Summer Program Audition Season Guide

Summer intensive audition season is upon us, and managing the options can drive you crazy!  The time has come to register for your auditions and establish an auditioning and traveling schedule for yourself.  Today’s post is a guide to help you register, take photos and prepare for those auditions!

Determining Schools

The schools you audition for this summer determine the wealth of schools available to you in the future.  Especially if you are over the age of 16, it’s very important to think in terms of which companies you want to enter later on – if you are aiming for an apprentice contract with the San Francisco Ballet, going to their summer program will be a vital step in that goal!

If you are under the age of 16, you still have time to direct your focus to schools most likely to improve your technique, as well as giving you the best insights into the ballet world.  If you are looking to really improve your turns and jumps, The Rock School for Dance Education is a great place to get that type of training.  While you are young it is also the time to start immersing yourself in different styles of dance and start  collecting new experiences.  If you think you might be interested in the Balanchine style, make sure you audition for the School of American Ballet, the School of the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Miami City Ballet School.  All of those will really give you an experience with Balanchine training.

So, once you have a selection of schools you may be interested in – it should be about 15 schools, depending on your range of opportunities and your age – follow the steps below to determine a list of 4 to 7 intensive courses you want to audition for:

  1. Look up the date, time and location of the auditions for every school you put on your list.  If any of them conflict, prioritize and get rid of the least desirable.
  2. If there are any schools that are very similar or you are auditioning for for the same reason, such as schools in New York City, select 1 or 2 that you would rather go to or where the training is more realistic for your age and skill level.  You have to prioritize.
  3. Next, select the 3 schools that most closely match your skill level.  Make sure you have 2 or 3 that you are sure you can get into, for which you are either at the middle or the top of your range of abilities.
  4. Next, select 1 or 2 “reach” schools.  Just like applying for colleges or universities, you always apply to 1 or 2 that would be amazing to get into, just to challenge yourself.  You never know!  Select 1 or 2 that you would absolutely love to attend.

After this process, you should have 4 to 7 schools that you are planning to audition for.  None of them should be at the same time on the audition date, so you are set there.  Now, it’s time to get organized for each audition and build your schedule.

Building an Audition Schedule

Audition season is absolutely insane sometimes, and it can be horrible if you are unprepared for an audition or don’t know what you need, what time the audition is and other extra information.  So, open a new document in Google Docs, Word or whatever, or simply make a list using a pen and paper, and write down the following things for each audition:

  1. The date and location
  2. The time of the audition
    1. What time the doors open
    2. What time registration/sign-in is
    3. The time of the actual audition and the length
  3. The dress code
  4. Anything you need to bring (birth certificate, driver’s license, resume, etc.)
  5. The photos you need to bring (headshot, first arabesque, fifth position, tendu … no photos at all? Make sure you know!)
  6. Any registration information for the audition (Can you pre-register, how do you do that, how much does it cost, deadlines etc.)

Now that you have collected all your information, make sure you put all your auditions into your calendar so you don’t miss anything and you can clearly see them in order.  Also, be sure that you arrange any travel information, hotels etc. with your parents.  Your parents should be involved in this whole process because price, fees and travel are all also important criteria that determine which auditions you can attend.

Audition Photos

On the first day you return from winter break, you need to take your audition photos!  Here are a few tips for taking the perfect photo:

  • Look presentable.  Neat hair, wear your favorite leotard, no ripped tights, etc.
  • Follow the rules!  If you need to be en pointe, do it en pointe.  
  • Warm up for the photo.  Take it after class or on a rehearsal break – you’ll be surprised how much higher your arabesque is at that time.
  • Give yourself some time.  Take care of it early, so if something goes wrong or you can’t get the perfect photo, you’ll have more opportunities in the future.  Don’t get stuck in a time-crunch situation. Those are never fun!

I hope this post is super helpful to you, and also make sure to check out my Audition Guide to give you some tips when you get there.  Hopefully I will get around to an updated version of that post sooner than later.  Have a great day, good luck at your auditions, and keep stretching!

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