• Emma Acton

6-Step-Guide To Surviving Ballet Auditions

Ballet auditions are daunting - and whether it’s to gain entry into a school, a competition or a company, the process is generally the same. This means that dancers will no doubt be experiencing auditions from a very young age, right up until they find the contract of their dreams. Being as prepared as you possibly can be is ultimately the only way to control nerves and go into an audition with confidence. This 6-step-guide will assist you in preparing for any ballet audition and provide you with the tools to put your best foot forward … literally!

© BreakTheBarre: students of Melbourne City Ballet

1. Film yourself

Even if you are planning to go to an audition in person, filming an audition video is a fantastic way to watch yourself back and really get an understanding of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Having current footage on hand is also useful in case you decide at the last minute that you’d like to be considered for interstate or overseas training and employment. Just remember that we are our own worst critics – don’t waste too much time trying to make everything you film completely flawless. While it is important to be showing yourself at your best, it’s also important to get the video finished and send it off by the due date!

© Elite Youth Classical Coaching

2. Update your resume

Keep it concise and current. Cut out anything from more than five years ago unless it’s truly worth mentioning. Include only your places of training/employment and important awards and achievements - no one wants to read about your 3rd place at a local eisteddfod from a decade ago. Ideally, your resume should fit on one page. Imagine you’re the one going through a pile of resumes - if it’s more than one page, you’re likely to skim over it or not even read it at all.

Emma Cheeseman for National Photography ©

3. Put some effort into your photos

Generally, a dance application requires one headshot and one or two full-body dance photos. Using appropriate photos that showcase your best assets is vital for leaving a good first impression. For your headshot, a dance-style look is most appropriate so the people reviewing your application can get a feel for how you would look on stage. Aim for neat hair and a natural face, good lighting is also a must! In-studio shots usually look the most professional for your full body shots. Think of your strengths and aim to get them across as best you can in one or two photos; e.g. if you have great feet, make sure you pick a pose that highlights them at a flattering angle. If you can’t afford a photoshoot with a professional dance photographer, at least try to have someone else take the photos for you - a selfie for a headshot will definitely come across as amateur and may make your application be taken less seriously.

4. Research the school/company

When applying for auditions, try to convey in your application your reasons for wanting to audition. Schools and companies all want to hear why you think you’d be a good fit for them. Attach a cover letter in your application that shows a true understanding of that training program or company’s vision. Often after an audition, dancers might be asked to stay back for a short meeting with the director or important personnel. If you’ve done some research on the place you’re auditioning for, this will showcase professionalism and enthusiasm, which are both commendable qualities to possess in this situation.

5. Be prepared

Time management is essential for presenting a superb audition. If your audition is in a place that requires you to travel a fair distance, always allow time for something to go wrong - you don’t want to be running into registration right at the last minute because your flight was delayed. Aim to arrive at your audition at least an hour before the class is due to start. This allows time to calmly fill in your registration form, as well as complete an adequate warm up. Bring spare dance clothing with you - going into the audition with coffee stains or ladders in your tights gives the impression that you’re either sloppy or didn’t know to be prepared. You should also aim to wear something that is most flattering for your body type and colourings - like it or not, dance is an art based on aesthetics, so looking your best will be a benefit. Your warm up should include at least a full barre so that your body is entirely prepared and your mind is fully focussed to complete a full class the best that you can. It’s also just embarrassing if your knees, hips or ankles crack in the first exercise that is set!


6. Follow up

After your audition, you’ll usually be advised a time frame in which you will hear back. Be patient and wait for this time frame to pass - but remember that people get busy. If you have not heard any news within said time frame, it’s a good idea to follow up with an email. This shows persistence and willingness to work hard for your place. If you do hear back and it’s perhaps not the result you were hoping for, remember to respond with a polite email so as not to burn any bridges that you may want to use again at a later date.

While most of us will have experienced a lack of self-confidence in an audition setting, just remember that it is likely everyone else in the room feels the same way. Do your best to not compare yourself to the dancer standing next to you, because we really never know exactly what is being looked for in each audition. Focus on remaining centred and showing off your abilities. Try not to become distraught if the outcome of an audition is not what you wished for - instead remember that there will always be another opportunity. Timing is everything!

Emma Cheeseman

Oct 2nd, 2018