thoughts, tell yourself a positive affirmation about something you do like about yourself. During the audition, imagine that no one else is there and focus on showing the jury what you are capable of. Dance humbly, because no one is perfect and don’t compare yourself with the rest of participants.
5. Follow a healthy diet and sleeping routine
Following a healthy diet is important for maintaining an ideal weight, but it’s also important for having a good energy level and avoiding getting injured. The secret is not to eat less, but to eat slowly until feeling satisfied. Vegetables, fruits, and legumes are low-calorie, high-nutrient foods, so you can eat them in abundance. Eat your food raw, steamed, or grilled with a small amount of olive oil, as these are the healthiest ways. Avoid sugar, do not use a lot of salt, and keep the fried food out of your diet as much as possible. And don’t forget to drink enough water! Before the audition, you shouldn’t eat too much. The right thing to do would be to eat a good healthy meal 2-3 hours before starting the exercise and take with you some fruit or nuts to maintain a good energy level during the dance audition. If you have any concerns about your diet, consider seeing a nutritionist.
Good sleep is also very important to let your body rest and recover your muscles. Keeping to a routine, getting up and going to bed at the same time each day is an essential part of reminding our minds and bodies when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. Don’t eat too much close to bedtime, and avoid watching TV or your phone time before bed and in the bedroom, as doing so could prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Consider reading a book or writing down the corrections that the teacher has given you during the day in your journal. These are activities that will help you turn off your brain at bedtime. If you suffer from anxiety or insomnia, it’s best to ask a health professional for help.
6. Don’t give up
Some days will be harder than others. When you are feeling tired or when it seems like everything is going wrong, you can use those days to do some inner work of introspection. Ask yourself: Why am I dancing? What positive emotions do I feel when I dance? How willing am I to do whatever it takes to achieve my dream? Reminding yourself of what motivates you to dance will be enough to keep you going that day.
What if the audition doesn’t go well? Should I quit? If the result of the audition is what you wanted, don’t give up because there will be many more opportunities. Each audition is a new opportunity that brings you closer to realizing your dream. The most important thing is to be sure if dancing makes you happy enough to do it for the rest of your life. If so, you there’s no doubt you will find the strength needed to succeed.
Auditions are a part of life for dancers, so we all need to make peace with the process. And it is exactly that — a process! If you are smart, you will grow through the audition process as an individual, as well as a performer, enabling yourself to grow a little more after every audition experience. There are a few things you need to learn quickly and take seriously as a professional in order to survive the dancer life that many of you aspire to pursue or are currently pursuing as a career. If you haven’t learnt these things yet, the audition life will teach you either way. So you can take your pick — learn the easy way or the hard way. It all comes down to how you want your journey to play out.
You would think some things are common sense, even with most pre-professional dancers coming through either a formal full time training centre or a university degree, and that most things have become common knowledge by now, but unfortunately for some, that is not the case. I recently attended a musical theatre audition as a media representative and had the opportunity to witness a group of dancers in their dance call. I was really disappointed about how badly some dancers represented themselves in both presentation and conduct, so it inspired me to write this article. Much of this may seem simple, but it’s the little things that make the difference. If you change your mindset to that of a business person to focus on how you present yourself in your attire and your conduct as marketing or branding yourself when in an audition, then you enable yourself to be truly prepared at every audition.
Over the next few editions, Dance Informa will discuss how to prepare and dress suitably for different styles to show you that not all auditions are created equal, and you really need to do some homework. Fingers crossed, we’ll help you get a little closer to securing a contract!
- Research who you are going to be working for. For example, if it’s for a ballet company, know which works have been in their recent repertoire and what’s coming up in the future.
- Find out who the choreographer of the show is and what he/she has recently been working on so that you can find out if he/she has any nuances. Maybe the choreographer is a lefty, so you can practice more turns on the left if you’re a righty.
- If it’s a for a musical, what genre of musical theatre is it — classic, modern or jukebox? Does your song choice reflect the style/era of that show?
- Have you attended a lot of classes in that specific style in the lead-up to the audition?
- Plan your audition outfit so you’re not scrambling to find a random outfit on the morning of the audition.
These are all questions that you need to be asking yourself in the lead-up to the audition day. Of course, there are the obvious things like getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast and warming up.
Be smart and listen.
Choreographers and directors don’t like working with people who are slow to react or respond; instead, they want to work with people who are on the ball, are adaptable to change, and are quick on the uptake! So if you have a number, memorise it. If they call your name, say yes — immediately. Be someone who knows how to take direction and stands where you’re told quickly. Don’t be that person who doesn’t know how to stand in the gaps if you’re placed in the back line when you are split into smaller groups. Just mimic the way they set the first group into place. If you can’t take direction in an audition, you are basically disqualifying yourself from the job before you have even danced a step.
If you hear the choreographer say, “I want”, “look like” or “feel like”, you need to focus on trying to nail the step, feeling, look or dynamics of what they are trying to draw out of you. They want to see who in the group has drawn on what they’ve discussed and is embodying the style they’ve asked for.
It’s okay to ask questions, and you will nearly always get a chance to ask questions while learning the choreography. Just be sure that when you do, your questions are intelligent and specific. Don’t ask if it’s a double pirouette; it is usually always a double unless they specify a single. They want to know that you can turn, so listen to what they specify or do at least a double.
Don’t be scared to speak up when you are asked a question/asking a question if it will help you perform the choreography better. Just don’t be that person who asks the same question twice, just another way to cut yourself from making it to the next call.
Always be your most genuine self, and a little sense of humour thrown in is okay. People want to know they will be able to work with you for days on end.
Come dressed looking your best, appropriate for the style of dance, so you can feel and be ready to perform at your best. Your idea of looking “cool” isn’t always going to draw the creative team’s eye to you in a positive way. For example, if you’re at a musical theatre audition, dress the part. Don’t make it hard for the directors to imagine you as part of the ensemble or playing a specific character, so be sure to stand out for the right reasons when it comes to your attire. When it comes to makeup for the ladies, more is not more, and less is too bland. Be sure to have makeup on, but don’t have a full face of stage makeup. Enhance your eyes and pick a great lip colour to finish your look. For the gentlemen, be groomed with both your hairstyle and your facial hair.
Royal Caribbean International are coming to Australia this month to audition for dancers and singers. Get all the details here.
We’ve cooked up a recipe that involves a lot of focus, hard work, and of course a dash of spice to help our young pre-professional dancers get ready for that big audition.
Auditions don’t differ that much from a normal class, except for the fact that there is ten times more pressure, a little extra judgement and perhaps some directors or choreographers making obvious hints at who’s got what they’re looking for.
Get out your ingredients and let’s start cooking up the perfect recipe for a successful audition!
Learn to adapt
Great dancers aren’t just good at dancing. One of the things that make professional dancers great is their ability to adapt.
Directors, choreographers, and dance masters just love that! Knowing that a dancer is versatile in their movement, with mannerisms that can easily change is an exciting thing for any choreographer. Plus, you’ll be booking more jobs! The judge panel will always look for dancers who can maintain their technique while moving with versatility. A clean, performance-ready technique is the baseline.
Learn Quickly and Apply Corrections
Most dance masters or directors may teach very quickly and of course, expect you to pick up things real quick too. More often than not, that 32-count combination will be demonstrated only ONCE by the dance master and it shows who’s willing to focus, commit, pick up and deliver.
Dress to Impress
First impressions definitely last in auditions. So don’t come in looking like you’ve just woken up and missed your bus. Lose those fuzzy leg warmers! Pick out an appropriate dance wardrobe that will emphasise your “lines”, and show your extremities. Unless given explicit instructions on the required audition uniform, you can never go wrong with something clean and neat in a bright color. It’s also important to feel good, comfortable and confident in what you wear, so dress up in dancewear that compliments those attributes. Try not to hide your body under baggy clothes, otherwise the director or choreographer won’t have a chance to see the full potential of your movement skills. It’s all about honesty.
