Auditions can be overwhelming — and you feel your fear and anxiety building as you prepare to audition.
Know that you’re not alone. Most dancers have felt this way at least once; many feel this way before every audition. But if you want to be a professional dancer, you can’t get around auditioning.
So how can you best prepare for a dance audition?
Use these ten dance audition tips to help you prepare and feel more confident. Whether you’re auditioning for a company, a school, or gig, or something else, we’re here for you.
Table of Contents
- How To Prepare for a Dance Audition: 10 Tips for a Successful Performance
- Logistical Preparations for a Dance Audition
- Mental Preparations for a Dance Audition
- Physical Preparations for a Dance Audition
- Dance Wire: A Community and Resources for Dancers of Every Type
How To Prepare for a Dance Audition: 10 Tips for a Successful Performance
Logistical Preparations for a Dance Audition
Knowing how to prepare for a dance audition is key to a smooth and stress-free audition.
To fully understand what you’re getting into, you’ll need to:
- Dig deep into your “why” of auditioning.
- Educate yourself on who you’re auditioning for.
- Be prepared for any situation.
- Dress for success.
#1: Know Your Purpose
Before you can prepare for a dance audition, you have to know why you’re auditioning. This will affect how you prepare for the audition.
You should consider these two main questions:
- Is this dance audition simply to practice auditioning?
- Is this dance audition for my dream position?
If it’s the first, you may be planning to attend many auditions to practice being in front of people and learning how to take feedback. That’s great and we highly recommend attending auditions for that reason. This keeps it low pressure while getting critical experience under your belt.
If this dance audition is to secure your dream position, your strategy could look a little different and we recommend following the steps below more closely.
#2: Do Your Research
Learn as much as possible about the company or production you’re auditioning for.
Be informed and research as much as you can about:
- Who you’re auditioning for.
- What you’re auditing for.
- What is expected of you.
- How long you’ll be there.
- Resume and headshot requirements.
- Additional required documents.
If you still have questions, ask them beforehand or have questions written out.
If you can find out who the artist or choreographer is in advance, you may be able to find and study their movement style. This can help you prepare to perform in a certain direction or style.
#3: Have a Plan
You’ve gathered all your background information. Now it’s time to make a plan to be well-prepared for your dance audition.
If you need to arrive with a choreography prepared, have your dance choreography down and ready far in advance. If you need to bring your own music, have that ready as well.
Most likely you’ll be expected to learn choreography at the audition, and regular practice is the best way to be sure your choreography skills are as sharp as possible.
Always be prepared to improvise during a dance audition. This can help you not freeze up if you’re asked to perform something on the spot. It’s always a good idea to have an 8-count in your back pocket you can pull out if needed. You can use that 8-count for reference and inspiration then change up the timing, use repetition or play with quality of movement to help it fit the requirements.
#4: Choose Your Outfit
How you present yourself is important, so you should take time to prepare what you’ll wear.
Wearing something that is comfortable and that you feel confident in is most important. It should also be appropriate for the role and dance style you’re auditioning for.
Consider these tips for your dance audition outfit:
- Don’t let the outfit distract from who you are, the person underneath is most important. But if appropriate, a pop of color could help you stand out.
- Wear your outfit to a dance class first to ensure it’s comfortable, doesn’t ride up, your straps don’t fall down, etc.
- Dress in layers to help keep your muscles warm while you’re waiting.
- Bring the correct dance shoes and ones you’re used to dancing in.
- Plan how you will wear your hair and give that a test run as well.
Mental Preparations for a Dance Audition
When attending a dance audition, being in a new environment for several hours and surrounded by people you don’t know can be overwhelming. Not to mention the whole idea that you will be chosen or not is highly vulnerable!
Having a plan that works for you — one that helps you maintain a calm and positive mind — is key to surviving an audition day.
#5: Take Time To Center Yourself
What helps you center and ground yourself?
For some dancers, these practices are helpful:
For other dancers, having something specific that helps them feel in control and grounded helps to relieve nerves. Maybe for you, it’s balancing on one leg. For another dancer, it may be holding a headstand.
Learn what works best for you, and prepare to use these tools during your audition.
#6: Be Alone, if Needed
Being in a room with other dancers for several hours can be a huge distraction for some dancers.
Networking and community can be important for dancers — but if being alone is best to help you remain calm before performing, don’t feel pressured to engage with other dancers.
Prepare ahead of time by bringing headphones or something that can serve as a distraction from the action happening around you. Using headphones can hint to fellow dancers that you need some space to yourself. You can listen to music or a podcast, or use them to help cancel out some noise while you prepare for what’s next.
#7: Visualize the Audition
Before you arrive, visualize your audition day from start to finish. Do you have everything you need?
Think through everything you need and prepare them in advance, including:
- Dance routine
- Questions to ask
- Extra shoes
- Water and snacks
#8: Don’t take it personally!
Most people who are casting have something very specific they are looking for. Whether it’s a specific movement style, a partner for an existing cast member, or a distinct look. And usually there are a large number of dancers auditioning for a very few number of spots. If you don’t get the part, it doesn’t mean you are not a good dancer.
Finding the right fit may take time, but think of how much better it will be to dance for someone who picked you as their top choice!
Physical Preparations for a Dance Audition
Always be prepared for a long day. If your dance rehearsal goes well, you’ll be learning choreography and performing it for several hours.
Some companies will ask you to come warmed up and ready to dance. Others will have a warm-up as part of the audition. This can be part of your research. Either way, we think it’s a good idea to come at least somewhat warmed up, and if there are specific things you know you need to do for your body, make sure to do those in advance.
#10: Rest, Fuel, and Hydrate Properly
Get plenty of sleep in the week prior and the night before your dance audition. Good sleep lets your body rest and your muscles recover.
Maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Focus on whole foods and healthy carbs rather than processed foods as much as possible. On the night before your dance audition, eat a good, healthy, and filling meal.
On audition day, eat a healthy, light meal a couple of hours before your audition. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. And to maintain a good energy level during the day, take some fruit or easy to digest foods as snacks.
Dance Wire: A Community and Resources for Dancers of Every Type
One of the best ways to learn how to prepare for a dance audition is to connect with other like-minded dance professionals. Dance Wire is your hub to connect you with the Portland dance community.
Dance Wire provides many free resources, as well as additional benefits with a membership, including 1:1 sessions with an expert dance consultant.
Connect to the most extensive list of talent and expertise in the Portland dance community, including:
- Fellow dancers
- Rehearsal spaces
- And much more
If dance is your passion, look to Dance Wire for the latest opportunities and resources to help boost your career. Click below to join our network now.