A quick survival guide to auditions
You’re standing in a sea full of other hopefuls. Hundreds of individuals identified by numbers printed on big white stickers anticipating their turn to show the panel what they’ve got. They call your number and your hands get clammy, you heart starts pounding and your knees start shaking – that’s the last thing you need before a dance audition! hether it’s your first time at an audition or one of the hundreds you have been through, the nerves that come with the experience can never really be completely avoided! I’ve put together a few tips that might help you at your next audition.
- Read the audition notice carefully and be prepared
The most important thing before an audition is to be prepared! Get to know what will be expected of you at an audition. This means making sure you arrive at the venue early allowing you to register and prepare yourself calmly. It also includes having all the right things with you such as shoes, clothing and other materials (particularly for musicals or jobs that require script reading).
Familiarise yourself with the guidelines as all auditions are different and run in various ways. The last thing you need is to be recognised for not following the rules of the audition which could tarnish your chances at receiving a call back. During the audition, be sure to listen intently and follow the instructions you’re given.
By being aware of how the audition will be run, you will have a leg up on those who come unprepared. Be aware that you may be asked to perform a solo piece, show a unique trick and possibly even something unrelated to dance where the panel of judges may be interested in seeing more of your personality. Always remain confident in yourself and be assertive in your actions.
- Dress to impress
In an audition where the panel of judges will see hundreds, even thousands of other people for a limited number of positions, you have to stand out from the crowd. To be recognised, try wearing a brightly coloured piece of clothing or something in your hair. Pick a feature that you would like to emphasise and work it. It’s easier to remember ‘the girl with the white rose in her hair’ rather than a number.
Another thing to keep in mind when dressing to impress for an audition is to know the role you are trying for. Whether you are auditioning for a hip hop music video or a 70s themed musical, by dressing the part you are showing an understanding to the panel of judges who are trying to fill a particular role. What better way to help the judges envision you playing the part of a ballet dancer than by having your hair slicked back into a bun?
Remember, this doesn’t mean you have to wear a costume that will make the judges chuckle or wear expensive or flashy attire. Rather, focus on something that will enhance you talent by remaining in the minds of the judges.
- Be professional
Show the casting crew your professionalism at all times! Showing up early to an audition will not only help you remain calm, but it will also show how reliable you are. Upon arrival, be courteous but not shy or brash and spend some time privately preparing yourself rather than pestering others such as crew members.
Although it might not always be required, carry your resume and a recent head shot with you. Think of it like a job interview. Avoid behaviours such as using profanity, chewing gum, behaving shyly or obnoxiously.
During auditions, things may not always go smoothly or according to plan. Messing up the routine, stumbling on your words and other embarrassing moments happen to the best of us. The important thing is to always be aware of your body language. It’s true what they say; actions speak louder than words. Pulling a face when you mess up, rolling your eyes or folding your arms across your chest are small actions that can have a big effect and often highlight mistakes that will often go unnoticed providing you continue on confidently!
- Warm up and Stretch
Just like our mothers harp on about eating our vegetables to make us strong and healthy, experts lecture athletes on the importance of warming up and stretching before a work out for well founded reasons.
Warming up will get your circulation going and give you more energy (so long as you don’t tire yourself out!). Meanwhile, stretching will give you better motion and greater force. It also gives you some time to prepare yourself mentally and physically in your own space. Try listening to some music privately through an mp3 player. This will help you block out surrounding distractions such as people who bring negativity and make intimidating comments. Most importantly, doing an aerobic warm up and stretching before your audition will allow you to comfortably execute all the steps thrown your way by the judges as well as minimise your risk of injury.
- Keep yourself up to date with dance
Try do as many classes as you can leading up to the audition without over working yourself. This will help you keep you fit and physically ready for an audition. Avoid limiting yourself by only participating in classes of one style. Branch out and push yourself by learning other styles. For example, if you are a jazz or ballet dancer, try other styles such as hip hop to widen your dance vocabulary and experience. You will learn to adapt to all different styles of movement you may come across within the industry and most importantly during you audition.
Although it may be daunting to enter a room where you are being analysed by several sets of judging eyes, it is important to remain as calm and confident as you can! Steady your breathing before you walk in and keep and smile on your face as you greet the judges. It is important not to be overly critical of yourself after the audition or apologize to the judges. Instead, remember that if you are right for the role, they will call you. If you don’t receive a call back, you know you tried your best and there are always plenty of more opportunities in the big, wide world of dance!
Good luck dancers!