Audition Season is Upon Us

Right now, in 2021, audition season seems almost impossible. Ballet Companies and Schools are flooding their programs for the sake of recovering dollars lost during COVID, and parents are questioning whether or not sending their student away is even an option. I get it. 2021 is a mess. So, I am blogging today to help you find some clarity. Most students have already completed their summer course auditions, and are now juggling what program to attend. Normally, we would be asking ourselves questions like, “Where do I really want to train? Is joining the school year-round even a possibility?” This year we ask ourselves, “Is this program really going to happen? Do they actually like my kid, or is this about money?”

Evelyn Lyman of The Ballet Clinic, Photographed by Ashley Lorraine Baker

These are all the subtle realities of ballet right now, and everyone is going through it.

Here is how we recommend our summer courses to my students:
1. Could you see yourself dancing in the company? Do they move like you? Do they look like you? Do you want to move like that?

2. Is the training on par/the same level with what you are currently getting?

3. Can you see yourself living there? Location matters.

4. Did you receive a scholarship?

5. Will this provide more opportunities for you in the future?

Parents right now are really facing a financial burden, as the economic toll of COVID is bulldozing through. Spending $6-10K on a summer course that may or may not happen in person is stressful. Beyond stressful. No one wants a repeat of last year.

Lauryn Brown of The Ballet Clinic, Photographed by David JW King

While most students in ballet right now are figuring out which program they will be attending, many are just starting auditions because of the lack of information provided to them. Many schools do not help their kids audition and try to find summer placement because of the financial factor. Keeping kids guarantees dollars. If you are just getting to auditions, make sure you hit the live, record a good video, and take beautiful photos!

Sophie Hod of Kansas City Ballet’s Trainee Program photographed by Ashley Lorraine Baker

Generation Lost
There is a whole generation right now, searching for work, searching for answers, and most of all, searching for hope. Dancers ages 17-22 are in an endless spiral, trying to piece together any shred of hope for a job. Here are some helpful tips:
-Don’t e-mail the school registrar, find the audition email or the company manager’s email.
-Edit the video to be the exact requirements a company is looking for. Don’t make 1 generic one and just send that, different companies are looking for different things.
-Have good audition photos, remember when auditioning for jobs, second companies, and trainees, you don’t have to do standard audition photos, you can change it up a bit.
-Clean up your social media, and anything else that will allow them to see you dance.

Don’t give up hope! There is nothing wrong with repeating a graduate year, or simply taking a year of training, or going to a smaller company for a couple of years and moving on to a bigger company. With companies really unclear what the future holds, there is nothing wrong with just staying in shape and working on your artistry. But, if patience, money, and time are not on your side, making peace with ballet and moving on isn’t bad either. Just make sure you give it your all before you decide.

Chase Vining of Master Ballet Academy, Photographed by David JW King

If you have questions about auditioning, please email us, or book a consultation.

SOCAL: AUDITION INTENSIVE

Summer programs/ college auditions are coming up and everyone is stressing and writing in about them… So, if you are in socal I have I have answer for you… come to my (Redlands Dance Theatre’s) Audition Intensive. It will take place from January 3-9, 2015. On the Redlands Dance Theatre website the deposits were due by the 1st, but don’t worry about it. We have about ten spaces left. The workshop is designed for both students and parents to work together and find what is best to fit the needs of your family. Additionally, Alexandra Rose will be taking everyone’s audition photos. She does all of the RDT photos and is the photographer at Social Culture.
A weeklong intensive to prepare you, or your student for upcoming auditions for summer programs, companies and universities. Each day focuses on a different thing, and will prepare your student to take an audition to the best of their abilities. Students will prepare in both ballet, pointe and contemporary/modern auditions. Your student will learn what works the best for their abilities, how to tap into limitless potential, and how to market themselves at an audition. The intensives are designed for both the student and parent to take, so students don’t forget to tell their parents what is going on. Seminars in hair and make up, resume and portfolio building will help you and your child look and feel like a professional. Practice auditions will be held during the intensive and individual evaluations will follow. Additionally, a professional ballet photographer will be coming in to take your child’s audition photos. Each child will receive an 8×10” digital copy of their headshot and first arabesque. Additional prints may be purchased.