Keep Calm and “5,6,7,8!” On
Treat yourself to your favourite music playlist, sip a cup of lavender tea, or do whatever helps calm down your nerves. Focus on your own movement, process and journey, never compare yourself to the other dancers around you. Confidence and focus is key to bringing your best to an audition. No one wants to be that dancer who desperately searches for approval after every combination–just do your thing and focus.
Roll With the Punches
One part of standing out is being professional, and it means that if you make a mistake, don’t make it so obvious. Be cool and act like nothing happened. At the end of the day, it’s all about your performance skills, and part of performing is overcoming movement mishaps and the art of reshaping mistakes into something innovative.
Most of the time when we say audition, we think technique, artistry, but actually personality plays a big role in auditions.
The kind of dancer who not only knows how to move, but is also able to cooperate and get along with the other dancers is important. If you are taking a ballet audition for example, don’t just go to the barre and take someone else’s spot. Always ask if that spot is taken or not, because for all you know it may be the principal dancer’s spot you are standing on.
Always be aware of the people and spacing. Remember that manners matter too!
Outside the world of dance, most people despise a show off, but when it comes to auditioning, it is a must.
Now is the time to go all out. Stand in front, go to the middle, take in corrections even if they weren’t directed to you. Repeat combinations three, or four times, because they may have not seen you the first time or the second, hold those extra balances—perform like its your last performance.
Fake it until you make it
There’s gonna be a bit of research involved here. Before coming into the audition, you have to know what they like, and what they’re looking for in a dancer. Do your research, no matter what kind of dance audition it is that you are doing. If you’re auditioning for a certain role, you have to learn about the character, the mood of what or who you are portraying to bring the character to life.
Now I don’t mean legs going 180 degrees, and high extensions, etc. But just like adapting, showing how versatile you could be is actually such a big plus!
Let’s take a dancer with a background of classical training for example, just because that dancer is classically trained doesn’t mean that they’ll get the job, because the job might require them to execute other genres of dance.
If you have done your research, you’ll know the style of the company, and other specifics required of a certain role or gig, therefore choreographers and directors will look for different qualities in dancers.
But mainly, a good work ethic, musicality, amazing technique and versatility always make a dancer stand out and that only proves one thing when you get into an audition, like Christine Cox says, “You’re either a good dancer or you aren’t”.
Choreographer, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa once said, “There is no band-aid for rejection” and that can be the hardest thing for a dancer to face, but like competitions, auditions can be pretty subjective.
Remember that each and every dance company can be so specific and different about what they are looking for, so even if you don’t make it, it doesn’t always reflect your ability to dance and perform. Not all auditions have a happy ending, and if you’ve been told that you are not suitable for the company or the role, despite trying your best to stand out, that is perfectly fine. Shake it off, and maybe that next audition will open up doors for you!
Photo: Dancers auditioning in New York City for The School at Jacob’s Pillow. Photo by Karli Cadel.
Dance auditions can be nerve-wracking, whether it’s your first audition or you’re a seasoned dancer who has been to countless auditions. The anticipation of presenting and being judged as well as seeing other talented dancers around you can affect your audition, even if you know you have the skills to land the role. There are some steps you can to ensure your dance audition goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips on how to prepare.
Your Regular Practice is Part of Preparation
Regular practice is part of preparing for a dance audition! Remember that leading up to your audition, your regular lessons and practice are going to help you perform your best. Make sure you take your training seriously. You may be asked to pick up new moves very quickly in an audition, so taking new classes and learning new styles of dance will be a great benefit when unfamiliar choreography is thrown at you. You may also be asked to perform some freestyle dancing, so adaptability is key here.
Know Who Your Audience Is
Knowledge is power, even when it comes to very talented dancers. Some auditions ask you to send in your resume and headshot beforehand while others expect you to bring in hard copies with you. Is there a fee to audition?
An audition for a ballet performance is going to be very different from one for a hip-hop video. Do some research about who you’ll be performing for. If you know the name of the choreographer, find out as much information about their style of movement as possible. Then practice it so you know what they’re expecting from you.
The Day Before
It goes without saying that a good night’s sleep before your audition is very important. If you find it difficult to fall asleep due to excitement, try meditation to calm the mind. Get into the right Pack your bag with water, snacks, and extra clothes. There might be periods of waiting, so bring a book or something to distract yourself from any nervous or excited thoughts that might pop into your head while you’re waiting.
The Day Of Your Dance Audition
The big day is here! Give yourself plenty of time to travel to the location of your dance audition and arrive early – there may be forms to fill out. Leave yourself enough time to warm up. If you’re nervous, meditation can once again be your friend. There are many wonderful apps out there that can soothe your worried mind with a simple meditation and get you mentally ready for your dance audition.
Don’t Take it Personally
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so even if you don’t land your audition, the experience itself is a wonderful learning opportunity. If possible, gather some feedback on how you can improve in the future. Dance is a competitive field and knowing how to deal with rejection is a valuable skill to have.
How the Landing Dance Centre Can Help
As one of Vancouver’s premier dance studios, we’ve helped countless students prepare for their dance auditions. We offer acro, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, and tap classes for a rounded repertoire of skills. Our world-renowned artistic faculty is dedicated to their art and brings passion and creativity to every lesson and our beautiful 2880 sq. ft. dance facility is an inspirational space for all those who dance in it. Contact us today to book a trial class and see why dancers love The Landing Dance Centre.
Whether you’re auditioning for a high school dance team, studio competition team or a professional company, there’s no denying that auditions can be nerve-wracking. Chances are you’ll be jittery at the audition, but that doesn’t have to affect your performance! With the right attitude and plenty of preparation, you can channel your nervous energy into a powerhouse performance at audition time. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a dance audition.
Fine Tune Your Skills
Many studios and schools have auditions at the end of the season, but some wait until the beginning of the season, after summer break. Whether you’ve been on hiatus of not, make sure that your skills are up to snuff. It’s sometimes too easy to let dance and fitness slip your mind during a long break, and this can hurt your performance.
It may be helpful to videotape your audition piece, so that you can see for yourself the areas that need work. A basic video will do. Grab a smartphone, a volunteer, or a tripod (or even prop your phone up at a suitable height) and get a recording of your full routine from multiple angles so you can see what you may be missing. Work on any skills or techniques you’re not confident with or haven’t yet mastered.
Outside of rehearsal, use our tips to stay in shape during a break to balance fun with training. You don’t have to hit the gym every single day, but try to make healthier food choices and fit in some exercise. This will help your stamina when it comes time for your audition.
What to Wear
Once your skills are where they need to be, you can start thinking about other details, like what to wear and bring to your audition. Tiler Peck, a ballerina with the NYC Ballet, offers some great tips in the video below.
As Peck explained, it’s important that you wear something you’re comfortable in and that will show off your body. Do some run-throughs of your audition piece in your chosen ensemble. After all, you don’t want to risk a wardrobe malfunction or have the judges unable to see your clean lines.
When you’re packing your dance bag for the big day, make sure to include anything listed on the audition info sheet, like paperwork or particular shoes. If you are supplying your own music, make sure you bring it in whatever form is required, plus some form of backup in case something goes wrong. You’ll also want to stash a few emergency supplies, such as extra hair elastics, a spare pair of tights, hairspray, bandages and knee pads. Anything that you would bring to a dance competition will probably help you out at an audition.
Attitude is Everything
Your mindset the day of the audition is crucial not only to performing well, but also to making a good impression on the judges or directors. If you’re jittery, standoffish or rude – even unintentionally – it may hurt your chances of making the team or company.
“Sometimes we don’t even realize what emotion we’re portraying in class,” Jacquelyn Long of the Houston Ballet corps de ballet explained to Dance Spirit magazine. “Take a step back to think not only about your technique, but about what message you’re projecting.”
With this in mind, remember to always keep a smile on your face, even if you’re freaking out on the inside. Be polite and friendly to the other dancers, as they could be your teammates soon. You should also be gracious and take any criticism with an open mind.
Keep smiling, regardless of what happens.
