What do they look for?
I was recently at the USA International Ballet Competition scholarship auditions as a volunteer helping with registration. Excitement was in the air as the dancers placed their number on their leotards, warmed up for class, and were encouraged by their parents. Some dancers were ready for battle while others appeared to be flighty balls of nerves, unsure of what to expect. Wondering if there was some way to help the dancers with their nerves, I decided to ask the audition coordinators what their advice was for successfully approaching auditions. Below are the helpful tips they shared with me.
Be on Time and Prepared
There were a couple students who showed up to the audition minutes before it started. Not only does that add a risk factor of possibly missing the audition, but it also creates a level of unneeded stress. The audition’s organization also takes the time to make sure they have enough space available for everyone participating, so showing up without having done the required paperwork could lead to there not being enough room for everyone. While some may be forgiving, many auditions will not let dancers in if they haven’t pre-registered or don’t have the proper paperwork ready to go.
Clean Cut is Key
I asked one of the people in charge of reviewing applications for the USA IBC school about what they thought students should know when applying or auditioning. Their main comment was there is nothing worse than a messy appearance. A messy appearance distracts from beautiful technique. For example, there was one audition video of a male dancer who had medium length hair. The hair itself was not the problem. The problem was that the hair kept flopping in his face every time he turned or jumped. Another dancer was wearing sweatpants in their video, while another had random items lying in background on the floors of the studio. From big to little details, make sure that there is nothing that will take away from your technique. Be simple and clean cut so the people watching your video will not be distracted from seeing what you have to offer.
This tip includes being on time, confident in combinations, and respectful towards the people around you. Saying “please” and “thank you” may seem like common sense to us at Laurel Ballet Academy, but you would be surprised how rare that can be in other places. So something as simple as having good manners can help you stand out in a positive way. Another thing to remember is to not stand in the back when you are not dancing the combination. Instead, it is good audition etiquette to stand on the sides and leave room for the other groups to take their turn. While on the sides, DO NOT CHAT. It is distracting to others and yourself.
If you present yourself with confidence you will look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. A former teacher of mine would always share a story about when he auditioned for The Lion King on Broadway. During the middle of a combination, he completely forgot what the next step was; instead of stopping in the middle, he kept going and made something up. Since he was in the front of the class, everyone thought that he knew what he was doing and just copied what he did. The directors were impressed and, shortly after, he was hired. Now don’t assume that I’m promoting making up your own steps in the middle of class. I am saying that confidence will take you far.
Take these pieces of advice and apply them to your next audition. Being on time and prepared, clean cut, professional, and confident will help you make the most out of your audition. Whoever you are auditioning for will be able to see you at your best and nothing will distract them from seeing what you have to offer. Now it’s time to seize the day and take audition season by storm!