So, since we are on the topic of auditions, I thought this would be the perfect time to discuss the ins and outs of different kinds of auditions while also touching upon beneficial preparation techniques, battling nervousness and how to stand out/demonstrate your greatness for a director! I have had my fair share of auditions since my first when I was only ten years old. Now, as an eighteen year old high school graduate, I have auditioned for plenty of summer intensive programs, college dance departments, and company positions. Hopefully some of these tips help and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!
Whether you are a seasoned auditionee or preparing for your very first audition, it is important to understand what to expect at an audition, particularly focusing on the program you are auditioning for and what the directors are looking for. Important reminder: Each ballet school and company are different, varying in size, location, and number of contracts available for the upcoming season. Also, the ballet world is a subjective world; not being accepted into a program does not mean you are a bad dancer. Do not take rejection personally!
There are a few ways I like to prepare for an audition…
1. Research the school, company, or college dance department you are auditioning for.
2. Eat (extra) healthy foods the day before and day of, i.e fruits, vegetables, protein. Eating well fills the body with positive energy so you will be at your peak performance. Fun fact: My favorite snack before an audition is a Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna Bar.
3. What to wear?! First, check the website of the place you are auditioning for. They may have a required dresscode for the audition. If there is no dresscode, then this is your time to shine and show your own personal style. I have seen some crazy outfits in auditions; neon colored tights on men, black tights on women, flowers and bows in hair, and awesome leotard styles and colors, I do not recommend going “over the top”, but the point is do not be afraid to be bold. The ultimate goal is to get the directors to notice you. For more information on style, check out Tiler Peck’s “What to Wear to an Audition” video on YouTube @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLs0VbegFpo
At the Audition:
You feel incredibly prepared to tackle this audition. You’ve done your research, ate a hardy breakfast, and are wearing your most flattering leotard and then you walk into the studio. BAM! FEEL NERVOUS YET? I know the minute I walk through the doors and see the enormous crowd of bunheads my stomach drops and my fight or flight senses tell me to run away as fast as I can. Don’t worry, because chances are every other dancer there is feeling the same exact way you are.
1. The first and best thing to do is to take a deep breath. Listen to that little voice inside your head telling you, “You can do this”, because you can.
2. Check in at the registration desk. At most of my auditions, especially for the big open call auditions for companies like American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet, there were very long lines of dancers waiting to be registered and receive their audition number.
3. Once registered, begin your warmup. For me, this is always the worst part in terms of nerves. Everyone likes to think of the “warming up stage” of an audition as the “show off” stage. Do not let yourself get psyched out. I like to put in my headphones, jam out to music, and focus on myself and my body. Fun fact: My go-to song before an audition is ‘Free Bird’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
4. Give yourself a short pep-talk, go into the studio when called, and just dance your heart out! While in my audition classes, I make sure to utilize my technique, have a pleasant smile on my face, make eye contact with the directors, and bring that extra little spark of artistry to my dancing. Think of an audition as a performance; you are performing for the directors in the front of the room. Side Tip: At the end of every audition, I like to be the last to bow and say thank you to the directors. This tactic may leave them remembering you more so than the other dancers.
5. Now, you wait for the results. Results may come through as a letter, an e-mail, or you may find out at the audition itself. Hope for the best and always remember rejection is not personal. Acceptance and rejection happen to everyone.
I sure hope those tips helped you out! They can also be used for any kind of audition like Broadway/a job interview/a sports team etc.
A few personal audition short stories I’d like to share…
I auditioned for The Juilliard School this past March. Out of 50 girls and boys, they called back only 12 dancers and I am proud to say I was one of those 12.
I had my first round of professional company auditions this year (as opposed to summer intensive auditions). At each there were about 200+ men and women and they were the most nerve wracking auditions I have ever completed thus far.
I have fallen in an audition before.
I have done movements I did not know I could do before (that moment you do a triple pirouette in an audition and the director sees it!).
I have dealt with an equal amount of rejection as I have acceptance.
I auditioned for 8 college dance departments this year and was accepted into 6 of them.