Just as lacrosse players have summer camps where they work on their skills and plays, dancers have camps where they go to develop their style, artistry, and technique. Though many sports have camps where you can simply sign up and be trained, Dancers face something a little more intimidating, the audition process.
Ballet schools such as NYSSA, Boston Ballet, and American
Ballet Theatre all are excellent dance schools where you will undoubtedly learn a lot. However, in order to receive such a wonderful dane education, you have to audition for each place. Generally each school has a slightly different audition process, so you never really know what to expect.
Some schools require you to have a piece ready to use in the audition. If that is the case, then the dancer would have to choreograph their own dance and make sure it is within the schools guidelines. I feel this form of auditioning is especially difficult, as you never quite know what a particular school is looking for. To add to the stress of auditioning with a choreographed piece, multiple judges will most likely be watching and scrutinizing everything about your performance. When I
say everything, I mean your hands, feet, legs, how strong you are, your facial expression, how graceful you are, even what you are wearing. Knowing how intensely the judges are watching can often be too much pressure for some people.
If that is the case, then auditioning at schools that have a general audtition process is probably the better route. This process means
anyone can come to the audition. There are generally a set of simple barre excercises (warm ups) that are done, and then a short dance piece is taught to everyone auditioning. A similar judging process occurs here, but with a few differences in the routine being judged.
At these large auditions (self-choreographed or general) there are a lot of tips dancers have to keep in mind. For example, always try to stand in the front of the audition. This way, you are more likely to be noticed and watched, something that is good for the audition. A common phrase that dancers often remind themselves of before auditions is "make them remember you." THis phrase is also applied with dancers facial expressions at auditions. Though the movements can be extremely
difficult, it is key not to let that difficulty show in auditions. Always having
a light, pleasant, expression is important to the judges.
Auditions can be very cut throat, because a lot of times dance schools can only have about 30-50 kids. This may seem like a lot, but auditions usually host about 75+ audition-ers. Really trying to stand out and show the judges some passion is the only real way to be picked over a dancer with the same technique level. Many dancers have excellent technique, but it is really the passion and expression that set them all apart.
Auditions can be grueling and demeaning, or
inspiring and rewarding. It is easy to become discouraged, as dance is no easy task. However, there is always a school out there for someone, and sometimes it can take dancers a few times to find it. The selective summer dance audition process is another example of how difficult and demanding dance is.