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The first audition

July 27, 2009
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Last week I attended my first professional audition in Los Angeles.   As a ballroom dancer, I was definitely the odd woman out in a sea of ballet and jazz-trained contestants.  Of course I found this a bit odd because the piece I was auditioning for was supposedly based on ballroom dancing.  So, instead of demi-plies and turns, I practiced rumba walks, samba whisks and throwaways in my corner of the warm up area.  Feeling optimistic, I hoped my background would give me a “leg up” on the competition.  In the end, it turned out to be more loosely ballroom-inspired jazz dancing than actual ballroom, and I learned a very important lesson – be prepared for anything at an audition!

Despite my initial disappointment, the experience itself was highly beneficial and a great learning opportunity.   In preparation for the audition, I took the approach of a job interview.  I wanted to show up looking and acting like a professional, having done my homework and being prepared to work hard and make a positive impression.  I made sure to research the producer of the piece, and since it was part of series, looked up clips on YouTube of previous works to get a sense of what I might expect. Unfortunately the online content I found did not actually reflect the audition style, but not knowing that in advance, I was still glad for having done the research as doing so made me feel more confident walking in the door.

Other things I learned are:

  • Arriving early to stretch and warm up is a must.
  • Have lots of water on hand and be prepared to sweat.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Choreography comes fast and hard, and you’re expected to have it memorized very quickly.
  • Be enthusiastic and look like you are genuinely having a good time.
  • Headshots should be stapled to a resume, and bringing along a stapler is probably a good idea.
  • Bring a selection of dance shoes, not just the ones you think you need (which fortunately I did).
  • Less is more when it comes to clothes.  A crop top and boy shorts seemed the most common combination.

As noted on Answers4Dancers, if you get selected at your first audition you can count yourself as part of the rare 1% that do and the first few auditions are much more about learning and experience.  I certainly agree and feel I will be even more prepared for the next audition I do.

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