Tips to Stay Confident
Need a little confidence boost on the big day? Use one of these tactics to pump yourself up:
For any sort of audition, whether for ballet, contemporary, musical theatre, and on, it can be daunting to know just what you need to bring to the table, or what are the right tips for dance audition photos. Each company can be different in what they expect you to provide, or what could be that special thing that catches their eye. At Ashkan Image, we’ve worked with our fair share of dancers preparing for auditions and intensives, and we have some tips for dance auditions photos that you can be PROUD of and can show you off at your very best.
#1 Make sure that you know all of the guidelines for the company, intensive, or job you are auditioning for.
You don’t want to lose right out the gate by not following the guidelines that your audition is calling for. For ballet, it could be a specific arabesque, for contemporary an expression, musical theatre a certain character.
Read through to make sure you know the positioning, clothing requirements, backgrounds requested, sizing, all of it. A red background could make you stand out, but if they ask for a white, you could have your audition tossed to the side right off the bat.
There should be information provided online or within your invitation that gives these guidelines. Don’t see them? Just call them and ask (unless they say not to)! Better safe than sorry.
#2 If you are simply creating an audition portfolio, do your research on the kinds of companies you would want to audition for.
What you aren’t quite ready to audition (or not quite old enough) for a company, but want to start an audition portfolio? Do your research!
As the serious dancer than you are, you probably already know the direction you are taking your dance career. Look for those types of companies that you know you will want to audition in the near future. Find the kind of audition requirements they have required in the past, and prepare yourself based on what you find.
Keep in mind the age of a dance audition portfolio…if you are too young to audition for a company by a year or more, then your body and abilities can change by the time you are ready to move your career forward. Your portfolio for audition purposes may not last as long as you need it to.
#3 Find your photographer.
You have done your research on your companies, now it is time to find yourself a photographer!
Most importantly you want this photographer to fit your style. Look at online portfolios and see their work quality, their image variety, and their reviews! You want to know that you are going to have a good experience with working with the photographer as well as get the high-quality product that you need.
Secondly of course is budget. Photographers put so much work into their craft, so prices may seem heavy, but look for one that is within your doable budget that will still provide the type of imagery that you need.
Often times around audition season, you will find photographers will run specials, so be on the lookout or ask around!
#4 Prepare yourself for shoot day!
Companies? Check. Guidelines? Check. Photographer? Check. Time to get YOURSELF ready for your shoot!
Pack all the essentials. The right tights, leotards, and shoes. If your photographer is providing hair and makeup, AMAZING! However if not, be prepared to come with your hair ready in a bun or clean pony and bring extra supplies in case you need a fix or a hair change. If you have short hair, keep it clean and put together.
Be sure to bring some fun items if you have some more creative room or you are working on a portfolio! Here are a few ideas: a unique skirt, various shirts, a white button-down, statement jackets, pedestrian shoes like boots, the list goes on and on. Get inspired!
Bring snacks, water, and lots of energy! Remember that this is going to create beautiful images of your talent that you can present to any company or agency…and also that it is going to be FUN!
Come with patience and an open mind. With capturing audition photos, it can take time and a LOT of shots in order to get that image that is JUST RIGHT. Be patient with yourself, you will do FANTASTIC!
If you attend weekly dance classes, ask your teacher/s for audition advice. Many teachers have also worked as dancers, making it through tough auditions themselves and may be able to give valuable advice.
Do some research: most colleges have a list of their Directors and Tutors on their websites, as well as information on past and upcoming shows, course details, graduate success stories and more.
Try to think about what your priorities are regarding the type of course you are looking for – look at the range and levels of dance genres taught on the course.
Will you have opportunities to take vocational exams? This can often be a good indication of a thorough technical training, alongside performance work.
Do you want to become a dance teacher one day or have teaching as a option – are these qualifications available at your college choices?
What are the dance photos like on the website? Do they demonstrate high standards of technique and of versatile dancers who have had a strong all-round training?
Do they have reviews from students & graduates on their website &/or social media?
All this will give you a feel for each college, what you will be taught and if you can picture yourself there. Many colleges will also hold Open Days during the Winter term, but if you missed an open day you may be able to arrange a visit. Click the tabs below for more advice and tips + what important questions to ask each college you audition for.
On Audition Day
- Work out your travel plans in advance and leave plenty of time for your journey – arrive with time to register, change, stretch and warm up for class
- Familiarise yourself with any requirements, such as dress codes and prepared routines
- Wear appropriate clothing – the panel want to see your shape – don’t hide under too many layers of jumpers and leg warmers!
- Bring some water to drink and a snack to boost your energy
At The Audition
Be professional. There’s no need to be pushy, a show-off or overly boastful – the panel are looking for great dancers, but also someone who is willing to learn, responds well to feedback and is enthusiastic and passionate about dance.
If you make a mistake, try not to make a face, stop or show your disappointment – the panel may not notice a small mistake and if they do, they will see you handling it like a professional.
If you are given specific exercises or choreography, do exactly what is asked – don’t tweak the routine to show off, you may have a chance to perform your own piece as well.
If you are given corrections, listen carefully and take them on. This shows the panel have been watching you and are interested enough to want to see more.
Perform as if you are in front of an audience. Smile, show emotion and make eye contact with the panel.
Do let your personality shine through as much as possible. Try to relax and show your level of artistry. Dance colleges want to see your passion and enthusiasm for dance, how you mix in a group, as well as your:
- physical ability
Leave a great impression, thank the panel (and pianist). You can politely ask by which date you will be contacted. Hopefully your audition will be a success, but if you are contacted with bad news treat it as an opportunity for feedback – they may tell you that you’re almost ready and to try again at their next auditions. An audition panel is often most impressed by a return auditionee who has taken on board prior feedback and made a significant improvement.
Good Luck – You’ll be Fantastic!
What to Ask of Your Prospective Dance Training College
It is a good idea to find out some of the following information to compare and help you decide which colleges you want to apply to and, if you’re offered a place at more than one college, where to accept.
- What happens during your open day? What’s the format of the Audition day?
- What grades or skills are needed for entry onto the course?
- Do only a select number of students get to perform each year, or is every student in every year group guaranteed an opportunity to perform?
- How many performances are held per year?
- The course says “full-time training” – how many hours a week will I be at college?
- What styles of dance will be taught?
- What qualifications will I get?
- What are the fees and are there any additional expenses?
- At the end of my course, what range of career options will I have in front of me?
- Where are your dance graduates working?
- What funding will I have access to?
We go into more detail with each question above + share the answers you can expect from Dance For All on this post: Questions to ask when applying to dance college
Got any questions or want us to post out the documents to you? Contact us:
You can also call the office on 0131 226 5533 if you have any questions or want us to post out the documents to you – please give us your name, telephone / mobile number and your address for posting.
Audition Tips on the Web
Here are some Audition Tips videos our freelance Web Manager Jeda Pearl has found on the YouTube. Please note Dance For All is not responsible for the content of external websites.
Teenager with experience of getting through auditions for Laine Theatre Arts college in Surrey gives 10 tips on auditioning for dance college, with some amusing bloopers at the end!
Australian teenager gives a seven minute ‘dance audition guide’ which also covers larger open auditions but with some interesting advice on clothing and hair, though we wouldn’t recommend you bring a suitcase to your audition at Dance For All!
Theresa Ruth Howard, Ailey tutor and author of Don’t get Cut, is interviewed by Pointe Magazine’s senior editor, giving her top auditioning tips.
Theresa Ruth Howard is a former dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem and Armitage Gone! Dance. She teaches at the renowned Ailey School and is a regular contributor to Pointe and Dance Magazine.
Short video from Slanted Dance, who are based in Norfolk, with a few audition tips from their guest tutors.
If you’d like to apply to Dance For All – find out when our next Auditions are.
MORE TIPS: Make sure you scroll down to check out the comments below, with tips from our students, graduates and tutors.
Seton Hill University’s Department of Dance is scheduling in-person auditions by appointment and also accepting video auditions. Please see the dance audition requirements listed below. Please schedule your audition or upload your virtual audition materials through the online Dance Audition Request Form.
