How to Not Let Perfectionism Derail Your Audition Video

February 15, 2023

Audition pressure begins long before you set foot in the studio for a company class or cattle call, particularly when it comes to creating an audition video. Converting three-dimensional dancing to film’s two-dimensional plane can be stressful, especially when it comes to dealing with self-critique. But with the right guidance, you can avoid the pitfalls of paralyzing self-scrutiny.

You Shouldn’t Always Film It Again

Teachers and colleagues often say “You can always film it again” as a way of reassuring dancers who are unsatisfied with their video footage. But this suggestion isn’t always helpful, especially if you tend to obsessively refilm in an attempt at the perfect take. Instead of entering in-person auditions feeling strong and mentally resilient, you can feel burnt out before they even begin. If you are offered this advice, know that it is usually given with good intentions, but be aware that refilming is not always the answer.

Progress, Not Perfection

Perfectionism is an ongoing issue for most dancers; viewing ourselves on film can accentuate that tendency. One reason is that we aren’t accustomed to watching ourselves from the outside. Usually, performances are fleeting moments in time, captured only by our experience and memory. Video, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to watch those moments again—and again, and again—and overanalyze every detail (details that often go unnoticed in a live performance).

Instead of perfection, aim for your personal best and a general feeling of satisfaction with the outcome. Not only does this encourage us to accept ourselves as dancers, flaws included, it gives us the opportunity to move ahead with audition preparations.

Seek a Trusted Perspective

We’re often our own worst critics. Turn to a ballet coach or mentor that you trust to provide honest feedback on your video footage, especially if you’re filming on your own. Share which areas you’re concerned about and ask for their thoughts. The section you’re agonizing over may not register to another viewer. Remember that while it’s easy to get stuck on a minuscule detail, directors are looking at the whole package of your submission materials and the overall impression you give.

Set a Personal Deadline

Most companies have a firm deadline for submissions. It is, of course, essential to have your audition package, including your video, photos and CV, completed and submitted before then. But it’s also useful to create your own personal deadline in advance of company due dates. Though you may feel the need to refilm that combination “one last time,” having a self-determined stop date can help create a healthy boundary. The more time you spend on refilming, the less time you can focus on the other areas vital for your audition success: a strong, confident mindset, polished technique and organizing your travel plans. Knowing that filming can be a mental struggle, it’s best to go into the process aided with the appropriate emotional tools and support system, so that you come out on the other side ready to face in-person auditions head-on.