Summer Intensive Audition Tips

Published in the Dec 2009/Jan 2010 issue.
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  • A few weeks before the audition, write down corrections your teacher gives you in class to help you remember what you need to work on. If you have time, take a few extra classes.
    • Take a good arabesque photo—one that’s in focus, centered and, most importantly, reflects what you can do. (Hint: Pictures taken from below are more flattering because they lengthen your line.) You don’t need to spend money on a professional photographer, but find someone familiar with ballet (perhaps your teacher) who knows when to snap the picture.
    • Eat a good breakfast to give you the energy you’ll need for a stressful audition day. You’ll focus on the combinations as opposed to a growling stomach or, even worse, weak, shaky muscles. Also pack a snack in case you’re put in a later group and have to wait around.
    • Look your best. A solid-color leotard with footed pink tights (black tights and a white, tucked-in T-shirt for boys) gives a clean look that says you mean business. Pay attention to the school’s preferences in its audition announcement—for instance, all auditionees must wear a black leotard for the ABT audition. Hair should be neatly and securely pulled back to ensure your bun won’t unravel during pirouettes.
    • Arrive early enough to register and stretch before the audition. Rushing in at the last minute will make you nervous and flustered. And never arrive late.
    • An audition is not a good time to break in new pointe shoes. They will distract you just as much as a dead, mushy pair. Instead, start breaking in a new pair the week before, so that they’re both supple and supportive.
    • Leaning on the barre, sitting down, talking and chewing gum are obvious no-nos. But also be aware of unconscious behaviors—yawning, crossing your arms, resting your hands on your hips, picking at your nails or slouching—that say, “I’m bored.”
    • Follow instructions and go when your group is called. Cutting into other groups to give yourself extra chances is annoying to both the other dancers and the directors. Also, be aware of your number and make sure you’re standing in the right order.
    • Keep a pleasant facial expression. Look like you’re enjoying yourself—even if you can’t wait for the audition to be over!
    • Believe in yourself! Instead of comparing your technique to other dancers’, focus on your strengths and doing your personal best.