Auditions happen all year round, but with the new school year starting soon, new opportunities are probably going to come your way. From my experience, the worst thing that can happen at an audition is that you come unprepared. If you know you have an audition coming up, not matter how big it is, it's important to start preparing ASAP so you can be ready to do your best in the short amount of time you're given to show off your lifetime of work. After a year and a half of important auditions (3 of which I received great opportunities), here is my best advice I can give to anyone getting ready for their big break!
Plan out your audition day in advance. Don't wait till the last second to figure out your travel arrangements, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there, check in, and warm up. You don't want to come in flustered and have to jump right in to a barre exercise. You'll need time to warm up, stretch, and get in the zone to do the best you can.
...this includes your outfit
Plan what you're going to wear to the audition ahead of time. I am guilty of showing up late to various events because it takes me forever to figure out what I want to wear (and once I do figure it out, digging through piles of laundry and praying it's clean enough to wear). You don't want to get stuck wearing your spare leotard to the audition; you want to wear something you know you look your best in and feel comfortable in.
Treat Every Audition Like a Class
Most auditions are set up similar to a class. As far as the ballet auditions I've been to have gone, we've started with barre then moved into center and corner exercises. Whoever is leading the class might even give you corrections. The best way to calm your nerves is to get in the mindset that this is just a class. Take the corrections as if it were your own ballet teacher giving them to you. Work on your technique and show them how hard you would work if you are cast or accepted into the program. The more you focus on learning from the audition and treating it like a class, the more comfortable you will feel in that environment and it will be easier to showcase what you can really do.
...and if you mess up
JUST KEEP GOING! They won't be impressed with you if you get frustrated because you forgot a combination or fell out of a turn. If you messed up in class or on stage, you would just keep going and brush it off. Do the same in an audition.
Don't wear fifty pounds of makeup if you don't normally wear that much makeup to class just because you think it'll make you look better. Don't do a turn sequence during an improv section just because you see other dancers doing it. Don't try and land a triple turn when you know your double looks better. Wear that lucky scrunchie that you never dance without. Don't try and be something you're not because the judges will be able to tell and you will come across as fake. Plus, they'll miss out on the best parts of you!
...but if there's something you've never done before...
This is when you fake it till you make it. For example, my biggest weakness at auditions is that I am not trained in modern dance, and there's almost always a modern portion. However, judges know that many primarily ballet dancers have little to no experience in modern. All they expect of you is that you try your best and can adapt to new challenges. Don't be afraid to ask questions to clarify movements or counts. Pretend like you've been doing modern (or whatever the task may be) since you came out of the womb.
BE NICE TO THE COMPETITION!
I can't stress this one enough. DO NOT BRAND YOURSELF AS A BALLET BITCH. Don't try and show off your flexibility or how many turns or flips you can do while warming up. Don't give other dancers dirty looks. DON'T TRY TO SABOTAGE THE COMPETITION. Don't snap anyone's pointe shoes or steal someone's CD or cut holes in their tights or lock them in a broom closet. DON'T BE FAKE NICE TO THEM EITHER. Introduce yourself, ask them where they dance, follow them on Instagram...they are just as nervous as you are, so wouldn't it be nice for both of you to have someone friendly in the room to look at while you go through this grueling process? If they do something nice, tell them, and be sincere about it. Cheer them off if you saw them do their solo. Say good luck to them beforehand. Who knows, maybe you'll both get in and you'll become dance partners or room mates! The bottom line is, JOIN ME IN THE MOVEMENT TO GET CATTINESS OUT OF THE BALLET WORLD. Ballet is an art form that makes us look like beautiful, regal, and poised individuals. Act like one in every dance scenario you find yourself in. If the judges want you, they'll pick you, regardless of who else is there. Don't risk making yourself look bad or ruining someone else's chances just because you're too insecure to realize you have what it takes to make it on your own regardless of the competition.
