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

Summer Program Life

Ballet_feet430x325

You made it into a Summer Program, now what? You work hard, you sweat hard, you what? Are you prepared, are you ready, are your parents ready?

Now what? It is a really big step for a ballet student to go to a summer program, especially if they are are young.  But, once your student is there now what?  This isn’t a five week summer camp where kids sit around a campfire singing. Over the next few weeks your child is going to be pushed to the max both physically and mentally. At most summer programs, students will be dancing in between 5-8 hours a day, six days a week. Summer programs are designed to strengthen a students technique, and see if they do well under pressure. Day 1 of a summer program is usually placement day. Even though you are already assigned a level, this is usually done back in January, the faculty look at all of the students’ ability and potential.  Day 1 is where most students will make a good first impression.

Now, while most summer programs are filled with students are pre professional schools attached to companies, there are many students who are there from smaller schools. These students, which might be your child, will be looked at closely. The reasoning? For your child to be asked to stay year round. Usually, they will ask the second to last week during the summer course. A spot in the year round school means that the director, and the faculty see great potential and want to work with you.  This is important, as a year round spot in the school usually can lead to the trainee program, or studio company/second company/ apprentice position.

So, how do you get noticed?

The most important thing to do while at a summer program is learn. Pay close attention to the details.  Even if you aren’t in the top level, showing that you can learn, and you are applying everything everyone is saying shows that you are a smart dancer. No one wants a dumb dancer. Take all of the corrections teachers give you and write them down, so you can remember them, reflect on them, and so on. Take other people’s corrections as well. Most likely it can be applied to you as well.

WORK HARD. WORK SMART! This is a big one as well. During your summer course, go in every group, or at least mark the combination in the back. Show your work ethic. In five weeks, it is hard for a faculty really get to know you. Unlike, your home studio, you have been with your teachers for years… Here, you have five weeks to make a good impression, show your potential and become the best dancer you can be. Working smart is really important as well. Going full out all the time is really important, but exhausting. If you are one of those dancers who goes hard all the time, make sure you are eating properly, and giving your body enough rest. Yes, we all know those intense bunheads who stretch in the dormitory halls during after hours, and that they are constantly fixing their shoes. That is their thing, it might not be your thing.

What to avoid…
Just because modern, jazz, and character aren’t your thing doesn’t mean you don’t try. You still have to push, 100% of the time.

Bad Habits… crossing your arms, giving up after falling out of a turn, letting the stress get to you… all of these things are counter productive to the process but also… It shows a bad attitude. You need to make sure you look attentive and invested without cracking under the stress.
EAT HEALTHY! During a summer program there is a lot of stressers out there, and there is a tendency to stress eat/binge eat sugar. The problem? Super counter productive to what your body really needs during these five intense weeks.

Be Prepared… When and if a school asks you to stay year round, be prepared for the financial costs. A year round program at a pre professional or professional school is costly. For most, these programs are out of state. When asked to stay, it is mid-summer and you have a few short weeks to come up with the financial obligation, relocate your life, transfer schools, and so on. It is a daunting task and you basically have a month to make a life changing, career making choice.  Most students, have to go year round at a pre pro school, and will change year round schools at least once.  Remember, ballet here in the US is not cheap…

Finally, make sure you have fun.

The woman who probably inspired a million girls to be Juliet, Corsaire, and other great VHS we grew up on…