Today’s post is by Alexandra Cownie the author of “How To Be A Ballet Dancer”. She dedicates her life to educating dancers on how to have a healthy life and to be confident and less stressed while becoming professionals.
Auditions are a very important and often highly stressful part of a dancer’s life. More than a job interview, at an audition dancers need to show versatility, technical skill and intelligence. They must appeal to a company director with subjective and unpredictable criteria relating to artistic style. So let’s look at what you can do to stand-out from the crowd!
1. Do not approach your audition like it’s a dance competition.
It’s vital to understand that in auditions, it’s not the “best” dancer (often confused with most technical dancer) that gets the job, but the one that fits the best the artistic criteria set by the company director and artistic board.
Approach your auditions with confidence in your own unique abilities and make an effort to be yourself while dancing – your best skills will naturally shine through and give you the job in the right company!
2. Research the company/dance group you are auditioning for.
Most dancers need to audition to a certain number of companies before they get a job. The danger is that it can quickly become “I’ll take whatever I can” instead of “I’ll audition in the companies that are right for me”. The problem with that is that you will have no idea (or too little) what the artistic style the company is endorsing, what choreographers work for the company and what the daily training is like. There are huge differences between companies and it’s extremely important that you know who you are auditioning for in order to give yourself the best chances of fitting in! A great thing to do is go to see them on stage.
3. Visualise yourself as a member of the company the night before.
The night prior the audition, you should already know the style of the company and their daily routine and approach to dance. Take 20 minutes to close your eyes in an active meditation and visualise yourself as a full-time member of their company. Be one of them, take class with them, rehearse with them, interact with them in the change rooms, be on stage with them. You will find that you will feel more at ease and peaceful the next day. Remember a company director will look for someone already at ease with the company’s style.
4. Do not try to change your body 2 days before the audition!
This is another very common mistake dancers make: A few days before the audition, they decide that they want to look perfect and therefore start a new diet, over- exercise to get new shapes and muscles on their body, etc. As a result, by the time of the audition they are often exhausted, sore and lacking energy. Doing the opposite is the way to go: Sleep well, eat very well (get enough proteins, good fats and lots of veggies – reduce sugar as much as possible) and train normally – no more or less. It’s important that you understand that nothing that you will do to change a few days before an audition will actually make a difference on your looks! I see it more as self-sabotage!! Be smart about it!
5. Eat well and test what foods give you the most lasting energy in your regular classes.
A great way to prepare for an audition is to test before a class what foods give you the most lasting energy without feeling heavy. This will be different for everyone, so make sure you test this well in advance! The things you need to assess are:
– How long before the start of the class should I eat? (1h, 30min… ?)
– What foods work makes me feel light?
– What foods give me the longest lasting energy (the last thing you want is a drop of energy if you get qualified for the choreography part of the audition!)
– What snacks work best for me during breaks?
– How much water do I need to drink at any given point to feel on top of my game? (small sips taken more often usually work best and keep your body hydrated without feeling full)
6. Remember: You are ALL in the same boat!
It is easy to be impressed by all the other dancers around you in an audition, especially in the 30 minutes leading to the first class. You will see people more flexible than you, more technical than you, appearing very confident, some with better bodies, some with better outfits… And you will start talking yourself down. What you really need to keep in mind is that everyone here is stressed, worried, anxious, wanting to get the job and thinking the same things about YOU! By realising this and stop worrying about what they have to offer rather than focusing on your own unique attributes, you will be miles ahead of your competition!
7. Use meditation as stress-relief before your audition.
Stress is one of the top issues dancers face in audition. This is why I have prepared an audio meditation to take care of that for you! The best way to use it is the night before as well as 30 min to an hour before the start of the audition. It has already done wonders down-under for many Australian dancers and I am sure you will love it too! You can find more about it in my book: How To Be A Ballet Dancer.
At the end of the day, your performance and preparation are only half of the decision for you to join or not a specific company. If you can leave an audition feeling empowered, having learning new things and feeling more confident about your ability as a dancer (without relying on the results of the audition) then you will be a winner no matter what!