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Dance Auditions: How To Act Like A Pro

dance auditions
By Sarah Beth Byrum

All around the world, people are participating in dance auditions for roles and positions in ballets, Broadway shows, corporate events, for cruise ships, dance troupes and more. If you are new to the process, here are a few tips on preparing for an audition so you represent like a professional.

Dress for Success

Know what the expectations are for attire. At my studio, female dancers know that to win me over, they should wear a solid colored leotard, tights, dance shoes, and a clean bun. Tights should be free from rips, stains or holes. Leotard should be well-fitted so that you aren’t concerned about straps slipping off. Undergarments should not show underneath your leotard – no bra straps, etc. Male dancers should come in form fitting dance attire, preferably in all black, with appropriate dance shoes for the role they are auditioning for.

Come Prepared

Know in advance what you are asked to present. For our Nutcracker auditions, dancers are asked to have a 90 second piece of choreography to present. Practice well in advance and match the style of choreography that you use to the style of the role you would like to be considered for. Don’t show skills you haven’t perfected yet. Clean, simple technique that showcases your strengths is the best choice.

Introduce Yourself

When you enter your audition, you should give your name, age, and role you would like to be considered for. An example of a great introduction is: “Hi, my name is Jillian Jones, I am sixteen years old, and I would like to be considered for Black Licorice or any other available role.” Be sure to smile, make eye contact with your evaluators and say thank you at the end of your audition. This is for my studio. Other auditions may have a different process. Pay attention to these details so that you enter and exit the audition as the company requests you to.

No Excuses

If you are having a bad day, feeling under the weather, or didn’t get a chance to review – DON’T announce it! Otherwise, our first impression is being put on notice that you aren’t prepared. Chin up, do your best, and if it doesn’t go well, you’ll have learned lessons for next time.

Make Music Easy

Bring your music on a device that can easily plug in to a sound system. Importantly, turn your passcode OFF, so your device does not get locked. Remove your case (most cases prevent a tight connection with an auxiliary cord). Download your music on to your device. Do not use YouTube or anything reliant upon a wifi connection.

Adjust your Expectations

We should all have goals in mind and work hard to achieve them. However, you also need to make sure your expectations are realistic. You must go into auditions excited about the opportunity to audition, but understand that there are many dancers and parts are limited. This should not discourage you from auditioning, but remember to embrace the experience whether you are cast or not.

Handle it with Humility

If you are cast in the role you wanted – hooray! It’s important to celebrate your success – you worked hard for it. Remember though, there are other dancers who wanted that part who did not get it. Be mindful of their feelings as well and be careful not to brag or make others feel bad. If you didn’t get the role that you wanted, you may start to wonder what you did wrong. The answer is, probably nothing! You might be tempted to compare yourself to the dancer who was cast, but nothing good can come of this.

There are a hundred reasons why that dancer may have been chosen over you and honestly, none of them are going to make you feel any better.

Take the time to be disappointed, then dust yourself off and get back in to the studio. Remember that you dance because you love it, and that is the biggest reward.

Published in collaboration with All That! Dance Company
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Also by Sarah Beth Byrum:

Teaching Resilience: Suck It Up Cupcake!

Dance Class: The Do’s and Don’ts

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