Nobody will deny that taking a dance audition can be nerve racking but there are a number of things that you can do to to make sure you are prepared. Get into the correct mind set and think about what is key. Auditions begin before you leave the house in the morning. They should start with a good healthy breakfast that will keep you energized for the rest of the day.
When you leave the house remember to be on your best behavior and mindful of your manners. That woman that you didn’t hold the door open for when you arrived or the man that you didn’t offer to help with directions could very well be the person you are sharing a studio with for the next two hours. First impressions count wherever they begin.
At registration try and engage in some meaningful conversation. If they ask you a question try and respond with more than one word. This will show that you are confident, self assured, and able to speak for yourself. Allowing mum, dad, or your best friend to answer for you will not show the adjudicator anything about you. In fact it may lead them to believe the complete opposite. In my opinion, it would be much better to try and land face first than to have never tried at all.
Most adjudicators are looking for good technique. They also want to see how well you learn combinations. They also want to see your ability and willingness to learn No one wants to have to spend time teaching a student who is unwilling to learn or has an attitude.
During one of my recent auditions, during a pirouette combination, my foot went out from underneath me and I landed flat on my tush. The teacher was very sweet asking if I was ok and I could easily have wallowed in my humiliation, being in a class of older students, but I jumped up and continued with the combination. The fall was such that my mum heard a couple of mothers discussing the girl that fell at an audition the following weekend. That girl being yours truly. I showed them that I was willing to learn and push through.
From discussing experiences with fellow dancers it is clear that some of the auditions can become oversubscribed. Having over 50 dancers in each age group can be daunting. I am sure everyone has stories about the girl that wouldn’t make room at the barre or the girl that kept moving into your space. It is important to keep your head in these situations and not let the dance diva out. When it is crowded most adjudicators will split the room into groups. They want to see you as much as you want to be seen. Make sure that you are seen for the right reason and not because you had words with the girl who’s legs couldn’t keep to herself.
Do not fall into the trap of wanting to hang out with your friends. This is not a social event. The other thing to think about is that if you dance at the same school you will probably have similar technique and you will want to stand out. You do not want to appear as in sync with the girls around you as the cygnet corps of Swan Lake.
If you go through pointe shoes like they are going out of fashion make sure that you have a spare pair in your bag. Whilst some people maybe impressed with your needle work and reattaching ribbons or elastics, they will probably be more impressed with how prepared you are for life’s little emergencies. Try to get into the habit of keeping spares of everything in you bag. This includes band aids, hair nets, pins, toe pads and anything else that might be needed.
When you leave the studio remember to thank all the people giving the audition and the pianist, if called for. I know that you have given up a few hours of your day but quite often they have traveled far from home, endured various travel hiccups, bad food, weather issues and hours away from loved ones. Saying thank-you for the opportunity is the least you can do.
I am sure there is a huge amount of things that I could add, bu for now, keep these in mind. There are also a number of dance magazines that are out there that can give you more advice. I know that Pointe Magazine did a recent piece discussing what teachers/choreographers are looking for.