Audition season for summer intensives is just around the corner. This can be a stressful time of year, but it’s also an opportunity to cultivate and apply skills—dance skills, yes, but also the easy to overlook soft skills you need as a professional. Auditioning is a fact of life for a dancer, and learning to do it as well as you can will help you succeed. Here are five tips for upping your audition powers. Merde!
1) Be polite and professional before you’re even in the door.
You never know who will happen to be around in the parking lot, the registration area, or warm up space. A positive and gracious attitude doesn’t go unnoticed. Nor does the opposite.
2) Be prepared.
It’s important to be and look organized and composed, even if something goes wrong at the last minute. Carry an emergency kit with a needle and thread (or dental floss), extra bobby pins, a pair of tights without runs, and any other back-ups you might need. Also have an envelope with extra copies of your photos and CV, if you have one, in case of spills or rips.
3) Do your research.
Know as much as you can about the program for which you’re auditioning. Did someone from your school attend over a previous summer? Ask them about it! Look online. Ask your teachers if they have insights. Know why you want to pursue this program. Is it to learn a new style? To work with specific teachers? To get hired? Knowing this will help you to set your own intentions and prepare, and that kind of focus can help you stand out. It can also help you to stand out to succinctly articulate why a program is important to you when you thank the teacher and panel.
4) Reflect honestly after each audition.
Following an audition, take some time to seriously consider what you think you did well and what you think you could do better next time. Go deeper than, “don’t fall out of the quadruple pirouette.” Ask yourself which behaviors you should repeat next time and which you should alter. If you fell out of a daring pirouette, maybe attempt one fewer turns next time to ensure you dance cleanly. Or, maybe you usually nail them and a repeatable behavior is to push yourself with confidence. It’s up to you, but you’ll improve if you take the time to genuinely review your performance and the factors behind it. You might consider keeping a journal to keep track—and to look back on your growth!
5) Take care of yourself!
It’s intense to add auditions to your already-demanding schedule. Be sure to eat well, get enough sleep (or as close as possible), and try to minimize other pressures during audition season. This entails getting organized with your academic work in advance. The last thing you want to be thinking about when you’re being shown a combination is a paper due the next day. Think about your priorities and obligations ahead of time and try to make—and stick to—a schedule that will distribute your stress with as little drama as possible. That said, taking care of yourself also means keeping perspective. Whatever helps you do this—meditating, talking with friends, yoga, movie binges, reading, etc.—find some “you time” to enjoy it.