Applying for a college dance program can feel like a guessing game. Should you highlight all your competition titles and awards? How important are your academic grades? And how should you act in the audition? Here's advice from admissions officers from some of the top dance programs in the country about how to make your application stronger.
It's crazy to think about what the dance world would be like without the high-quality digital video that's taken over the Internet. We wouldn't have inspiring class videos (like this one featuring Tate McRae), or mind-blowing music videos (like Parris Goebel's one-woman production), or live streams for all kinds of special events (hello, World Ballet Day).
Auditions are like vegetables: Are they the most delicious food? Probably not. Are they essential for your growth as a dancer? Definitely.
We love asking the pros for their advice, because we know the important role auditions play in every dancer's career. Whether we're breaking down the basics for first-time auditionees, giving you real talk on mistakes you don't know you're making or keeping it light with stories of pros' worst audition mistakes, we're always looking for tips to help you make it to the final round.
A Rockette audition (photo via New York Daily News)
With audition season almost upon us, who better to share advice than our favorite leggy ladies, the Radio City Rockettes? We love that they hold auditions every year and are always on the lookout for new performers. Here are some of their top tips for a solid audition experience:
- Review all of the audition requirements and guidelines...more than once. (You do NOT want to be that girl who brought black shoes when tan ones were required.)
- Use a folder or envelope to hold all your paperwork, like application forms, audition fees, headshots and resumes (and extra headshots and resumes).
- If you're asked a question or interviewed, listen carefully, take a breath and then speak. (It's not a great feeling to blurt out an answer, accidentally interrupt someone and then have literally no idea what you just said.)
Ballroom dance is everywhere these days. Whether you're looking to land a spot on “So You Think You Can Dance" or hoping to find work on a commercial tour, having some ballroom training is increasingly necessary to stay competitive. Of course, the best way to prepare for an audition is to take lessons in the style. But what if your studio doesn't offer any ballroom classes? Dance Spirit turned to the pros to learn a few key elements that can help you put your best heeled foot forward.
These could be your new BFFs!
Calling all comp kids! Are you dreaming of making your small-screen debut? If you think your leaps are as strong as Maddie Ziegler's, your shimmies are as fierce as Asia Monet Ray's and your pirouettes are as sharp as Chloe Lukasiak's, now may be your time to shine! Here's the catch: Your mom (or dad!) has to be on board as well.
Why? The infamous Abby Lee Miller is looking for new kids and their parents to add to the cast of "Dance Moms"—and possibly "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition."
Auditions for dancers 13 and under will be held in Orlando, FL (Oct. 25), Atlanta, GA (Nov. 8), and NYC (Nov. 23). Find out more and register at dancemomscasting.com.
See you on TV!
Welcome, to "So You Think You Can Dance!" This week, we're in L.A. for the third round of auditions—and I'm thrilled to report that these auditions were far more successful and entertaining than what we saw on last week's show.
On with the recap!
The Top 5 Moments From The L.A. Auditions:
1. Jesse Tyler Ferguson on the judging panel. I love him on "Modern Family" and I don't even care that he may not be a dance expert. He's so stinkin' lovable as a self-proclaimed "super fan of the show," and you could tell he genuinely enjoyed sitting up there with Nigel and Mary. Adorable and hilarious.
2. Alexa Anderson! Our former Cover Model Search winner was the first one up last night, and she got sent straight to Vegas. No surprise there: We knew she was a star when we spotted her on the competition scene, you knew she was a star when you voted her the winner of the 2010 CMS battle, and now the rest of the world will know she's a star when Alexa inevitably makes it into the Top 20. (Seriously, Nigel and Mary: Put this girl in the Top 20.) We're rooting for you, Alexa!
3. "No lip syncing." Mary Murphy, I love you for this. High five. She told the crop of L.A. dancers that she did not want to see any lip syncing. Write this down, dancers and teachers. No one likes lip syncing! I don't care if you're doing a musical theater number to "Cell Block Tango" and you swear mouthing the words will make your performance more believable. Let the singers do the singing, you just worry about your sassy moves!
4. All the super-cute contemporary girls. I loved Sam Lenarz, whose mom kicked her out of the house and didn't support her dancing. Her story was heartbreaking, but with her killer feet and ability to light up the stage, I doubt she'll be held back in life. Then there was Megan Branch, who danced with a youthful innocence that I found incredibly compelling. Nigel called her a "little firecracker." And then there was Emily James! Emily was a DS Cover Model Search finalist and she was sent straight to Vegas. Duh.