Please contact the Dance Department Coordinator, TaMara Swank, at [email protected] if you have any questions about the audition process.
Applicants wishing to compete for Visual and Performing Arts Scholarships should complete the process prior to February 24.
Online Audition Process
Dancers who wish to submit an audition online should prepare a 60-90 second dance piece in ballet, modern, jazz or contemporary. Dancers should demonstrate technique to their highest level through defined and expressive movement. Dancers should wear form-fitting dance attire commonly used in technique class.
Video & Submission Requirements
- Please try to capture the highest quality video possible. Be sure to record in a well-lit area with your entire body in the frame.
- Please introduce yourself and share the name of the choreographer and restate your name before ending the video.
- The video must be saved as a YouTube link, marked as Unlisted, and uploaded to the Seton Hill audition form where you should also upload your headshot and resume.
- You will be contacted by the dance program coordinator to schedule a virtual interview via Zoom.
Dancers should complete the Dance Audition Request form. The program coordinator will work with the visiting dancer to schedule an individual audition and interview appointment. During the in-person audition, dancers will be provided with a ballet and jazz or modern combination. Dancers who have developed skills beyond the introductory level in tap should prepare a 60-second audition combination. Dancers are also permitted to present a 90-second solo combination in any preferred style. Dancers should wear form-fitting dance attire commonly used in technique class.
Notification of audition results will be emailed to the auditioning dancer within approximately two weeks of the audition.
In-Person Audition Dates
- November 20
- December 11
- January 22
- February 12
- Friday, February 25
- March 19
- April 2
The audition for the program also serves as your class placement assessment. All dance majors must complete secondary level courses in ballet, jazz, modern and tap. Students who demonstrate in the audition that they are not yet prepared to enter level II courses in any or all styles may still be admitted into the dance major. In these cases, students will be required to complete Level I courses before proceeding in the curriculum. Additional coursework is required depending on the student’s chosen track of study: performance, pedagogy, choreography or pre-dance/movement therapy.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre corps member Victoria Watford recalls the first time she auditioned for the company: Even though she had attended PBT’s summer intensive several times, the Cleveland native felt completely unprepared. “I was treating it like a summer intensive audition,” she remembers. “There was an energy in the room of a lot of people who are ready to be professionals and are confident in their dancing. If you’re not ready, you will feel it.” Watford wasn’t offered a job, so she took a place in the school’s graduate program. Over the next two years she pursued company auditions until she ultimately landed her spot at PBT.
When you first start auditioning for companies, the stakes can feel so high. Your entire training experience has led you to this point, yet many dancers are surprised by the differences they find in a company audition setting. In addition to the various ways they’re structured, you’ll be treated with the frankness reserved for an adult professional. While you’ve been tackling the physical impossibilities of ballet for a decade or more, here are some tips on how to mentally prepare for your first audition season.
Don’t Limit Yourself
rawpixel via Unsplash
When deciding where to audition, try not to tether your expectations to a short list of high-profile companies. “When we talk to our students, 10 of them will list the same companies they want to dance for,” says Pacific Northwest Ballet School managing director Denise Bolstad. “The ones who are open-minded are the most successful.” A rejection will only hit harder when you have limited your options. “We have had students get into small companies who went kicking and screaming, and three months into it they are happy,” says Bolstad. “They are doing lead roles, they love the city. Be open-minded if you really want to dance.”
Be Ready for Anything
When it comes to open-call auditions, Watford says, “there are no rules.” While summer intensive auditions follow a somewhat predictable ballet-class formula, with each group rotating by number to give everyone a moment at the front, company auditions can vary. Class may be heavily abbreviated (so come warm) and can include cuts after barre and during center. You may also be asked to learn repertoire, perform a variation, improvise or demonstrate your partnering skills with a dancer you’ve never met. Be prepared for anything, and try not to let the “unknown” rattle you.
An invitation to audition via company class will increase your chances of being seen, but this, too, can be daunting for first-timers. “A downside is that you are auditioning beside dancers who all understand what the director wants,” says Ballet West corps member Lillian Casscells. It can also be nerve-racking to figure out where to stand at barre or to know when to go to the front in center. “It helps to find a friendly face,” says Casscells, who recommends asking a company member where you should stand. “Usually the dancers are very understanding, and they will allow you to go to the front for a few combinations in center.”
Leave Your Emotions at the Door
Dancers at a Ballet West audition
It is imperative that you separate your sense of self-worth from the outcome of any audition. “I try to remind our students that this is much more practical than they think,” says Bolstad. “It’s a job interview. Go into it with great confidence and rely on your training.” She adds that cuts aren’t designed to be hurtful, but for efficiency, since directors can’t objectively look at 200 people at once. And when directors say they only have one or two openings? Believe them. “They have a strict budget,” says Bolstad. “They can’t always hire you even if they really want to.”
The very nature of ballet training may leave you scanning the studio to size up the competition, but remember: A dancer’s most impressive stretches before class have no bearing on her audition success. “Don’t focus on everyone else in the room,” says Watford. “Focus on yourself and what you do best. Wear things that make you feel confident and put your best foot forward when you can.”
“Thanks, But No Thanks”
Rejection is more common than good news and comes in many forms. Whether you receive radio silence after you send in audition materials, get cut from a cattle call, or hear an unenthusiastic “We’ll be in touch” after taking company class, it is going to sting.
Try not to take it personally; the faster you can separate an audition rejection from your sense of self, the more successful you will be. “Most of the time it’s not about you. It is just the opinion of one person in the front of the room looking for something very specific that day,” says Watford. Casscells agrees: “It’s so hard because we are trained our whole lives to be acutely aware of every single flaw.” But she adds that the odds that you have exactly what every director is looking for is slim. “I’m not saying that to be discouraging. Rather, it’s a weight lifted off your shoulders knowing that a rejection is not because of something you did, but because you didn’t fit into a specific folder.”
Don’t lose sight of what you have already accomplished. “You have picked one of the hardest professions in the world, and you have already come so far,” says Bolstad. “You should be tremendously proud to have gotten to this point.”
Keep Your Head in the Game
Sarah Pflug via Burst
We asked Brian Goonan, PhD, a dance psychologist based in Houston, for advice on staying mentally strong during auditions.
Look at the big picture.
It’s natural to be worried about rejection. Do your research and apply to numerous companies that may be looking for what you have to offer (and not just dream companies). Let your strengths and ability be your selling point, because there isn’t much else you can control in an audition setting.
Picture yourself dancing your best before you enter the studio. Feel it. Visualize completing difficult steps successfully. It allows you to prime muscle and movement sequences without having to practice them in the studio.
Self-care is crucial.
Proper sleep, eating habits, stress management and relaxation allow a dancer to have full access to the physical and emotional resources they will need to perform comfortably at their optimal level.
Set reasonable goals.
Goals are best designed when they involve input, not outcome, since outcomes in the dance world are based on the subjective appraisals of others. For example, rather than setting an objective to be hired by a specific company, focus on applying last week’s pirouette correction during your audition class. “Best” needs to be determined by the dancer, not the evaluators.
Today’s post is by Alexandra Cownie the author of “How To Be A Ballet Dancer”. She dedicates her life to educating dancers on how to have a healthy life and to be confident and less stressed while becoming professionals.
Auditions are a very important and often highly stressful part of a dancer’s life. More than a job interview, at an audition dancers need to show versatility, technical skill and intelligence. They must appeal to a company director with subjective and unpredictable criteria relating to artistic style. So let’s look at what you can do to stand-out from the crowd!
1. Do not approach your audition like it’s a dance competition.
It’s vital to understand that in auditions, it’s not the “best” dancer (often confused with most technical dancer) that gets the job, but the one that fits the best the artistic criteria set by the company director and artistic board.
Approach your auditions with confidence in your own unique abilities and make an effort to be yourself while dancing – your best skills will naturally shine through and give you the job in the right company!
