One. Be rested so that you can be your best.
Two. Make nutritious meal choices, starting now. Eat a light meal at least an hour before the audition.
Three. Arrive with plenty of time to warm up your body in advance. (Some auditions, particularly for children, may be structured to provide a warm-up. Find out ahead of time. You’ll still want to arrive with time to spare to get familiar with the environment.)
Four. Dress appropriately and neatly in something that flatters you and be ready to shed layers so that the panel can see your body. Unless it is required that you dress a certain way, it is alright to choose a look that shows your personality or helps you stand out. However, use good judgment. Your look should not overshadow your dancing, after all it is your dancing you want to be remembered for.
Five. Be gracious from start to finish (even if the outcome is not what you had hoped). Treat your fellow dancers and audition panel with the utmost respect. Courteously ask questions and take corrections from the choreographer.
Six. Learn what you can about the school, company, team, ballet, or performance for which you are auditioning.
Seven. Know exactly what you will be expected to bring, complete, or have with you at the audition. Be prepared even with items you MIGHT need, like extra hair bands, knee pads, dance shoes, etc.
Eight. Perform it, “sell it.” Even in an audition class, really DANCE IT with expression, enthusiasm, and energy.
Nine. Stand where you can see and be seen without muscling your way to the front. If you are struggling or don’t know the choreography, stand further back until you do so that you can wow them once you’ve got it.
Ten. Don’t embellish the choreography unless you are asked to. If you ARE given this freedom, click here for some tips for making choreography your own.
One. It is okay to be human. To “never” show a mistake seems unnatural, but don’t make a spectacle of your mistakes with a tantrum or grotesque faces or by stopping. If you have covered or recovered your mistake well, forget it and keep going. If not, it is natural, while you are learning or after you have performed choreography, to acknowledge mistakes with a smile, a chuckle, or apology (if your mistake impacted others) and then move on. A light, positive, even joking manner can show that you will be fun to work with.
Two. Have no expectations. Expecting a certain outcome puts your mind in a place and time other than the audition and you’ll need to have your head in the present tense to do well. Clear your mind and dance because you love dancing, not because of the pot of gold that may or may not be at the end of this rainbow.
Three. You have nothing to lose. This is related to #2. If you are worried about what is at stake, then you have expectations that this role, this job, or this opportunity is already yours. You cannot lose what you don’t have. Knowing this, you can relax and enjoy the moment to shine, to dance, and grow with experience.
Four. Say “thank you” after the audition (with a written note or in person if possible) and say “thank you” whether you are selected or dismissed.
Five. Remember that no matter how intimidated you may be by the panel, they want you to do well. They want to have the best dancers to select from and are hoping that everyone walking into that audition is the best they’ve ever seen.
Six. Auditioning is a skill. Audition often and know that you can improve your skills. In fact, you may learn the most from your worst audition. You will likely go through many poor auditions before you are cast, and you will quickly learn that sometimes even great auditions don’t get you the job. Don’t lose faith in yourself.
Remember! You can only be you, so much of the best audition preparation is the everyday work you go through to be the best dancer you can be. Be yourself and enjoy the process!
More Audition Resources
A great article from Charlotte Examiner, Cynthia Beers on How To Audition For A Dance Program
Check out The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide. I don’t have first-hand experience, nor am I affiliated with this guide but here’s what Ginny, a dance mom, had to say about it: “It has a lot about goal setting, keeping a journal of your progress (not just in preparation for auditions, but all year long), along with practical advice about preparing for an audition, what to wear, eat, etc. If a student really took the time to read it and put into practice the advice given, I think it would be helpful.”
Look into this Kindle Edition resource: The Ultimate Guide to Dance/Drill Team Tryout Secrets, 3rd Edition. I’ve actually read a hard copy of this and it is solid information for youth or teens hoping to make the team from a successful and experienced dance and drill team performer.
Get a copy of A Dancer’s Manual: A Motivational Guide to Professional Dancing. I own this one and this 1999 guide is not a large book but it provides a mixture of motivational and practical advice if you are starting out in this tough career. The audition section offers perspective on nerves and attitude, as well as useful information on head shots and your resumé. Other areas covered include contracts, pay, injuries, and dancer fitness.
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.