Audition day can be a stressful experience. Here are some tips to help you succeed in your auditions:
1. Excuses should be left at the door. If you make excuses for the judges’ questions, it shows them that you are not prepared. If you don’t know a step that you are being asked to perform, be honest and let the judges know that you have not learned it or may know it as something else. Offering solutions is better than making excuses.
2. Don’t apologize in an audition, especially for your mistakes. The judges are trying to push you to your limits, to see where those limits are. Try your best, and show confidence instead of saying “sorry” for each misstep.
3. Sometimes the judges are looking for an exact “type”, whether it is hair color, height, or body line that may not fit what you are. This is not an insult to you; it is just their preference at that particular moment for that particular company or show.
4. Eye contact is important, but don’t linger or get too close to the judges, as this may be seen as confrontational. Don’t stare; make brief eye contact with each judge if possible, and keep your focus slightly above their heads. Let the judges be wowed by your stage presence, and your lines. If you are less than a foot away from them, they can only see you from the chest up.
5. Don’t ask if you are getting a callback, ever! There is usually a procedure in place, and they will let you know what is going on before the auditions begin. This way, you know whether to stay after your audition or wait for a call. Asking about callbacks during your audition shows inexperience and can cause judges to deduct points.
6. Be nice to the staff! The audition doesn’t begin when you start dancing, but when you enter the room or the building. Being pleasant and friendly is a plus, and can give you an edge in the audition room if you are in a dead heat with someone of equal talent but less positivity.
7. Always be polite to other dancers, whether warming up or in the audition room. You never know who will come across at the next audition or others in the future, and it will be good to build your own support system throughout the audition process.
8. Pay attention, not only to the movements being shown to you, but the style in which they are done. Each choreographer has a different style, and will gravitate toward dancers who can replicate it. Before moving, think about the steps that are given to you, and how you can best replicate the style of the teacher.
9. Keep your facial expressions appropriate throughout the audition. A plastered smile can be disarming for the judges, but a bored look can just as easily get you cut from the audition. Looking as though you are interested and hopeful about the audition is easy if you actually are! Concentrate on performing to your fullest capabilities, and the facial expressions will come naturally.
10. Plan to do your very best in the audition, and then do it. Technique and flexibility won’t suddenly change when you walk into the audition room, so all you can do is your very best. If someone else gets the part you want, you can know that, no matter what, you did your very best in your audition, and you can be proud of yourself.
Written by Terry Finch, Ballet/Jazz/Tap Dance Feature Writer at Suite101.com