2. Research the company/dance group you are auditioning for.
Most dancers need to audition to a certain number of companies before they get a job. The danger is that it can quickly become “I’ll take whatever I can” instead of “I’ll audition in the companies that are right for me”. The problem with that is that you will have no idea (or too little) what the artistic style the company is endorsing, what choreographers work for the company and what the daily training is like. There are huge differences between companies and it’s extremely important that you know who you are auditioning for in order to give yourself the best chances of fitting in! A great thing to do is go to see them on stage.
3. Visualise yourself as a member of the company the night before.
The night prior the audition, you should already know the style of the company and their daily routine and approach to dance. Take 20 minutes to close your eyes in an active meditation and visualise yourself as a full-time member of their company. Be one of them, take class with them, rehearse with them, interact with them in the change rooms, be on stage with them. You will find that you will feel more at ease and peaceful the next day. Remember a company director will look for someone already at ease with the company’s style.
4. Do not try to change your body 2 days before the audition!
This is another very common mistake dancers make: A few days before the audition, they decide that they want to look perfect and therefore start a new diet, over- exercise to get new shapes and muscles on their body, etc. As a result, by the time of the audition they are often exhausted, sore and lacking energy. Doing the opposite is the way to go: Sleep well, eat very well (get enough proteins, good fats and lots of veggies – reduce sugar as much as possible) and train normally – no more or less. It’s important that you understand that nothing that you will do to change a few days before an audition will actually make a difference on your looks! I see it more as self-sabotage!! Be smart about it!
5. Eat well and test what foods give you the most lasting energy in your regular classes.
A great way to prepare for an audition is to test before a class what foods give you the most lasting energy without feeling heavy. This will be different for everyone, so make sure you test this well in advance! The things you need to assess are:
– How long before the start of the class should I eat? (1h, 30min… ?)
– What foods work makes me feel light?
– What foods give me the longest lasting energy (the last thing you want is a drop of energy if you get qualified for the choreography part of the audition!)
– What snacks work best for me during breaks?
– How much water do I need to drink at any given point to feel on top of my game? (small sips taken more often usually work best and keep your body hydrated without feeling full)
6. Remember: You are ALL in the same boat!
It is easy to be impressed by all the other dancers around you in an audition, especially in the 30 minutes leading to the first class. You will see people more flexible than you, more technical than you, appearing very confident, some with better bodies, some with better outfits… And you will start talking yourself down. What you really need to keep in mind is that everyone here is stressed, worried, anxious, wanting to get the job and thinking the same things about YOU! By realising this and stop worrying about what they have to offer rather than focusing on your own unique attributes, you will be miles ahead of your competition!
7. Use meditation as stress-relief before your audition.
Stress is one of the top issues dancers face in audition. This is why I have prepared an audio meditation to take care of that for you! The best way to use it is the night before as well as 30 min to an hour before the start of the audition. It has already done wonders down-under for many Australian dancers and I am sure you will love it too! You can find more about it in my book: How To Be A Ballet Dancer.
At the end of the day, your performance and preparation are only half of the decision for you to join or not a specific company. If you can leave an audition feeling empowered, having learning new things and feeling more confident about your ability as a dancer (without relying on the results of the audition) then you will be a winner no matter what!
Dancers who aspire to perform more than one time at the Nebraska Dance Concert should explore our different ND program offerings. We offer a variety of programs and commitment levels for dancers to enjoy and work towards their goals. The programs listed below all perform in our Annual Winter Showcase, Benefit Concert, and Dance Concert. In addition depending on the program, they also participate in conventions and competitions.
This program offers an excellent opportunity for dancers to explore their love for dance, learn to work with a team, and have additional performance opportunities. Our desire is for the ND Crew opportunity to be a simple way to gain more performance opportunities. This can also be an excellent way for dancers to explore their interest in dance and determine if pursuing additional dance opportunities will be part of their dance journey. Crew is for K–12th grade; Mini Crew (K-1st), Crew A (2nd-3rd grade), Crew B (4th – 5th grade), and Crew C/D (6th-12th grade).
Director Charisse Deuel Schram – [email protected]braskadance.com
No Audition Required
This program introduces dancers to performance and competition on a local/regional stage by training fundamentals in jazz technique and choreography. Team is a great opportunity for dancers who love performing on stage and are looking to try out competition dance.
This program introduces our littlest dancers to performance and competition on a local/regional stage by training fundamentals in jazz and performance. Pre Jumpstart will expose these dancers to the process of learning and rehearsing a dance for the competition stage in an effort to inspire, motivate, and ignite the young dancer’s passion for dance and for excellence.
Ohio University sophomore Morgan Arcoraci was at a dance audition a few years ago when disaster struck. “People kept coming up to me, asking for my name. I thought I was really killing it!” she recalls. “It turned out I’d pinned my number upside-down. When they asked me to fix it, I was so upset I started shaking.” But after taking a moment to refocus, “I realized how funny it was,” she says. “Being able to laugh about it got me through the rest of the audition.”
Dance auditions are always stressful—but you shouldn’t let audition-related anxiety keep you from performing at your best. If auditions give you the jitters, try these tips to ease your nerves.
Breanne Granlund in American Ballet Theatre’s Don Quixote (Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy ABT)
Part of what makes auditions so nerve-racking is that they’re filled with unknowns. Doing some advance research will give you a sense of what to expect. “For a school, what is their syllabus style? For a company, what work do they perform? What does the audition entail?” asks Kate Crews Linsley, academy principal at Nashville Ballet.
You’ll also have less to worry about if you feel like your body is ready for the audition. As the big day nears, fuel yourself with meals and snacks that make you feel good. (That might include treats!) Linsley also recommends honing your approach to class. “Look for the nuances in movement and musicality,” she says. “If you’re used to paying attention to specific details, it will be second nature in the actual audition.”
Psych Yourself Up—Not Out
At American Ballet Theatre corps member Breanne Granlund’s first-ever audition, “I got so nervous that I shut down,” she remembers. “I couldn’t pick up a single combination.” Determined to overcome her fears, she learned a valuable coping strategy: to trick her brain. “If I started to get worked up, I’d tell myself, ‘I know I can do this.‘ If I wanted to cry, I’d make myself laugh instead,” she says. “Over time, it got easier. Imitating confidence turned me into a more confident dancer and person.”
Why does this strategy work? According to Dr. Linda Hamilton, a clinical psychologist who specializes in performance, the way you talk to yourself really matters. “Predicting that you’re going to fail can make you so distressed you can’t focus, which can lead to more mistakes,” she explains. Positive self-talk, on the other hand, can help you feel capable of tackling the task at hand. “If you’re worrying too much, practice stopping those thoughts,” Hamilton says. “Then, replace them with something constructive. If all else fails, think about what you would say to your best friend, write that down, and use it on yourself.”
Granlund performing in La Bayadère (Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy ABT)
“If I’m feeling agitated or frantic, I don’t want to be alone,” Arcoraci says. On audition days, she tries to surround herself with people she trusts to love and accept her no matter what happens. Her advice for picking your companions? “They don’t have to be crazy about dance. They do have to be crazy about you.” Their job is to pump you up and/or keep you grounded; essentially, they can tell you the things you’ve been trying to tell yourself. Plus, when you’re in an unfamiliar setting, it never hurts to see a friendly face.
Nervousness isn’t just a mental struggle. It can also involve physical symptoms that might affect your performance. If you’re feeling lightheaded, shaky, or short of breath, there’s a simple but effective solution: “Yoga breathing can regulate stress hormones and calm you down,” Hamilton says. Before the audition, lie on your back or curl up in child’s pose and take slow, deep breaths, counting to five with each inhale and exhale. If your stress ramps up again during the class, return to this type of breathing with your hands on the barre or on your stomach and chest. Hopefully, you’ll feel those scary physical symptoms subside.
Arcoraci in class at Ohio University (Riley Perone, courtesy Ohio University School of Dance)
Learn as You Go
If you want to pursue a dance career, auditions are unavoidable. The best way to become more comfortable is to go to as many as you can. “Even if it’s an opportunity you’re not sure you’re interested in, you can benefit from the experience,” Linsley points out. “Plus, having more options puts less pressure on each individual audition.”
