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How to Impress at an In-Person Performing Arts Audition

Auditions are inherently stressful situations. You’re giving your all in front of a group of people watching your every move, listening to every word.

But with proper prep work, you can make your performing arts audition a little smoother, a little less daunting.

If you’re still attending an in-person audition, read on. If, due to COVID-19, your audition has gone virtual, check out these tips for socially distanced auditions.

Do Your Research

Audition preparations start way before the actual audition. You’re not only preparing for your audition but gaining valuable information you’ll use to decide whether to spend your time, money and resources to even audition in the first place. 

Here are a few things to think about before you schedule your audition: 

  • Who are the faculty? 
    • Where have they trained?
    • What kinds of dance are they offering? 
  • What genres will you be asked to perform in the audition?
    • What time is the audition? (Check the time zones.)
  • Do you have any friends who auditioned or know anyone who goes to school there?
  • What are the students there like?
    • What are they posting on social media? 
    • Where are their alumni employed?
  • What/How many shows do they produce each year?
    • Does the school bring in any outside professionals?
    • Who is allowed to audition for their performances? 
  • What is their COVID-19 response?
    • Are they still having in-person classes?
    • Is there a virtual option? 
    • What is the administration doing to keep the campus and community safe?
  • What is nearby the campus?
    • Grocery stores?
    • Theatres? 
    • Hotels? 
    • Restaurants? 

Prepping a Week (or More) Ahead

So you’re going for it? Great. There are lots of things to cover but here are my major takeaways:

  • Read the dress code requirements and/or material requirements for all parts of the audition. Many auditions include multiple genres. Some of mine covered ballet/pointe, modern and jazz. Some even included improvisation. Theatre and musical theatre auditions may require two monologues and/or two song genres to show range.
  • The week before: Eat well, stayed hydrated and get enough sleep.
  • The night before: Go through the audition. This ensures you won’t forget anything and have everything you need.

By doing the prep work, you will feel confident in your ability to perform your best and impress the panel by being well-rounded and well-prepared—even if they ask for something unexpected. 

On Your Best Behavior

For each performing arts discipline, the audition may look different, but at their core, they are all the same.

The auditioners are looking to see if you are a good fit for their program, and you can assess if you like the learning environment they have created in the room.

Once audition day rolls around, consider the following:

  • Arrive for enough time to check in and warm up.
  • Be kind. From the moment you step foot in the building, you are auditioning. You never know who you will meet, so being kind to everyone, even your “competition,” is important.
  • Make a mental note of the people whose numbers are before and after you to ensure when lining up or going across the floor the process can be quick. (For dance auditions.)
  • Stand in the front. (Since I am shorter it helps me see the combination easier and feel more confident.)
  • If it’s a solo audition, acknowledge the accompanist and audition panel and wait to be queued to begin. They could have questions before I began or finishing up their notes from the last auditionee.
  • Note your body language, because it will change the way you are perceived and even perform.

Not So Sure? That’s OK

Sometimes auditioners may request something you have never done before or have little experience with.

This is normal. Do not panic.

For example, in an audition, they asked to see tumbling, and the only tumbling skill I had was a cartwheel. So, I tried my best and demonstrated what I could.

They will take note of how you handle new things, and your presence. Be sure to apply all of the corrections too.

If you have a question, wait till the right opportunity, such as after the instructor fully explains what her or she wants.

But don’t be scared to ask questions, because there is no shame in not knowing.

And don’t forget to enjoy the audition, because if you’re not enjoying yourself, the auditioners may not be either.

Wait Patiently for Results

This may be the hardest part.

It can be easy to overanalyze your performance and dwell on mistakes. Just take comfort in the fact you did your best.

I have gotten many rejections.

But—When one door closes, another door opens, so says Alexander Graham Bell.

While waiting, write down your thoughts about the experience. 

Did you enjoy the faculty? Have you been academically accepted? Are you eligible for any additional scholarships?

Break a Leg, Merde, and Good Luck. 

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Author: Rosalie Anthony

Rosalie is currently attending Point Park University earning her Dance- B.F.A degree with a minor in French. Previously, she attended and graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in dance. She is passionate about learning, teaching and mentoring. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, chatting with friends, and discovering new places to go in Pittsburgh.