Darius Hickman and Magda Fialek performing on "So You Think You Can Dance" (Adam Rose/FOX)
With every audition comes its fair share of nerves. The stakes are high, and dancers strive for perfection. But even pros with super-successful careers make mistakes. These five dancers tell us all about their biggest audition mishaps—and how they pushed through.
n RWS Entertainment Group Audition (courtesy RWS Entertainment Group)
Figuring out how to avoid getting cut in a musical theater audition can feel like a mystery. "It's not just about your technique, it's about the whole package of the person," says Justin Bohon, a casting director at Binder Casting, whose clients include The Lion King on Broadway. But how do you present yourself in the best way possible, and avoid making a faux pas that distracts from what's most important—your dancing? Bohon and three other casting directors gave us the scoop on their biggest audition pet peeves.
Sydney Magruder Washington (photo by Rachel Neville, courtesy Washington)
Twenty-five-year-old Sydney Magruder Washington had dreams of auditioning for ballet companies and Broadway shows when she moved to NYC four years ago, as a recent graduate of Skidmore College. But after completing an apprenticeship with Connecticut Ballet in 2015, her anxiety and depression became so severe that she could barely leave her apartment—let alone go to a dance class or audition. After working with a therapist and trying out new medications with a psychiatrist, she's finally starting to get her training and career back on track. And she's also realizing she was misdiagnosed for a decade. Here, she tells her story. —Courtney Bowers
Marko Germar auditioned for 'So You Think You Can Dance' three times before making the cut (courtesy Adam Rose/FOX)
Every dancer knows the audition process is full of rejection. But hearing "no" again and again, from the same casting team, and then coming back for more? That takes some serious motivation. These dancers were all cut multiple times from auditions for their dream jobs, took it in stride, and ended up getting the gig.
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.
Perry performing "Swish Swish" on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
We know, we know: so many dance challenges, so little time. But taking the #SwishSwishChallenge, which the ever-fabulous Katy Perry announced yesterday, could earn you a prize bigger than run-of-the-mill internet fame: a chance to star in Perry's "Swish Swish" music video.
It's only natural to be nervous before an audition, as you size up the competition and try to ignore that persistent ache in your left ankle. But there are ways to alleviate both mental and physical jitters. What are the keys to feeling as comfortable as possible? Start your preparations early, stick to a timeline and think about all aspects of your dancer body. We asked a dietitian, a psychologist, a physical therapist and a company director for their audition prep advice.
Juneau Dance Theatre student Anna McDowell filming an audition video with Bridget Lujan (courtesy Juneau Dance Theatre)
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.
Do you have talent? Yes you do! And it's time to show the nation. "America's Got Talent" is embarking on a 10-city audition tour, starting November 12, 2016. Here's everything you need to know to audition: