Exclusive Audition Advice

Cassie Silva, an understudy for lead role Sherrie in Rock of Ages, in costume for the part.

In Dance Spirit’s February issue, we highlight 45 companies looking to hire in our annual Audition Guide. But that’s not all. We also asked 5 industry insiders to offer tips for making the most of each audition you attend. We printed our favorites in the magazine, but there’s so much more great advice where that came from, so we couldn’t resist posting the rest here.

Before the Audition: 

“Taking various styles of dance will help you be physically prepared. Then, studying videos and taking workshops, if available, will help give you a good idea of what type of movement to expect.” —Nile H. Russell, co-dance captain for Pilobolus 

“My audition starts from the moment I hear about it. I research everything from the time period to the creative team. 
In general, preparing should be fun! Enjoy practicing an open mind and learning any and everything.”  —Cassie Silva, ensemble, Rock of Ages

Jacquelyn Long with Houston Ballet (Amitava Sarkar)

“Eat a good, healthy meal and get a good night’s rest the day before.” Adé Chike Torbert, commercial dancer, “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 7

What to Wear:

“Wear what you feel comfortable in, because that will shine more than any stand-out leotard. Consider the kind of company you’re auditioning for. Is it classical or contemporary? You want to look like you’ll fit in with the other dancers. And don’t hide your body!” —Jacquelyn Long, Houston Ballet corps de ballet

“Check the audition call sheet for the ‘suggested attire’ and research the show, company or gig to make sure you’re dressed appropriately. If I were auditioning for concert dance I’d stick with the industry standard of all black attire.” Sean Rozanski, dancer, Giordano Dance Chicago

Adé Chike Torbert (left) with Courtney Galiano on "So You Think You Can Dance" (Mathieu Young/FOX)

“I’ve been known to wear some wacky outfits to auditions. I try to give whoever I’m auditioning for an appropriately clear view of who I’m portraying. It can be simple and timeless, or a pair of big glasses for a character role. This is where preparation comes in handy. If all else fails, look and feel comfortable in your skin.”  —Cassie Silva

Calming Your Nerves:

“On audition day, try to arrive at least 30 minutes early. This will give you time to stretch, calm your nerves and get acquainted with the space.” —Nile H. Russell

Nile H. Russell (bottom) with Pilobolus (John Kane)

“I like to channel my energy by doing push ups. It’s a win win situation, because by the time I’m finished, I’m relaxed and I look great. Also, I bring music to listen to before the audition begins. I have two audition-day playlists on my iPhone: one that calms my nerves and another that pumps me up.” —Adé Chike Torbert

“Try to translate any audition-day jitters into excitement and adrenaline. Focus on yourself, and avoid checking out the competition.” —Jacquelyn Long

“Take deep breaths, relax and remind yourself that this is what you work so hard for.  This is what you love to do. Also know that if the audition doesn’t go well there will always be another opportunity.  Learn to take rejection and strive to work even harder the next time.” Sean Rozanski

During the Audition: 

“Think of auditions as a free class. It’s not about being better than everyone else in the room; it’s about doing the best you can, learning something new and growing as a dancer and an artist. Let yourself enjoy the experience and be present in the process. Show them that you’re not there just to get a job, but because you’re passionate about what you do.” —Nile H. Russell

Sean Rozanski with Giordano Dance Chicago (Gorman Cook)

“Be eager and remember, a smile is worth a thousand words. A director can see if you look like you really want the job and factor that into your audition. Sometimes we don’t even realize what emotion we’re portraying in class. Take a step back to think not only about your technique, but about what message you’re projecting.” —Jacquelyn Long

“A positive attitude, great work ethic, confidence and a big helping of graciousness should be among your daily audition vitamins. Having an opportunity to audition is already a great accomplishment and a wonderful gift, so put your best foot forward!” —Cassie Silva

 

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