Joffrey Audition Experience

Today is a very special post, all about my experience at the Joffrey Ballet Chicago summer intensive audition.  I hope that this post helps you either decide if you would like to audition for this school or help you prepare correctly if you have an upcoming audition.  Please leave any further questions you may have in the comment section below, and I’ll be happy to answer them as soon as I can.  So, without further ado, my Joffrey audition experience.

I am 13 currently and was auditioning in that age group.  There are two age groups – the younger girls and the older girls.  In my case, the younger girls had an audition first, followed by the older girls.

I auditioned for the program in Chicago, at the Joffrey tower itself.  It was the first audition in the 2016 tour.  I arrived in the city Saturday night around 6:00, the day before the audition.  An email we received from the Joffrey said that we should arrive for the audition no earlier than 11:45 am (the audition itself began at 1:00 pm).  We walked into the tower to see if there were people there at 11:15, planning to head out shopping before check-in.  When we saw people already signing in, we went along.

Everybody enters the building into the lobby, which is fairly chilly and very crowded.  Then, after about 10 minutes of signing in and waiting for an elevator, I left my parents and got upstairs.  Because we arrived so early, I was about 5th in line for check-in.  I went through the entire process in no more than 5 minutes.

During check-in, the staff member will tell you which studio you’ll be auditioning in.  In my case, the studio was occupied at the time, so I had to go into the main studio (Studio A) until 12:30 pm, when they moved us all together into the studio I was auditioning in (Studio B).  There were a total of approximately 140 of us in my age group, and they had us divided up into three different classes, one in Studio A, B, and C.

After check-in, we all headed into the studio.  At first I had set my bag out in the hallway outside of Studio A, thinking that that would be okay.  At about 12:00 pm, a staff member came in and told us that we should all be keeping our bags with us inside the studio, up by the front of the room.  We abided.  So, make sure to take your bag with you into the studio.  I warmed up in Studio A until 12:30 pm, so for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

At 12:30, they told us to take ALL OF OUR STUFF with us into Studio B.  So, make sure to keep your stuff handy with you and ready to carry if you have to switch studios.  They told us that, because Studio B was smaller, we could keep our bags outside in the hallway.  I did.  Only bring your POINTE SHOE BAG into the studio that you’re auditioning in.  If you are in a bigger studio, like Studio A, bring all of your stuff in order to un-crowd the hallway.

At this point, we had about 25 minutes until class started.  I continued to warm up.

At about 10 to 1:00 (12:50 pm), the panel entered.  We only had two women on our panel, one being a full time faculty member at the School, and one a ballet mistress for the Company.  They placed us all at the barre in number order.

To start class, we did a short barre.  Make sure you learn the combinations and your mind is prepared, the combinations are fairly complex and they demonstrate them very quickly.  You may also note that we did grand battements in two groups.

After barre, we moved into the center.  We did various combinations, including tendus in center, pirouettes across the floor, adagio in center, a warm up jump, and a petit allegro.  For tendus, adagio, and petit allegro, they had us divided into groups of 9, each group with its occupants ordered by number.  Numbers 1-9 always went first.  For pirouettes across the floor, we went in groups of 4, and for the warm up jump, we were all in the center together.

After center, we were given about 5 minutes to put our pointe shoes on.  I had plenty of time.  They showed one combination in the center, and we did it in our small groups of 9, each group going twice.  It was only simple relevés, échappés, and pas de bourrées.  Because I was in the younger age group, they noted that people new to pointe could do the combination holding onto the barre, and people who were not en pointe were dismissed from the audition early.  That was all the pointework that we did.

After the audition was concluded, we each curtseyed and said our thanks to the panel and the pianist.  Then we exited the building (which was a lengthy amount of time due to the high amounts of traffic in Joffrey’s small hallways).

I really hope that this audition post is helpful as a reference and resource tho those of you auditioning for this wonderful program for years to come, and I’m really excited to find out my results!  I’ll see you next Monday with another professional blog post (or earlier with a vlog or update or something). 🙂  Thanks for reading!

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