Last week I had to audition 60 dancers in two hours for 5 professional jobs. I decided which to cut or keep within a minute of watching each auditioner dance two sequences in small groups.
A while ago I shared a ballet masters’ office while I was a guest
choreographer at a ballet company. The ballet master watched audition tapes for a minute or two to decide whether to invite them to an audition for the company or not. He had a large stack to get through on his breaks.
While college auditions don’t generally cut in this manner, in their minds, the faculty at highly competitive dance departments likely are taking a few minutes to assess you as a dancer. (Some schools have hundreds auditioning for 25 spots). The reality is that it takes only a few minutes for an experienced choreographer, ballet master, or teacher to assess your level, training, talent and potential. Colleges are interested in your long term potential, companies look shorter term and choreographers cast for works that often begin the next day or month.
How well you do in an audition has less to do with what you do on that day than what you have done for the years before in preparation. Begin in your freshman or sophomore year of high school to consider if you want to go to college for dance, why, with what outcome and what colleges or conservatories would help you get there. Then get several truly professional assessments of your dancing (in addition to your teacher’s).
Listen both to what they feel you need to work on and what they feel your potential is. Then build a plan and get to work. It takes years of study and hard work to be successful in the few minutes you will have at an audition.
– Diane Coburn Bruning
Director, Performing Arts Division, College Match