Have audition materials in your back pocket
This includes a go to headshot, body shot, and solo. It's good to keep a supply of head shots and dance photos on hand in case you ever find out about an audition at the last minute or don't have time to plan another photo shoot. It's also a good idea to have a dance resume saved in your documents in case an audition or application ever called for one. Many auditions also require you to have a solo prepared, so keep the song on your phone (and bring a backup CD) and have a back pocket solo in case you were ever asked to perform one. My back pocket solo is The Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty.
Performance over technique
While your ballet technique is an important factor in an audition, don't underestimate the power of a smile and watching your arms while you dance. Technique is something that can be worked on, but the judges and teachers of the program or show aren't going to spend their time teaching you how to dance with your heart and perform on stage. At an audition, it is your job to show the panel that you are a performer first and a technician second. Yes, try and point your feet and turn out from the hips etc. etc. But what's really going to sell you to the judges is how well you can tell a story to an audience or how confident you will be when you step out on stage.
Don't put all of your eggs in one basket
Through the entire audition process, remember that this audition is not going to make or break your life. Have faith that if this is your destiny, your time will come. Out of the five big auditions I've went to in past year and a half of my life, I got cut from two and received great opportunities from the other three. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had made it through the ones I didn't, but it's important to remember that as a dancer, you are going to go through many auditions and not make all of them. Your path will become clear to you as you get older and go through more experiences in the dance world. It's okay to be heartbroken about not making it through, especially when it was for something you really wanted, but remember there are so many other opportunities out there. Don't let your whole career ride on one audition. For me, my next big audition is coming up on September 18 when I audition for Northeast Dance Center's production of The Nutcracker. If anyone in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire area is interested in auditioning with me, leave a comment or click the CONTACT page to ask me any questions! Oh, and wish me luck!!
Photo Credits Kayla Pacenka Photography
Hello there, my name is Becca and I am a 22 year old dance teacher from Massachusetts.
News & Events
9/18 Follow my new Instagram just for my dance things!
12/23 I was one of NDEO's Guest Bloggers this year! Read "Teaching is a Vocation. Not a Fallback" on their Behind the Curtain Blog!
9/27 I will be presenting my research at the National Dance Education Organization National Conference next week! See my research project by clicking the button below!
4/15 While working on PMA's production of The Addams Family, I got to combine my two favorite styles of dance (ballet and musical theatre) for "The Moon and Me"! Watch my talented students dance by clicking the button below!
2/20 I am choreographing PMA Theatre Guild's Production of The Addams Family! Come see these amazing high school students perform at Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen, MA April 13 & 14! Tickets available at the door.
2/20 I am stage managing BSU's Dance Kaleidoscope this year! Show dates are March 29-31 at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA. Come see this student choreography showcase!
11/5 I will once again be dancing in a BSUDC concert! Tickets to WinterDance are now available!
8/24 NDEO's National Honor Society for Dance Arts has published one of my articles in their newsletter! Read an updated version of "Audition Advice" here:
5/16 Interested in learning about movement concepts? Visit Becca's new Educational Dance website!
5/8 BSU Dance Company's Dance Kaleidoscope 2017 is now on Youtube! You can watch my performances by visiting the VIDEOS page!
4/23 I recently performed for the residents of Allerton House in Hingham, MA! You can watch part of my performance here!
Amesbury Children's Theatre presents...James and the Giant Peach Jr, featuring choreography by me! Click for tickets!
2/8 My piece "Barefoot" is now available to watch online! Click to watch!
2/5 Happy to say I have been cast in BSU Dance Company's Spring concert Dance Kaleidoscope! I will be dancing in 3 faculty choreographed pieces, including excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty in which I will be dancing the role of Lilac Fairy! Show dates are March 31-April 1 at Bridgewater State University.
Click the button for more info!
1/15 Ballet with Becca is now on Facebook! Click to visit the page, and be sure to like it while you're there!
1/14 I am happy to say I will be attending artEmotion's summer intensive in June! I will be dancing in the one week artEmotion Adult Program. If anyone would like to join or audition for any other artEmotion program, visit their website!
12/13 My photo gallery has been recreated! Click to see the new page, including photos from WinterDance 2016!