Of course, no matter how prepared you are or how well you perform, an audition might not go your way. You can’t control how many slots are available, what type of dancer they’re looking for, or whether one of the decision-makers happens to be in a bad mood. As Granlund puts it, “You can’t possibly know what’s going on inside the judges’ heads, so it’s not worth getting worked up over. It’s like diagnosing an illness on the internet—you’ll always end up with worst-case scenarios.”
To calm your anxious mind, try to let go of the outcome and focus on the now. “Don’t view an audition as an all-or-nothing experience, where if you don’t get this part or position, you’re a failure,” Hamilton says. “It’s a chance to do something you love. It’s a chance to grow. You never fail by learning.”
Selecting dance auditions that fit your goals is smart career planning. Every audition, however, provides an opportunity to learn from the experience.
Make the most of your experiences by being ready for anything… before, during, and after your dance auditions.
Before Your Dance Audition:
and those which show your uniqueness.
- Don’t try to perform anything that’s too difficult for your technical level.
- In the weeks beforehand, give several practice performances for your teacher, friends and family.
- Practice performing in the clothes and shoes you’ll be using.
- Make copies of anything you may need, e.g. sheet music, promo pieces, etc.
- Check pointe shoe ribbons, review choreography, music, etc.
- Check to see if there are practice rooms or studios to warm up on site.
- Make sure your kit looks good and you have extra business cards.
What to bring to the dance audition:
The most important thing to have with you is your headshot (8×10, black & white is still the standard) with a resume and/or biography attached to the back.
Always update your materials regularly, and re-order the information so it is tailored to each audition opportunity.
- Bring basic things like a photo ID in case you need to identify yourself at the audition.
- Don’t forget extra copies of your photo and resume.
- Always carry water and an energy snack.
- Dress appropriately, but look and feel comfortable
- Bring extras of anything important – artistic, personal or medical.
During the Audition or Interview:
- Stay calm, and collected, always speak slowly and clearly.
- Listen to a question and pause before answering. If you don’t know. it’s alright to say so.
- Arrive at least one hour before your audition to check in and find your way around.
- Be prepared to be flexible – many times you’ll only be asked to present a short section of what you have prepared, or to present an additional or different type of piece.
- Don’t forget to warm up beforehand.
- Breathe and relax.
- Before your audition begins take a quiet moment to mentally prepare.
- Stay focused on doing your best and don’t compare yourself to others.
- Enjoy yourself, after all an audition is just another opportunity to perform!
After Your Dance Audition:
How Did I Do?
One of the most difficult things about auditioning is having an accurate perception of how you came across. Just because you felt you did a fantastic job doesn’t mean the jurors did.
But more often the reverse is true. We are usually much harder on ourselves than others are. Try not to take audition results personally particularly since you have no way of knowing all the factors that came into play in the decision-making process.
Sometimes you can get feedback from the adjudicator’s notes if you call the office and request it.
Start your own audition/jury notebook to write down any information you get (even if you disagree), as well as your own reflections on all aspects of the audition. Write down what you felt good about and the things you want to do differently in the future.
The more you can learn and grow from the audition process the more success you will achieve.
In addition to the links above, find more audition advice below:
Depending on the time of your audition, you may need to eat more than a snack that day. Check out this recipe for a “nerve-calming” salad!
Janaea Rose Lyn (McAlee) is the currently full-time faculty and Dance Coordinator at Estrella Mountain Community College in Arizona. Previously she was Assistant Professor of Dance and Performing Arts Program Coordinator at Cecil College in Maryland. She is the author of Dance This Notebook with Artist Laura Higgins Palmer and is a contributing writer for Choreoclinic. Janaea was Founding Artistic Director of both Convergence Dancers & Musicians and Dance Matrix, and she remains active as a Third Generation Isadora Duncan Dancer. Information at www.janaearoselyn.com.
Students will audition in either the Intermediate or Advanced classes, or a combination of both. The student may assist in the decision of what class they prefer by speaking with faculty during check-in. Participation in both ballet and modern technique classes are requested. Pointe work will not be required. In addition to the classes, the student is invited to observe other classes during the day.
The prospective candidate is also asked to perform a solo piece of approximately two to three minutes. This piece is the applicant’s choice, and can be either self-choreographed or a work set on the applicant. The solo will be performed in the studio after the candidate has taken a technique class. (No tap, please).
A dance resume is requested.
Individual interviews and lunch will occur before classes. It is recommended you bring a nutritious snack with you.
There is a locker room near the studios. Please come prepared with appropriate attire for a ballet class and modern class.
Dancers should wear tights with a leotard or black opaque tights and a solid fitted T-shirt, leotard, or unitard.
Dancers should wear tights or shorts with a leotard or black opaque tights and a solid fitted T-shirt, leotard or unitard.
8:30 a.m.: Check-in, Loretto Hilton Center lobby
8:45 a.m.: Tour of the spaces and discussion of the program (parents welcome)
9 a.m.: Interviews begin, and will be scheduled individually throughout the day (parents attend information sessions)
10 a.m.: Observe classes, and lunch
11:30 a.m.: Intermediate/Advanced Ballet Class
12:50-1 p.m.: Present Solos
1 p.m.: Intermediate/Advanced Modern Class
2:20-2:30 p.m.: Present solos
2:30 p.m.: Optional campus tour, including Residence Halls
Take a Virtual Tour
View the Loretto-Hilton Center, which houses the Department of Dance and the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts.
Whether you’re seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree, we’ll help you achieve academic excellence preparing you for future career successes. The first step is to fill out our application.
Learn more about our accreditation, which applies to all of our campuses, regionally and beyond.
Find out how we support the more than 50% of undergraduates who transfer into our community.
Connect with us to find out how we can help answer those admission- and financial-related questions.
Prom. Graduation. Dining out. Hanging out. Studio practice. In-person classes. Performances. When it comes to the many things we took for granted in the past, the list could go on and on.
Throughout history, self-expression through dance has proven to be a powerful means of perseverance and survival. Unfortunately, the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it much more difficult for dancers to perfect their craft. From makeshift home studios to outdoor rehearsals, dancers all over the country have exercised their resilience by being creative and finding ways to keep dancing, despite the obstacles 2020 threw their way.
As we approach the dreaded “second wave” of the pandemic, dancers aren’t the only ones getting creative. Virtual learning is likely here to stay, which means many schools and ballet companies will likely be hosting auditions for scholarships, summer intensives, and new productions virtually more often than in-person.
If that’s the case, we want to make sure you feel confident and prepared! In-person auditions are nerve-wracking enough, but being on camera for auditions can come with its own set of challenges. Below, we put together a few tips and pointers for auditioning online.
As with any audition or casting call, you should always start preparing by doing some research. Knowing factors such as the company’s mission, the producer’s style, and the production’s origin can help you feel more familiar with the role you are auditioning for.
This will also help you get a better feel for what the casting directors will be examining as they make their decisions. Perhaps, they want a dancer who can embody a strange character. On the other hand, they may be looking for a dancer who specializes in a specific technique. Whatever the case may be, your research can give you the answers you need to be able to audition confidently.
At least a day before the audition, make sure to set up your space so that it is ideal for dancing. First, tidy up the area, removing anything in the background that might be distracting to you or your online audience. Your space will need to be wide enough for you to be able to stretch out and dance without being out of the frame. Make sure the area is free from tripping hazards as well.
While setting up, ask a family member to help you do a test run of the call. Check your Wi-Fi quality to ensure there is no disruption to the video quality as you move around the room. Test the audio to make sure you can clearly hear the other person. This is important since you’ll need to listen for directions during the audition. Use lamps or natural light to ensure your area is well-lit and clearly visible.
Position the camera so that you’re far enough away to be fully in the frame as you move, without being so far from the camera that your face and posture are hard to see. It’s a good idea to place your camera on a table or chair so that it’s leveled to your midsection. As you step back, your full body will come into the frame without any odd angles. If necessary, use small pieces of tape on the floor to mark the best spot for you to stand. The more you prepare your space ahead of time, the more comfortable you will be in it during the audition.
