For enterprising ballet students, the beginning of the new year is a particularly exciting and nerve-wracking time. January is the start of audition season and serious ballet students set their sights on getting accepted into a prestigious summer dance program.
Summer intensives provide the opportunity for students to improve significantly in a short period of time; they are also a great place to meet new friends, work with different teachers and get a taste of what it’s like to dance for several hours every day.
Most summer programs require an audition (video auditons may be accepted, though schools typically prefer to see dancers in person) and schools can be very selective in whom they accept, so there are a few important points to remember when attending an audition:
- Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the audition in order to register and warm-up.
- Dress your best!
- Keep focused during the audition and concentrate on learning the exercises quickly. Schools look for students who are eager to learn and pay attention to detail.
- Smile! If you enjoy yourself it will be noticed. Auditioners want to fill their programs with dancers who love what they do and bring positive energy into the studio.
- Most schools ask dancers to bring a current photo with them. Have a teacher, parent or friend assist you in the studio with a photo shoot; many schools ask for a shot of the dancer in first arabesque or tendu à la seconde.
Most auditions do not set a specific dress code, but it is expected that ladies will wear pink tights, pink ballet slippers and a leotard and gentlemen will dress in a white shirt and black tights with black or white shoes. Most auditions include some pointe work, as well.
Wear a leotard that you feel is flattering and shows off your line; colored leotards are fine, but avoid patterns, neon hues and unitards. Ballet skirts are not a good choice in school auditions as auditioners are looking to see your lines clearly, and wearing “junk” (plastic shorts, sweat pants, etc.) is a definite no.
Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the audition in order to register and warm-up.
Finally, try not to be distracted by the other dancers in the room or compare your technique to those around you. Instead, spend your energy on listening and learning quickly. Auditioners are looking for students who are teachable and want to learn!
Frequently the dancer who shows real interest and seems hungry to learn will get a spot over a dancer with beautiful extension and feet who cannot pick up details in an audition. Natural talent and facility will only get you so far; dancers who work hard and apply themselves with good energy make the best students!
Remember that auditions are a great learning experience and that you can gain something valuable from them no matter what the outcome is. Have fun and enjoy the dancing!