Focus on Freelance: Audition Essentials

As a freelance dancer, I’ve learned that the contents of your dance bag can easily make or break an audition experience. Because every audition is different than the last, one can never be too prepared for the unexpected. Here are some audition essentials that I always aim to have in my bag.

Universal must-haves:

  • At least two current pictures and resumes, stapled together (Make sure your contact information and the work experience most relevant to the prospective job are at the top of your resume!)
  • Cosmetics for touch ups (arrive hair- and make-up-ready)
  • Hair accessories (be prepared to take your hair down if the choreographer requests it).
  • Safety pins (If my audition number falls off, I can pin it back on and avoid holding up the casting.)
  • Warm-ups
  • Kneepads
  • Food and water (Auditions may run longer than expected and the last thing you’ll want is to run out of energy)
  • A wide variety of shoes

Concert dance necessities:

  • Leotards in a variety of cuts and colors
  • Dance shorts or tights in multiple colors (I prefer tights with convertible feet because you never know if you’ll have to dance barefoot at a moment’s notice. This happened to me once at an audition at The Metropolitan Opera. We started with a ballet barre and went straight into a modern combination at the center. I was able to avoid slipping around, simply by rolling up the feet of my tights.
  • A skirt (In case the choreography calls for it.)
  • A needle and thread (In case you have a pointe shoe emergency!)

Commercial dance essentials:

  • Layers (I’ve often been told to expect "jazzy" or "girly" choreography, only to walk into a hip-hop audition. Luckily I pack pants to pull over leggings, and a vest to throw over a delicate shirt.)
  • Stretchy jeans (You need to be able to kick and bend with ease.)

OK, now that I’ve shared my checklist, I want to know what your audition essentials are. Share your packing advice via Twitter (@Dance_SpiritMag) or on Dance Spirit’s Facebook page.

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search