Auditioning online may not seem to require as much energy as an in-person audition. Don’t be fooled into letting the camera give you a false sense of security. Just because you aren’t in the studio, that doesn’t mean your audience won’t notice slouching or lazy arms and flimsily pointed feet. In fact, online auditions might actually make these mistakes more noticeable, since there are fewer things for your audience to be distracted by.
Take your virtual audition seriously by making time to prepare your body and mind for the big day. You’ll need to be fully energized and attentive as the casting directors interact with you online. The night before the audition, get a good night’s rest. A few hours before the audition, make sure you are hydrated and have eaten a light, nutritious meal. Right before the audition, take some time to warm up, stretching your muscles and practicing deep breathing to get your blood flowing. If you find yourself feeling nervous, make a conscious effort to calm down, and positively channel your energy. Prepare your body and mind to be eager to learn, energized, confident, and ready to participate.
Since virtual meetings replaced social gatherings this year, people are much more understanding of unavoidable inconveniences, such as lagging Wi-Fi or lack of physical, private (and quiet) space. However, don’t let those uncontrollable technical difficulties bleed into what you can control on camera, such as your stage presence, your posture, and anything else that expresses your professionalism as a dancer.
With that being said, treat a virtual audition just like you would treat an in-person audition. Make a great impression by showing up ready to listen and move. Stand tall and dance with just as much energy as you would in person. Don’t let the camera take away from your stage presence. Make eye contact with the camera often, giving the audience your attention. During downtime, keep moving and practicing what you’ve learned, as long as you’re not disruptive to the group. As if you were auditioning in person, you want to show the viewers that you are eager to learn and excited for the opportunity to audition.
Not all auditions may happen in real-time. Even if they do, some companies may require you to send over a digital application packet before you are selected to audition. While all audition requirements will vary based on the production, you should expect to have the following content readily available to send.
A nicely filmed dance reel will showcase your technique and form. See if the audition calls for a specific genre and tailor your clips to that. You should also have 2-3 headshots and full-body shots. If you can’t afford to hire a photographer, using a quality camera in front of a solid-colored wall as your background wall will work. Record a brief video introduction of yourself, sharing a little more about your dance experience. Lastly, have a dance CV available to email if requested. It should outline your dance experience that is relevant to the role. Be sure to note any experience you gained during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as virtual lessons or training.
We understand how frustrating and discouraging this year has been for many dancers. When you begin to feel discouraged, try instead to focus on ways to adapt to this new reality. Adaptability is one of the many things that make a successful dancer. By switching up your environment and the way you approach auditions, you are only improving yourself as a professional dancer!
Remember not to let anything stand in the way of your passion. When you feel you need support and encouragement from the dance community, catch up on our blog and connect with us on Instagram!
Auditions can be pretty intimidating, and if you are a dancer, I’m sure you can relate to this statement. There is always a seemingly long list of things you need to get and stuff you have to do before audition time. The many errands and money spent on preparation are never really the cause of a dancer’s crazy nerves. We can all agree that making sure you’ve perfected your dance routine come audition time is the cause of most stress pre-audition. Nevertheless, whatever it is causing the chaos in your mind, remember to take a deep breath and tackle one thing at a time. We are here to help!
Now, let’s ease some of that worry you may be having and start checking boxes off of your to-do list. Read on to be guided through the tedious (but very important) prep steps that ensure you are fully ready for your big day! Yes, there are a lot of things to take into consideration, but that is okay! By the end of this blog post, you will be able to brush off any pre-audition stressor that comes your way, remaining confident in the fact you’ll be all set and ready to go for audition day.
Let’s get started, shall we?
THE APPLICATION & RESEARCH PROCESS
Before you do anything, make sure you have reviewed your audition application thoroughly and jot down any audition rules and regulations. Find out if you need to submit a headshot along with your resume or if you’ll need to bring physical copies of your resume/headshot with you. Look for any information that will help you prepare your dance routine. Is the choreographer named? Are there past videos of performances? Do these videos provide any insight on the dance style or movements used? Research who you’ll be performing for at the audition. I know this may seem like a lot of extra work, but trust me, it makes such a big difference in the grand scheme of things.
In doing the research and learning more about the audition, prepare for the interview. You want to make sure you are confident and ace the interview, so study your stuff! Be sure to know the basics because there is no such thing as being TOO prepared. Learning more than you think they will ask is alright! You never know when that information will come in handy in the future. Lastly, do mock interviews with a friend or a parent and have them provide you with feedback. Doing a mock interview over and over can only benefit you more come the actual interview.
So, now that you have done the research and have a better idea of the audition in general, it is time to start PLANNING.
CREATE A CALENDAR
It is a MUST to plan far in advance for everything you will need and everything you will be doing. That means you need to decide on a hairstyle, a dance makeup look, and wardrobe. Of course, the dance routine you choose to do is on the list of mind-boggling decisions you need to make, but we’ll help you a little bit later with that. First, grab yourself a calendar and start marking down important dates related to the audition and write down reminders of practice time, what to concentrate on certain days of the week, so on and so forth. Creating a calendar will help you immensely, not only to make sure you don’t miss anything but to help keep your mind organized and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.
SELF-REFLECTION & EVALUATION
After you’ve developed a visual plan, it is time to reflect. You want to be sure to feel like your most confident self come audition day, so we recommend taking the time to do some self-evaluation. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Be honest with yourself because this is an essential part of audition preparation. Having the ability to assess your weaknesses and put a greater focus on these aspects of yourself will prove to be effective in your overall practice time and performance.
Next up is appearance preparation. Never wait until the last minute to plan this aspect of an audition because it will only end in you ripping your hair out with frustration. So, believe me when I say PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, especially since your hair is an essential aspect of your overall dance performance. If you haven’t researched who you’ll be auditioning for, then now is the time to do so! It will make planning your appearance so much easier. To narrow down what you should do with your hair and makeup and what you should wear, consider the dance style of the audition. Base your look on the type of dance you’ll be performing.
Once you’ve determined the best and most appropriate hair and dance makeup look as well as the most suitable outfit for the audition, make a list of all the things you need, breaking the list into categories–hair, makeup, wardrobe. Making a list allows you to locate where you can buy the products before leaving your house, so your shopping trips are more productive. Always shop smarter, not harder!
As for Dance Makeup, shop at Pretty Girl Cosmetics ! Pretty Girl Cosmetics has affordable, quality makeup all in one place. To ensure you feel confident and are in love with the products prior to purchasing, you can request FREE Makeup Samples of any individual product(s). Also, you have the option to customize your very own makeup kit, so it is that much easier to create the perfect makeup look for your audition! HAVE FUN shopping for your audition.
Practice, practice, PRACTICE! Make a schedule of the days and times to practice. Make sure you set aside time for things other than your routine like fitness, stretching, and even classes if you choose to take any. Plan your days accordingly. For example, if you do a full-body workout one day, don’t practice your routine repeatedly the next day. Take care of yourself and do what feels right. It doesn’t hurt to push yourself, but don’t overdo it either. You know you better than anyone, so trust your gut–if your body is trying to tell you something, listen to it!
Stay on a healthy regime and meal prep for the week. Talk to a specialist if you don’t know much about dieting and creating a healthy meal plan. You want to make sure it suits you and your body’s needs!
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Getting a good night’s sleep seems a bit impossible. You are so close to finally putting all of the time, hard work, dedication, and preparation you’ve done to the test. But, adding a few steps to your nightly routine can help ease your pre-audition jitters and help you get the beauty rest you need.
Prep your audition bag the night before and run through it a few times to ensure you have everything. Throw in anything you think will come in handy such as snacks, extra tights, or even a pair of headphones. There is no harm in packing more than you think you will need. It just makes audition day so much more relaxed in knowing that no matter what happens, you have a solution to it.
