Dance Audition Tips & Tricks

When you attend a Team Dance competition, you not only get to show our judges your routines, you can also get a taste of a real dance audition! Our Team Dance Offs are a great opportunity to practice learning choreography quickly, get over any nerves, and show our judges what you're made of!

Here's a few tips and tricks to make sure you're in our winning group!

1. Catch the judges' attention

You can be the best dancer out on the stag

e, but it won’t mean a thing if the judges don’t notice you. Your outfit should help you stand out! You want to wear something that is form-fitting so that judges can easily see your movement. Bras and shorts are not necessarily ideal because skin color does not pop on stage as well as a bright colored outfit or an interestingly cut leotard. You should try to wear appropriate dance shoes, as bare feet or socks could look unprofessional. Not to mention socks can be a dangerous thing to wear on a foreign stage!

Your position in the group while performing isn’t a make it or break it decision, but there are advantages to choosing a good spot. Most girls will fight to get to the middle front of the stage where they feel confident they will be seen by the judges. What they forget is that almost all auditions will have you perform the dance a second time, swapping the first and second rows. That means that the back middle position is just as good as the front middle. You also want to be smart and consider the travel pattern of the dance combination you are given. If the choreography has all the dancers traveling to stage right, then starting at stage left at the beginning will actually put you center stage for the majority of the audition. If you spend most of the routine traveling downstage that means upstage will be left wide open for you to show off your stuff! If you do get stuck in an unfavorable position, do not despair. Keep your traveling movements smaller to avoid running into the curtains and don’t be afraid to get a little creative with the choreography! The judges may be impressed that you were able to make the most out of a bad situation.

When it comes to catching the judges’ attention PLEASE keep this piece of advice in mind: bigger is NOT always better. You want your moves to stand out and look confident, but you never want to leave the judges guessing whether some alien life form has somehow taken control of your body. Gaining the judges attention only to draw their eyes to out of control movement will not help your case in the least. In an audition you want to enjoy yourself, but you should dance like somebody is watching- because they are!

2. Be confident

Whether it is your very first audition or your fifty-first, the judges should believe you know what you’re doing. Confidence is communicated by your body language. Even if you are not actually feeling confident, there are plenty of ways to fake it ‘til you make it! The best way is to keep a smile on your face the whole time (as a dancer, you should have plenty of practice with this ;) ) Just plant that beautiful smile on your face and let it light up the stage. Keep it there while you learn the routine, throughout your audition, and even while you stand there waiting to see if the judges will choose you.

Now you’re in your bright outfit, perfectly positioned on the stage, and smiling with all your might when it happens- you make a mistake! Don’t panic. Mistakes are to be expected in an audition setting! You just learned a routine in 5-10 minutes. Everyone, especially the judges, understands that you may not be perfect. It doesn’t matter how big or little the mistake you made was, keep that smile on your face and keep on dancing. There’s always the chance that nobody even noticed your mistake so don’t draw unnecessary attention to it by reacting with your face or body. Don’t let it psych you out. Catch on as soon as you can and keep grooving as if nothing ever happened. People may even start to believe you did that battement three counts early on purpose!

Part of being confident is willing to go for things you feel you aren’t totally ready for. You cannot gain confidence by sitting back and waiting until you feel ready for it. You just have to go for it. The first time you think about entering a dance down you may think, “No way! I could never do that!” But if you have enough confidence to just try it out you may learn what things you can work on for next time, and you will definitely see that you can do more than you give yourself credit for! You may not need to know how to do a perfect pirouette for the rest of your life, but having confidence in yourself and your abilities will serve you well no matter what field you pursue.

3. Learn quickly

Auditions force you to learn choreography very quickly. If you want to succeed in the dancing world, it’s a necessary skill to learn. That is why it is a great idea to do multiple auditions. The more you do, the more tricks you’ll find to learn quickly. Don’t give up because you got overwhelmed at your first audition. Try the next one. You might find that just having a different instructor or different choreography is all you needed to get it down.

Don’t forget to utilize your instruction time. Pay close attention when the choreographer is teaching so that you catch important beats or counts in the choreography. Take the time to watch the choreographer do the choreography themselves- you may catch something they are doing that they didn’t explicitly teach. Sometimes dance is easier done than said. If you get lost or confused, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should not have to clarify every single eight count in the piece, but if there is one move that is throwing you off, or some counts that you really need clarified, your choreographer will be more than happy to help you succeed. Try to avoid asking nit-picking questions as that will do nothing but cut down your practice time and frustrate the choreographer. Remember, nobody is expecting perfection! If you can’t pick something up from hearing it and watching it, then make the move your own and change it to fit your style!

The last trick is to make sure that you continue to practice backstage while you wait to come on for your audition group. Many girls make the mistake of watching their friends onstage and excited whispering with their friends about how nervous they are. While it is a good idea to watch your competitors and take ideas from their performance, you should also be marking the dance for yourself so that your body can continue to gain muscle memory. The more practice time you can squeeze in, the more likely you are to nail the routine!

Let's summarize! Always come to an audition looking dressed and ready to stand out. Feel confident in your abilities or keep faking it ‘til you make it. Practice, ask questions, and practice some more. You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take, so don’t let opportunities pass you by!

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