How To

How to Be the Master of Eye Contact

Jade Chynoweth knows how to mesmerize an audience with some killer eye contact. (Joe Toreno)

In an audition or onstage, knowing how to use eye contact appropriately is a total game changer. Dancers who aren't afraid to meet the eyes of judges or audience members exude a special confidence that allows them to be seen as capable, talented performers. When dancers look at the floor or around the room, though, they telegraph insecurity. Don't send your critics looking for flaws! Avoid these three no-no's and become a true master of eye contact.


The Shifty Eyes

After catching the eye of a judge or audience member, you might feel vulnerable and be tempted to look away quickly. Don't do it! Brief eye contact can be particularly distracting for people to watch—especially if you do it multiple times throughout a piece. If you're going to make eye contact, don't be afraid to keep it for an adequate amount of time. Trust that your dancing is worth watching!

The Affair with the Floor

There's a reason teachers tell you not to look at the floor (besides the fact that if you stare at it for too long, you'll probably end up losing your balance). When you look down, you communicate to your audience that they're not invited to watch you. Your body language literally makes them look away! Look up, and prove that you're ready to entertain.

The Stare Down

Now that we've established the value of making eye contact, it's important to note that you should avoid getting into a staring contest with a judge or audience member. These never-ending stare-downs make people feel uncomfortable. You want your eye contact to enhance your dancing, not distract from it. Catch someone's eye long enough to communicate confidence and connection, but find natural times to adjust your focus to a new person or point in your onstage world.

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