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Dance Audition Don’ts!

By Rebecca Martin of Dance Informa.

You’ve landed your dream audition for a company, school or production and you’re all prepared for the big day. Or are you?

Hopefully you know what you should do, such as arrive on time, wear appropriate attire, pay attention, be respectful of others, etc. – but do you know what irritates potential employers or teachers?

There are a number of cardinal sins that dancers make when attending auditions and Dance Informa has compiled a list of things you absolutely shouldn’t do. Ignore our advice at your own risk…

DON’T be unprepared

This means many things. Have the right shoes and have spare shoes just in case. Pack a needle and thread, band aids, resin, hair pins, knee pads, Advil, anti-inflammatories, a change of clothes, music, sheet music, a copy of your CV, head shot, completed application form, water and snacks.

You don’t know what might be needed of you on the day of, so you must be ready for anything. If you are going to a theater or studio you’ve never been to before, the floor could be sticky or slippery so bring different shoes and wear what works best.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically as well. Get plenty of rest the night before the audition, eat an energy filled breakfast, and warm-up your body before the audition. 

Do your research on the school or company so that you are able to answer questions when asked. By saying you don’t know the answer to something, you’re really saying that you don’t care enough to learn.

DON’T be late

No one wants to hear about the traffic on the freeway, your train delay or whether your bus broke down. Leave home early and account for any possible mishaps on the way in to the audition. If you want the job or the place, then you need to prove it. Things may go wrong but you need to show that you can still be relied upon. If you’re late to an audition, it’s safe to say you will be late to rehearsal, class, photo shoots and possibly even performances. Being late is disrespectful to the other auditionees, not to mention the people holding the audition.

DON’T be insulted

Often the criteria for a place or role is very specific and you may not be the right height, build or sex. Try not to become disheartened or insulted if you don’t get the role.  Definitely don’t be rude to the auditioners or complain to other dancers about the school or company. The dance world is tiny and you are likely to run into these people again so you don’t want to burn any bridges. For all you know, you may attend another audition down the track and be exactly what they are looking for.

Not every dancer is right for every position and the constant rejection can be hard. The best you can do is just keep working hard and stay positive. 

DON’T hide in the back

If you’re going to do this, you may as well stay home because you want to be seen.  You also want to show that you’ve got initiative, confidence and drive. Naturally, you shouldn’t be pushy or show off, but you need to present yourself. Be polite, attentive and give your all.

DON’T do your own thing

Sure, you may be able to do seven pirouettes or hitch your leg up around your ear, but if you have been asked to do a double pirouette and keep your legs low in a combination then that’s what you must do. Never change the combinations you are shown. You are being assessed on how well you pick up choreography, pay attention to detail, listen to and apply corrections, and adapt to different styles of dance. It’s okay if you make a mistake in a combination, so long as you aren’t consistently stuffing up throughout the audition. We all know nerves can get in the way of an audition, but you will also get nerves on stage and before assessments, so you need to show that you can work under pressure. If you make a mistake, move on and show that you aren’t fazed by it.

DON’T forget to let your personality shine

All the technique in the world can only get you so far. Be engaged at the audition, smile if something is funny, show emotion in your dancing where appropriate and be yourself in spoken interviews. Your personality will ultimately set you apart from the other dancers in the room.

Make sure to check out Dance Informa’s Audition directory for auditions and casting calls around the country and internationally.

Photo (top): © Diego Vito Cervo | Dreamstime.com

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