Dancers: Audition Tips!
Be on time!
As they say in the “biz”: “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is fired!” (Or in this case, not hired). Get to your audition at least 30 minutes early. It will give you extra time to stretch, shake off some nerves, find the restrooms and fill out the necessary paperwork – be sure to know (or at least have saved on your phone):
- your measurements including height, waist, hips, bust/chest, inner leg, shoe & hat size
- your agent’s contact info (if you have one)
- your upcoming availability and conflicts with rehearsals or shoot days.
Do Your Homework!
If possible, it’s always helpful to be able to answer these questions about who and what you’re auditioning for before the call. Maybe you’ll get lucky and have a week to prepare, but in commercials it’s often only the day before.
- Who’s running the audition and have you met the casting director and choreographer before?
- Check out the director’s work on IMDB and google so you can reference it if you get to have dialogue with her/him
- Is it for an agency, commercial, or a dance company? Remember each has different requirements and again a quick google can tell you loads about a dance company, or what the brand is about
- Are they looking for multiple styles of dance? Always ask so you can be as best prepared as possible.
- Is it a solo, improv, or a group audition?
These are all important to know going into the audition room. If it’s a solo, practice your routine daily! If you don’t want to choreograph your own piece, ask a friend or a teacher to help you come up with something that shows off your technical prowess and some moves you do especially well.
Prep Your Resume and Headshot!
Not every audition is going to require one (doing your homework will help you figure out when to bring it in or leave it at home) but if it is asked for, make sure your headshot is:
- Shot from the shoulders up
- Fits 8×10 dimensions
- The main focus of the image is the head
- Printed with your name on one of the bottom corners
- Has a simple white (or neutral) background
Don’t know what to wear? Pick a color to wear that people tell you that you look great in. (If you don’t know, ask family and friends!) Sometimes a call may even ask for a three-quarter or body shot. You will want to wear something form fitting, as these will help the casting team determine how your body will look on camera or stage in action. These can be shots in which you are demonstrating a specific skill (splits, leaping, etc.) or just a simple pose.
Dress for the job!
Some castings require auditionees to wear certain types of clothing. A ballet role is going to want to see you in leotard, tights, ballet slippers, or pointe shoes. A hip-hop role will want you to express yourself through your outfit. A contemporary role will require bare feet with leggings and many commercial jobs require heels. However, make sure your dancing isn’t overshadowed by your outfit- it shouldn’t be the sole reason they remember you. Make sure to bring the proper shoes – especially if you’re going to audition in multiple styles.
Let Your Smile Shine!
Always say thank you – to the choreographers, to the casting directors – when you’re given a correction or at the end of the casting session. They’re human, and usually they’ve had a long day – a little humor and kindness goes a long way to make yourself stand out. Coming into the room or stepping out on the stage with a smile and positive energy certainly never hurt anyone!
Be sure to clap for your fellow dancers after they’ve performed, no matter how well it went for them. You’re all in this profession together, and you’re bound to run into each other every now and then. You do not want a sore reputation to be the reason you didn’t get the gig. If you make a mistake during your routine stay in it – smile, and continue on as best as you can. If you don’t let them see the mistake in your face, they will take notice of how well you can recover from one. In short, always aim to be the kind of person someone would want to work long hours in rehearsal with. Radiate warmth, confidence and positivity, and you’ll begin to see a marked difference in your audition experiences.
Keep an open mind!
Sometimes a casting director will ask you to demonstrate a different skill or style than you walked in ready to do. It’s not a trick, they just want to see what else you can bring to a gig. It’s just another opportunity to show off a different part of what you love to do. If you’ve followed the steps outlined above in getting ready for the audition, you will have prepped anything they might ask you to do, and you’ll impress them not only with your dancing, but with your preparation and professionalism as well!
Give it your all!
One of the biggest anxieties surrounding auditions is that every casting director wants you to be terrible so our job is “easy”. And that’s simply not true and it’s actually the opposite. Our job gets boring when we don’t get to see the best of you in your audition. You’re putting yourself out there to perform – every audition is just another chance to do what you love.
Have faith in your skills, and let the panel see your passion and dedication to your work. You being fully present, truthful, personal, and vulnerable is going to make us want to work with you. We’re rooting for that every time you walk into the room.
Keep it up!
So, you didn’t get the gig – that’s okay! Not every audition is going to end in a booking – even if it was the best audition of your life. Even the best, most disciplined, most experienced performers won’t get every job they audition for. Holding yourself to that idea of success will make it harder to brush off rejection.
Auditioning is a skill in and of itself. It takes time and practice to do it well. The first few auditions are always going to be rough. Instead of going to auditions focused on getting the job, challenge yourself to make a goal for each audition. Maybe one audition you could focus on your energy and how to be a positive influence in the room, and another you could focus on the performance aspect of your routine. Keep your skills fresh by going to class and maintain a regular exercise routine and diet to stay at the top of your game.
By Hannah Paquette, currently interning at Mark Summers Casting.
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