“Auditioning can seem very scary but one thing
that is good to remember is that the people at the
front of the room just equally want to see you
In the life of a ballet dancer you will go through this process on a very frequent basis. From a very young age, through School Applications to your Graduate Year and all the company auditions that come with it. Even after you will have joined a company, you will very likely have guest teachers and choreographers coming through the door to cast their next piece of repertoire. This process can sometime be daunting, so how do you prepare for an audition and make it an enjoyable part of your dancer’s journey?
We thought we would share some of our tips and knowledge to help you get ready and confident, and to make sure you deliver your best on these very important days.
1. Be confident!
Easier said than done we know, but confidence can play a big part in an audition process. It will make you much more relaxed, you will have a good time and it will show.
How do I get confident you ask? Having been professional dancers for the past 10 years, we know it isn’t an easy task to build up your confidence. But small changes such as replacing negative thoughts by positive ones and setting achievable goals (aiming for one more turn in your pirouettes, holding that balance for an extra 4 counts, etc) will help you make you feel good and reassure you that you can also take on bigger and harder goals. And remember, you are your meanest critic! People can be harsh but you are very likely to be your own hardest critic. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes so start writing down your strengths and qualities and periodically remind yourself of what those are, as well as adding new ones as you evolve.
During an audition process, your confidence will also be shown through how you act and react. Remember to keep calm, trust yourself and more importantly enjoy it. Whoever is at the front of the room will see it and will recognise a sincere, natural smile to a forced one.
2. Wear something that makes you feel good.
Although we wouldn’t recommend wearing layers and layers of warm up gear, dirty ballet shoes, or an over used leotard, we all have some favourite dance apparel that never fails to put you in a good mood, and bring up some extra confidence in you. Make sure that it fits you well and compliment your line, and along with tidy hair and a discreet make-up, you are set to go.
3. Eat well and go to bed early.
Sorry for sounding like your parents but arriving to an audition in a fresh and rested mindset will help you to not over stress and make silly mistakes. Also remember to bring some snacks and a water bottle as some audition can include class, repertoire, pas de deux, meeting with the director, etc and can last several hours.
4. Come prepared.
The atmosphere in an audition can be very different to what you are used to in your everyday ballet class. There is likely going to be A LOT of other dancers in the room, a panel of judges watching you at the front and the class will be quick paced and possibly quite informal (ie. the teacher might not be giving corrections, the exercises might only be shown once or twice, the exercises’ combination might be very different to what you are used to, etc). In order to not be surprised by this new environment, ask your teacher to do a couple of recce (‘fake’ audition classes) with you. That will help you build your confidence up for the actual day. Feel free to get in touch with us if you’d like teaching and coaching from Claire and I as well as some help to prepare you for your upcoming auditions.
Having a look online at what kind of repertoire the company is doing would also be useful. Try to highlight some of the qualities they might be looking for and the style of movements that they perform.
5. Do not constrain yourself to 1 or 2 schools/companies only.
You will probably spend at least a few years studying or working there so we understand that when it comes to choosing where to apply, we all have our own preferences that might include one or two places only. However, we would recommend applying to as many places as you can and feel comfortable with of course. Schools and ballet companies usually have very limited spaces with a high number of applicants. On top of that, they unfortunately might also be looking for a very specific type of dancers for their upcoming repertoire and need as a company.
Our point is that the more places you apply at, the more chances you have. And wouldn’t it be the dream to have multiple offers in different schools/companies and you then get to pick the one that you prefer?
6. Do not let stress get the best of you!
The process of auditioning shouldn’t be scary. There will always be some stress when you step into that unknown but turn those nerves into a positive drive and show them that you are doing what you love and what you do best! If you are a naturally very nervous person, try doing some relaxation, yoga and breathing exercises. The more you will manage to control that stress the more at ease you and the people watching you will be. As Thomas Edwards rightfully said ‘the people at the front of the room just equally want to see you succeed’! It might be scary and intimidating but remember what you have to offer, your qualities and your strengths, and that all they want is to see how you could develop and evolve with them.
We hope that these tips will help you in your future auditions. And always remember that everything happens for a reason. It sounds cheesy but keep up the hardwork, the motivation, and believe in yourself. Go out there, enjoy yourself, and be confident, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
Claire and I wish you all the very best in your upcoming auditions!