AI: ADVANCED INTENSIVE (ages 14+)
7 days, 10 AM-3:00 PM
Limited spaces available, non refundable deposit of $125 is due by November 1, 2015
The total fee for the audition intensive is $500.00(the deposit is included in this number) (Deposits and Fees to be billed online)

II: INTERMEDIATE INTENSIVE (ages 11-14)
7 days, 10 AM- 2:00 PM
Limited spaces available, non refundable deposit of $100 is due by November 1, 2015
The total fee for the audition intensive is $400.00 (the deposit is included in this number) (Deposits and Fees to be billed online)

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP – if you sign up by Saturday- we will take of $50.00 of the total fee.
Jessy Gonzalez 1

How to get through a summer program audition…

So, what is the secret to getting through a summer program audition?

easy answer: be good.

If you are thinking, “WTF?” Then you probably aren’t ready for a summer program. Sorry not sorry? Just kidding. But, on a more serious note, you do have to be technically sound for your age. As directors leading auditions, they do take in to consideration: body type, technical ability, work ethic, musicality which unfortunately out weighs potential and love of ballet.

So, if you are ready to audition for a summer program here are some tips:

1. Make sure you do exactly what they ask with port de bras. This includes the preparation. Just because at your school they do a different one, and it is probably engrained into your body, it doesn’t matter. You have to do exactly what they ask. Listen to key words while the teacher is giving the combination; like accent, slice, long, expand. These are qualities, subtle nuances and tips they are basically feeding you. This is what they are looking for.

2. Your audition class is not a warm up. Make sure you get there early enough to stretch, warm up, and basically do a little barre work prior to the audition. Yes, as barre during training is used to warm up and get on your leg… Audition classes are far from that. And as much as people say to just try your best, and relax, the pressure is immense. When auditions say this is just another class, they are basically lying to you because this class will determine whether or not you get in, and get a scholarship…

3. Presentation is everything. I am not talking about port de bras. I’m not talking about musicality, I am talking about what you are wearing. Find a leotard that is super flattering, make sure your tights don’t have holes, and clean up your ballet shoes.  Make sure your hair is performance quality, and a little make up wouldn’t hurt either.

4. Don’t over do it. Don’t be one of this kids in the audition who “feels” the music, and is giving us swan lake realness, or Giselle drama in class… This is dancing, not acting. There is nothing worse than an affected dancer. Directors want to see clean technique so they can mold you into what they want. You have to be pliable both physically, mentally and musically.

5. Don’t starve yourself before an audition. It doesn’t help you. Make sure the night before, or the morning before you get enough protein, and prior to the class make sure you have taken enough carbs in to get you through the class at 110%.

6. Try not to compare yourself. I mean, everyone sizes up the competition in the room, but just because she has leg up during warm up, doesn’t mean she has clean technique. Or if you see a girl obsessively stretching her feet, when she has beautiful feet, she might just only have… Beautiful feet. And definitely ignore the girl wearing the white leotard when the audition clearly asked for black leotard.

7. The most important thing in an audition is to become unforgettable. In a good way. You want to make a great impression on whoever is judging the class. For example, if they give you a correction, don’t just stand there and nod, actually do the correction a few times to show you are getting it into your body. My thing was always in plies, to look supper effortless, and that moment right before you grand plie, looking the director right in the eyes slightly smiling. Tendus, well I don’t have Alessandra Ferri feet, so I would just try to do exactly what they asked. Whether it be over articulation of the foot, precise accents, over crossed, lifting to come in, the list goes on, but basically trying to do exactly what they were looking for. Then I would try to make an impression during frappes but being super precise and trying to leave the “strike” out there as long as possible. Tendus at center was another chance to make an impression because you can be super musical and elongated. Adagio was always a plus for me as a boy since leg up was easier than turning. Pirouettes I would stick to a clean triple. Definitely was not one of the boys cranking out a million turns. Then petit allegro would be another chance for me to make an impression by being super exact, hitting tight fifths every time, and then beating absurdly. Grand allegro was not my thing either, so I tried my best, and double tours, well, needless to say I would try to make them as clean as possible.