Audition Tips for College Dance Programs

You've been obsessed with dancing from a young age.  Whether you're performing a pirouette or practicing a difficult tap routine, you are never happier than when you're expressing yourself through movement.  Hence, you know you want to pursue dance in college.  Of course, that means that in addition to submitting a regular application, you'll also have to audition.  Here are some ideas and thoughts to consider as you prepare for the big day!

To begin with, recognize that most auditions will start with a technique class.  Oftentimes, the focus is ballet.  However, it could also involve learning a routine that incorporates modern, rhythmic or improvisational dance.  During this portion, you'll be evaluated on your rhythm, technique, movement, coordination and your ability to learn a new piece.  Don't try to improve or embellish upon the routine you're taught.  Simply stick to what you're shown.

After the technique class, you might be asked (or expected) to perform a solo.  Sometimes, a specific genre of dance will be required.  However, many programs allow students to choose their own.  You'll want to select the style with which you're most comfortable and perform a piece that can highlight your originality.  Make sure it will also show off your technique.  And even if you're performing a piece with which you're thoroughly familiar, it's imperative you set aside plenty of rehearsal time.  You want to enter the room with as much confidence as possible.

It's also important to understand that some programs might outline a specific dress code for the audition.  Indeed, a lot of schools request traditional ballet attire (tights, leotard, ballet shoes).  This is because the outfit will allow the judges to fully see and closely evaluate your form.  They'll likely also ask that you keep your hair up and/or out of your face.  Don't discount the rules a program outlines.  They partially want to see if you pay attention and follow orders.  And they won't look kindly on your decision to ignore their requests.

If a program does not have any clothing requirements, you should select an outfit that's both professional and comfortable.  Choose something that's flattering but won't overshadow your dancing.  Most importantly, you want an outfit that allows you to move freely and with assurance.  And don't forget to bring any and all necessary shoes (an obvious but critical point!).

Similar to when you took the SATs or ACTs, you also want to make sure you get a good night of sleep the day before your audition.  Additionally, eat a healthy, balanced meal before you leave.  You'll definitely want to keep your energy up throughout the big day.  It's a smart idea to pack a few snacks to bring along as well.

Further, make sure you arrive with plenty of time to stretch and warm up.  You want to be loose and ready to go whenever the audition begins.  Some schools might start the day with a group stretch.  However, don't just assume that will happen.  Do your research and plan accordingly.

Moreover, once you enter the room, remember to be gracious to both the judges and your fellow auditioners.  Temper your competitive (and/or judgmental) spirit.  Don't muscle your way to the front of the room in attempt to steal the spotlight.  And if you make a mistake, don't display your anger, frustration or disappointment.  Do your best to retain your focus and dance with excitement and enthusiasm.  The judges are just as likely to remember a good attitude as they are an error.

Lastly, you might be asked to bring in a headshot and/or resume.  Don't worry; you won't have to spend thousands of dollars getting professional pictures.  However, you don't want to necessarily crop a photo you've uploaded to Facebook.  Have a friend or family member snap a nice photo of you and that should suffice.  With regard to your resume, it doesn't need to be more than one page.  Be sure to list whatever training you've had, shows in which you've performed, awards and important/prestigious teachers.

Auditions can be nerve-wracking.  Fortunately, the more you know what to expect, the more likely you'll be able to quell your nerves (at least a little bit).  And though it's easier said than done, have faith in your abilities and just attempt to have fun!

Break a leg!

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