WRAPPING IT UP
All-in-all, there are a million different methods to prepare for a dance audition. We are all unique in how we like to do things, so do what works for you! This blog acts as a general guide in preparing you for your audition, giving you helpful information and advice that you can reference as you go along!
I hope this blog post helped ease some of your pre-audition stresses, and you now feel more confident that you will be ready for your big day! Also, you’ll be prepared for any future dance recitals, dance performances, or anything dance related! Be sure to download the free PDF printable below that contains everything mentioned here and more!
William Whitener held countless auditions when he directed The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, and he himself learned from legendary choreographers Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse about what it takes to make it on Broadway. Now he coaches ballet students on these skills when he guest teaches around the country. “Auditions require a certain amount of strategy,” says Whitener. He holds mock auditions and discusses all aspects of the process—registration, class and even how to make a professional exit. “Practicing for this kind of performance works better than telling dancers what they should do,” he says. “They need to actually do it.”
At some point in their training, most dancers will likely audition for a summer intensive, school production, commercial gig or professional company. How they present themselves from beginning to end can play a huge role in determining their level of success. To help dancers prepare for these opportunities, you must offer lessons in more than just technique. Reinforce the importance of positive and professional behavior while sharing tips on parts of the audition process that are often overlooked.
1. Some auditions should be skipped.
As their teacher, you can help dancers by assessing their individual needs and potential, then pointing them to the most appropriate audition opportunities. “Auditioning can be very expensive, so I try to encourage just a few options,” says Olivier Munoz, principal teacher at Orlando Ballet School. “Maybe I know they don’t have the right body type for a certain school, or maybe they just want to do an audition class for the experience. I try to guide them.”
2. Research pays off.
Marty Kudelka, who choreographs for stars like Justin Timberlake, advises dancers to research the job or the production before going into the audition. “With social media, it’s easy to find out what types of dancers they’re hiring and the qualities they share,” he says. “Find out about the choreographer and assistants, and what they’re doing now.”
3. First impressions are more important than you think.
Dancers are first seen when they approach the registration table. “Students should say their name and make eye contact with the assistant or director, then step back a bit so they can be seen,” says Whitener. At the end of the process, they should move away with good posture and efficiency. “Even when dancers are assembled in crowded spaces, stretching and filling out paperwork, they should know that we’re aware of how they’re interacting with each other and taking note of their organizational skills,” he says.
4. Audition order matters.
Encourage your students to sign up one after another, so that they might dance next to each other during the audition class. “If I’m dancing with someone I know I dance well next to, I’m probably going to feel more confident,” says Kudelka. “As a choreographer, it’s a lot easier for me to check off the whole group rather than sifting through who stays and who leaves. I’d say that trick works 90 percent of the time.” The earlier students can register, the better, since they will probably be positioned in the most visible spots. Late registrants might be stuck with a barre spot halfway out the door of a very crowded studio.
5. Proper apparel goes a long way.
Remind dancers to dress appropriately and not hide behind warm-up clothing. “The body should be without any cover,” says Munoz. “I’ve watched dancers take an audition class wearing legwarmers and even sweatpants. The director would say, ‘They obviously don’t want to be seen. Next!’” Munoz recommends neat hair, simple yet elegant leotards and clean, broken-in shoes.
6. Body language tells a story.
How dancers behave at an audition will speak volumes. Whitener advises not to fidget between combinations, for example. “Stillness is very important, so we can focus on the dancer,” he says. “The eye is going to fall on the calm and collected person, not the agitated and disorganized one, no matter how talented they are.” Have students practice how they enter and exit the floor between combinations so that they move with a quick walk or a slight run. For ballet auditions, Whitener suggests looking at Degas paintings for ideas about how they should stand on the side. When dancers are excused, remind them to thank the people in charge and exit the room gracefully.
Spring is in the air, which means we can finally look forward to little things like pretty flowers poking through the dirt, Spring Break, or taking a walk outside without wearing five layers of clothing. It’s also that time of year when kids are thinking about dance company auditions.
Whether your child is already in competition dance or a novice, auditions can be nerve wracking. To make the experience more positive and ease those jitters, here are some tips that will help them feel more prepared physically and emotionally before audition day arrives:
Practice regularly. If your child wants to be on a competition team, he or she should take dance classes in different styles consistently. It’s also important for them to take their training seriously every time they go to class. This will condition them to be ready for auditions.
Eat right and get plenty of rest. The more rest your child gets before the dance audition, the better off they’ll be. Have them eat a light, nutritious meal at least an hour before they arrive too. But don’t wait until the day before to start this regime, start now!
Stay informed. Dance studios want their students to succeed, so be sure to read the website, emails or any handouts they provide about the audition. If your child is new to the studio, it’s also a good idea for them to learn more about the competition team. That way, there are no surprises.
Dress appropriately. Make sure your child has the appropriate dance attire and hairstyle and knows exactly what to bring. It’s never a bad idea to pack an extra pair of tights, shoes, hair bands or bobby pins. And yes, neatness matters!
B e early. Arrive at the audition with plenty of time to spare so your child can warm up their body in advance and get familiar with the environment.
Think positively. The audition panel wants your child to do well, so urge them to think happy thoughts and remain calm. When anxiety hits, suggest they channel that nervous energy into enthusiasm for the choreography. If they miss a step, it’s not a big deal unless they make it a big deal. A little laugh or smile about a mistake shows they’re lighthearted and will be fun to work with.
Be gracious. From the moment your child steps into the dance studio to the end, it’s essential to treat fellow dancers and the audition panel with respect. Remind them to courteously ask questions and take corrections from the choreographer. Even if it isn’t the outcome they had hoped, being gracious is always good.
Be you. Remind your child there’s no need to compare themselves to others – just be you! Advise them to take all the hard work they’ve put into class and bring that passion to the audition. It’s important they perform the choreography with energy, enthusiasm and expression that shows the judges who they really are, not who they think they should be.
Remember, auditioning is a skill that requires practice and will improve over time. In order to grow as a performer and dancer, your child needs to learn what they can from good and bad audition experiences. Encourage your child to focus on the present instead of what the outcome will be. That way, they can relax, enjoy the audition and even have fun in the process!
Impact’s 2019-20 Company and Show Star dance team auditions are just around the corner. If you’re interested in having your child try out, look for dates and times soon on our website. Once posted, you can register online.
Once you and your dancer have decided to proceed with the audition process, ask your studio owner what your dancer can expect on that day.
When is the audition?
Some studios audition before the current dance year has ended. Others may have a date or a couple of audition dates in the summer. Other studios require the dancers to be evaluated in a week or two week dance intensive.
What should he/she wear?
Even if a studio allows for a variety of colored dancewear in their recreational classes, they may have more specific requirements during auditions. It is best to ask than to assume.
What will they have to do?
An audition typically consists of:
- Across the floor – leaps/turns, exhibiting certain skills
- Combinations or learning part of a dance in each style the dancer is auditioning for
- Possibly improv
Who is judging them?
Dancers may be judged by several dance teachers from the studio or a combination of outside judges (dance professionals who are not affiliated with your studio) and your studios dance teachers. Usually, there are at least 3 judges.
When and how do we find out the results?
You may receive a letter, an e-mail or they may be posted at the studio by number. The time frame to find out may vary from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
What exactly is she auditioning for?
When a dancer auditions in a studio setting, the audition process is used to determine placement on a team or dances. Some studios may offer a larger group of dancers an opportunity to for example, be in a jazz group together, but they may also have opportunities available for a select group of dancers to be chosen for a small group jazz dance, a solo, duet or trio.
Most children find comfort in knowing what to expect. The audition process is a wonderful learning experience. With a little information in hand, your dancer can go into his audition feeling confident and prepared.
Getting the results:
The period when you are waiting for your audition results can seem like an eternity. Remember each year begins with a clean slate and while it is great to set goals, make sure you and your dancer do not set yourselves up for disappointment. Be appreciative of the opportunities you receive and you will be off to a great start for the new year. If you have questions about your results, give yourself some time to gather your thoughts and schedule a time to speak with the studio owner.