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How to Prepare for a Dance Audition

Whether you’re auditioning for a high school dance team, studio competition team or a professional company, there’s no denying that auditions can be nerve-wracking. Chances are you’ll be jittery at the audition, but that doesn’t have to affect your performance! With the right attitude and plenty of preparation, you can channel your nervous energy into a powerhouse performance at audition time. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a dance audition.

Fine Tune Your Skills

Many studios and schools have auditions at the end of the season, but some wait until the beginning of the season, after summer break. Whether you’ve been on hiatus of not, make sure that your skills are up to snuff. It’s sometimes too easy to let dance and fitness slip your mind during a long break, and this can hurt your performance.

It may be helpful to videotape your audition piece, so that you can see for yourself the areas that need work. A basic video will do. Grab a smartphone, a volunteer, or a tripod (or even prop your phone up at a suitable height) and get a recording of your full routine from multiple angles so you can see what you may be missing. Work on any skills or techniques you’re not confident with or haven’t yet mastered.

Outside of rehearsal, use our tips to stay in shape during a break to balance fun with training. You don’t have to hit the gym every single day, but try to make healthier food choices and fit in some exercise. This will help your stamina when it comes time for your audition.

What to Wear

Once your skills are where they need to be, you can start thinking about other details, like what to wear and bring to your audition. Tiler Peck, a ballerina with the NYC Ballet, offers some great tips in the video below.

As Peck explained, it’s important that you wear something you’re comfortable in and that will show off your body. Do some run-throughs of your audition piece in your chosen ensemble. After all, you don’t want to risk a wardrobe malfunction or have the judges unable to see your clean lines.

When you’re packing your dance bag for the big day, make sure to include anything listed on the audition info sheet, like paperwork or particular shoes. If you are supplying your own music, make sure you bring it in whatever form is required, plus some form of backup in case something goes wrong. You’ll also want to stash a few emergency supplies, such as extra hair elastics, a spare pair of tights, hairspray, bandages and knee pads. Anything that you would bring to a dance competition will probably help you out at an audition.

Attitude is Everything

Your mindset the day of the audition is crucial not only to performing well, but also to making a good impression on the judges or directors. If you’re jittery, standoffish or rude – even unintentionally – it may hurt your chances of making the team or company.

“Sometimes we don’t even realize what emotion we’re portraying in class,” Jacquelyn Long of the Houston Ballet corps de ballet explained to Dance Spirit magazine. “Take a step back to think not only about your technique, but about what message you’re projecting.”

With this in mind, remember to always keep a smile on your face, even if you’re freaking out on the inside. Be polite and friendly to the other dancers, as they could be your teammates soon. You should also be gracious and take any criticism with an open mind.

Keep smiling, regardless of what happens.
Keep smiling, regardless of what happens.

Tips to Stay Confident
Need a little confidence boost on the big day? Use one of these tactics to pump yourself up:

  • Arrive early so you can scope out the audition room and do a few calming stretches.
  • Put in your headphones and listen to your favorite music. Channel your nerves into adrenaline.
  • Clear your mind. It won’t do you any good to dwell on what might go wrong.
  • Think positive thoughts. Picture yourself as a member of the team or company.
  • Remind yourself that every audition is a learning opportunity. Even if you don’t make it, you’ll come away a better dance.
  • Focus on dancing! After all, it’s what you love to do, so don’t let jitters ruin that.