5. Jonathan Anzalone. I basically like that he looks like Joey Lawrence, and I had a crush on Joey Lawrence when I was in elementary school and he was on that TV show "Blossom." Jonathan was quirky, fun to watch and could shake his booty better than any dude I've ever met.
The “So You Think You Can What?!” Moment of the Night:
How much did I love the "A-list celebrity on a B-list budget" twins, Nick and James Aragon? I loved them so much. They refer to themselves as the "ninja twins," one is a stylist, one works at "The Village Idiot," and their double cartwheels were to die for. Are they going to win "SYTYCD?" Um, no. Not at all. But they were adorable and I want them to take me shopping.
Check back next week when we'll be recapping Atlanta auditions. And of course, tell us what you thought of the show!
Get ready for Cat Deeley’s fierce fashion, Lil' C’s fictional vocabulary, Mary Murphy’s high-pitched holler and, of course, some insanely talented dancers! That’s right, "So You Think You Can Dance" is back for a new season tonight. And Season 9—with a brand new one-night-only format—will certainly be an exciting one. DS chatted with our favorite judge and yours, Nigel Lythgoe, about what we can expect.
Dance Spirit: How do you feel about this season being aired one night per week instead of two?
Nigel Lythgoe: Putting the results in the same show as the performances means we’ve got to be very strong in our thoughts. We’ll have to take into account the routine from the week before, what America thinks and then the routine this week, which America can’t vote on. The judges will be more important than ever this year.
DS: And what about crowning two winners?
NL: It’s a major change, but it’s something we should have done years ago to be honest with you.
DS: What’s your favorite part of the season each year—the auditions, the top 20, the tour?
NL: Well if you ask me towards the end of the series, I would say the end of the series, because we just get so tired at that point. But at the beginning, I love the audition process. I’m inspired by it to be frank with you. Not all the kids that I think are fantastic get through, but seeing so many dancers put their hearts on their sleeves and have the guts to audition makes me very proud.
DS: What’s your least favorite part?
NL: You’re not going to believe me, but rejecting people. This is a professional competition, so we’re looking for the very best. Sometimes when we tell people they’re not good enough, you can see that their hearts are broken. Even with the bad ones, I want to say, “Keep dancing!”
DS: How was the turnout at auditions this year?
NL: Very strong. The turnout was equal to other seasons, but the standard of dance goes up each year. People get used to what we’re looking for, so they train themselves. The contemporary kids are doing a lot more hip hop. And, by the looks of it, the hip hop kids are even taking a few ballroom lessons.
DS: There have been rumors that "SYTYCD" is on its way out, but what do you see for the future of the show? Will this new format stick around for a while?
NL: Well I’m certainly hoping so. I would like to think that FOX will continue to think of us as part of its schedule, but that depends on viewers. At the end of the day, it’s a business. If we lose viewers, they’re going to drop the program. It isn’t up to me or to the format, it’s all about whether people watch. Just as a dancer accepts rejection if they’re not what a choreographer is looking for, this is something that I accept as a part of this business.
If it were up to us, "SYTYCD" would be here to stay. We can’t wait to find out who will be crowned America’s favorite dancers, and put them on the cover of our October issue! For the first episode of the season, tune in tonight at 8/7c on FOX.
For the past two days, DS managing editor Rachel Zar and I have been behind the scenes at the NYC auditions for Season 9 of "So You Think You Can Dance." If you thought the competition was tough last year, you'll be floored by the talent of the upcoming season. From contemporary to ballroom to hip hop—these dancers can do it all.
But being well-rounded doesn't mean a ticket to Vegas—especially with the judges (Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Tyce Diorio) cracking down on mediocre performances. Here's Rachel's quick recap of the judges' feedback to contestants:
1. Be a sponge. When the judges give you feedback, soak it all up, work on those things throughout the year and audition next season.
2. Use your face! If you don't connect with the judges, you're not going straight to Vegas.
3. If you're young and don't have a lot of emotional baggage, take an acting class so you can learn to convey emotion onstage.
4. A series of steps, poses and tricks is not dancing.
5. After you've auditioned, don't ask for one more chance to prove yourself. The audition is your chance—use it to show off every style that you have under your belt.
6. Don't audition with another dancer unless you've actually prepared something together. Just dancing side by side and competing for the judges' attention will only confuse them and get you sent home.
Now that you've taken those lessons to heart, take a behind-the-scenes look at the NYC auditions: