YouTube’s short documentary series “Joffrey Elite” gives us a quick glimpse at the tight competition between young and upcoming dancers who seek to secure a spot at America’s top ballet schools in New York. It’s shown us that unless you plan on twirling alone in your bedroom, auditions are necessary for advancing a dancer’s career. However, auditions don’t necessarily have to be as nerve-wrecking as reality TV hypes it up to be. We all know that the pursuit of a dancer’s life can be a personal choice- so while auditions are inevitable, why not make it more enjoyable for yourself? There are a few pre-emptive steps you can check off your list so you can focus on yourself ( here are a few tedious checkboxes to complete so you can focus on enjoying your routine)
BEFORE THE DATE:
Plan Your Appearance
While you may have graciously perfected your routine, it can be completely clouded by your attire – appearance matters. Choose a leotard that is flattering and tightly fit to ensure that you feel secure and comfortable in your turns. Solid colours are best, whether black, white, or a bold colour, but nothing multi-coloured. The goal is to look tidy, trimmed, and professional, from your hair to your fingertips. Even your pointe shoes and slippers should be polished to help you look your sharpest.
Another way to help you decide on how to look for the audition is to explore the company’s website. Some may provide more details on what they expect. If a black or white leotard is expected, you may want to include a small ornament or some glitter (but not too much!) that will help judges distinguish you from everybody else. However, no dangly jewelry accessories as these may inhibit your movements.
Research The Company
Similar to a job interview, you want to learn about the company to understand what sort of candidates that they’re looking for. Do your research on the company, their history, their dancers, and the dance techniques that have been employed in their choreography. All of this should be available on their website or on YouTube.
Prepare Your Body
Ballet is no joke. Your body needs all of the energy it can get to perform well. Be well fed, eating three balanced meals, with an absence of alcohol, sugar, and excess fat, every day for the weeks leading up to the audition date. Reward your body with good nutrients so you can have the strength to pick up movements quickly. Not only that, eating right is good for the brain and mind, and in turn, your brain will keep you focused and calm on the audition date.
ON THE DAY OF:
Water is the elixir of life and energy. Of course, it’s important to stay hydrated but do not bring a bottle of water into the audition room. Since the audition itself is only 30 minutes to 1 hour long, it is considered rude to bring your water into the room. Having said this, drink up and keep your cool before entering.
Just like your classes at home, you should warm up before any performance to eliminate any additional tension found in the body. A barre may be available for your warm up needs, however it’s not always guaranteed. Stretch early so there’s enough ample time to get yourself in the zone and to calm your nerves. Having said this, be sure to prepare your body but prepare minimally- save your energy for the audition room.
Be Your Pleasant Self
Auditions are exciting because you’re one step closer to furthering your dance career. You may be overwhelmed with the number of other dancers auditioning for the same spot, but don’t let this sour your attitude. Judges can see whether you are being rude to other candidates, and that’s not the sort of impression you want to give. Understanding your moves is rudimentary, but the ability to emote great (positive) energy will make you shine in front of the judges.
Dance is the expression of the body, and a form of self-love for many others, which is why you should take the time to care for yourself. While you may have followed all of these tips to the T, it is also important to note that the key to success is having a positive mentality.
Remember, an audition is not a competition. Companies are not rerouting the best dancers; they are taking in dancers that best suit their style. You don’t always have to strive to be principal, even if you plan to be one day, because being the corps de ballet is a real skill that’ll get your best foot forward in succeeding in that audition.