Auditioning for a full time dance course is an exciting time in a young dancer’s life. How can you make sure you are prepared? We asked four of Australia’s top full time schools for some advice.
Lucinda Dunn, Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy
“Approaching an audition can be a daunting thought, especially when your heart is set on a positive outcome. Start with good nutrition, plenty of quality sleep the days leading up to a big event, and making sure your body is in condition.
Gain information on what is required and expected on the day. Do your research on what you are auditioning for, in case you are asked for an interview.
Maybe have a dress rehearsal of your attire, so you feel comfortable and are not wearing a brand new outfit that doesn’t fit properly.
Remember to take water and snacks if it’s a long process. Don’t get too caught up with what other people look like, say or do. Run your own race, as they say!”
Merryn Tierney, The Edge Performers School
“Auditioning for a full time dance course may or may not be your first audition experience. While it is important to prepare your body and mind for the audition experience, it is just as important to keep in mind that you are auditioning for a placement in a full time course to further your growth as a performer. Remember that a full time dance course is designed for students to learn more about the industry requirements and to train your body to its individual potential.
Although some understanding of audition protocol is desirable, the panel is not expecting you to be industry-ready at your audition. The panel are generally looking for students with a capacity for the intensive physical training, a strong passion and the potential to further their technical development and understanding of industry expectations.
Do your research. There are so many options for full time schools in Australia, and wading through the marketing material and school prospectus can be confusing. If at all possible, go to each school to meet the course manager and tour the facilities. See the classes in action and meet the people involved in providing the training. These are the people you are potentially spending the majority of your time with for the next 12 months.
Talk about what you want to gain from your training, and ask lots of questions. Ask what performance experiences will you be participating in and what time will be dedicated to training. Ask about class sizes – will you be lost in the system, or will you be getting value from your training with individual attention? Ask about the faculty and their qualifications as educators, as well as what they are doing in the industry now. If possible, attend workshops, and speak to current students for an unbiased view point. Ask about the graduates from the course and what they have achieved.”
Susan Street, Queensland University of Technology
“Research the schools you are auditioning for, including attending public performances or spending a day observing classes. Assess the quality of the facilities, the teaching staff and the hours of studio training you will receive each week. Ask yourself if the training matches with your career aspirations.
Prepare for both the physical audition and an interview. In an interview, be prepared to be asked about your career aspirations, what dance performance you last saw and your opinion on the works. You need to convince people that you are one of the small number that should be chosen because you are passionately committed to this field of endeavour.
Most importantly, ask yourself if you really do have the determination required to enter and complete full time dance training. It’s intense, competitive, usually involves frustrating periods of injury, and requires both dedication and willpower to succeed. It’s also likely to be one of the best times of your life!”
Todd Patrick, Patrick Studios Australia
“My biggest advice is not so much about the audition but more about how to find the course that best suits your needs. Every school has a flashy website and savvy social media describing the school of your dreams, but the reality is full time is extremely hard work and expensive, so you need to make an educated decision. I recommend watching full time showcases, looking at the students that the schools are training and researching industry employment statistics from the schools.
Do the programmes you’re auditioning for have a support network to help you transition from training to the industry? Is there an agency or affiliated agency to guide and support you? Speak to alumni from the schools to get a firsthand account of what it’s like to train within each programme.
Most importantly, who is training you? Who is on staff? Are they connected to the industry? Can they give the advice needed when you’re working, or is their expertise only in the physical elements of performing arts?”
By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.