dancing information & advice



Welcome to out dancer information and advice pages, were sure you'll find everything you need to start and pursue a career in dance.


Good luck!


01.    So you want to be a dancer?

02.    If all else fails

03.    Being a dancer

04.    How do you get ready to become a dancer?

05.    How many jobs are there?

06.    What about the future?

07.    Where can you find more information?

08.    Work conditions and training

09.    The work

10.    Hours and Environment

11.    Skills and Interests

12.    Entry

13.    Training

14.    Opportunities

15.    Annual Income

16.    Audition season

17.    Dance auditions

18.    What to do  and what are they looking for

19.    Auditions tips

20.    The life of a ballet dancer



1.  So you want to be a dancer?


You reckon you can stomach getting up at 6.30am, for a gruelling day of sweating it and training in the studio? You’re creative, you’ve been told a thousand times that you’ve got loads of natural talent…with the right kind of intensive, dance training you’ll go far…you’ll be a star.


Hold up for a second…

Who’s paying the bill? When you sit down and add it up, it all starts to look a bit scary. Not only do you have to cover your college fees, but you’ll probably need to pay rent, buy new kit and maybe even books and equipment.

Oh yeah and there are those little things like eating and more importantly going out with your mates! Wouldn’t you be better off going to study a University subject, like Maths or Engineering?

After all, apart from a tiny amount, the government pays your fees if you go to do a University course and you can get a student loan that you don’t have to pay back until your ancient. Even if you get offered a place at one of those private dance or drama colleges, you probably won’t be able to take it as there’s no money available to help pay the fees.


Or is there?

If you haven’t heard of them already, listen up: The Dance and Drama Awards. Yes, they do exactly what they say on the tin – they award money for dance and drama students. And we’re not talking a measly half your fees or a bit of cash for new ballet shoes.

The awards cover almost all of your fees, leaving you with a small shortfall to pay (this is the same situation that friends who go to university will find themselves in). Not only that, but you can apply for student loans and depending on your personal financial circumstances you can also apply for means tested help with living costs from your Local Education Authority.

This makes a real difference when you think that a lot of the full time dance training colleges are based in and around London where student life can be very expensive.


The Dance and Drama Awards

are now in their third year and have already made a massive difference to the lives of hundreds of dance and drama students who thought they would never be able to afford to enter full time arts training.

Check whether the dance college that you have in mind is part of the Dance and Drama Award Scheme. Another option is that some colleges are what is called ‘maintained’ and can offer their own grants, either because they have public funding or because they’re attached to a University eg Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

But do note that not many dance schools fall into this category. (A list of dance colleges and their funding schemes is available through the CDET – details below). Think about applying to a college that’s part of one of these schemes in order to broaden your chances.


There is also a chance...

There is also a chance that as more colleges enter the scheme, the same number of awards will be divided between more dance and drama colleges (there are currently only 820 Awards across the whole country). This could mean that if you’ve really got your heart set on a particular college, there may be fewer scholarships available at that college in a few years time.

For this reason, think twice about deferring application as it may be more difficult to secure an award in the future.


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2.  If all else fails


• You can try applying to grant giving trusts and foundations, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find all your fees and living costs in this way. Also, unfortunately, if you haven’t been given an award of some kind then you can’t apply for a student loan.

• You may be eligible for a Career Development Loan (freephone 0800 585505 for an information pack) dependent on which course you’ve been accepted for, but do bear in mind that these kinds of loans require you to start repayments almost immediately you finish at dance college.

• There’s no guarantee that you’ll find paid dance work straight away so going for one of these loans can be quite risky.

• There is lots of information out there to tap into

• Check out www.dfes.gov.uk/iyc/moneymatters.shtml, or call 0114 259 3612 for more details of the Dance and Drama Awards and funding advice.

• The Council for Dance Education and Training have also produced a very useful leaflet offering helpful hints to students hoping to train in dance, available at www.cdet.org.uk ,

• Also have a look at the BBC’s new BLAST! Website , which offers information on how to get involved in dance activities and dance training and also has a specific 'Ask an Expert' section answering your questions and offering young people advice on getting into different types of dance.

• And check out the londondance.com directory, for details of London based colleges


The future

is actually looking a lot rosier than it did for dance students a few years ago, so go on, bite the bullet and take your chance. You never know, you could be a lot richer for it!


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3.  Being a Dancer


Dancers express ideas, stories, rhythm, and sound with their bodies. Some dance in ballet; others perform modern dance. Dancers work in musical shows, in folk, ethnic, tap, and jazz dances. Opera, musical comedy, television, movies, music videos, and commercials often include dancing as well. Many dancers sing and act, as well as dance. Dancers often work as a group. A few stars dance solo. Many dancers also teach or choreograph dances.

Choreographers create new dances. They may also add changes to older dances. Some teach dancers to get the results they want. They may also audition dancers for a particular production. Dancing is hard work. Rehearsals often are long and usually take place daily. Many rehearsals take place on weekends and holidays. Weekend travel is common when a show is on the road. Dancers must also work late hours and practice during the day.

Because dancing is hard work, most dancers stop working by their late thirties. Sometimes they become dance teachers and coaches.


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4.  How do you get ready to become a dancer?


• To become a dancer, one must be agile, flexible, have good body tone, and a supple body. Training begins at age 5 to 8 in ballet, usually by private teachers and in ballet schools. Boys often start training later than girls. Students who are good by their early teens get more advanced training. Training by leading dance schools, for those who are serious about dancing, also takes place in the summer.

• Most dancers have their professional auditions by age 17 or 18. By then dancers usually focus on a specific style of dance. Dancers normally spend 8 hours a day in class and rehearsal, keeping their bodies in shape and preparing for performances.

• Education in music, literature, history, and the arts can help you understand the mood and ideas of a dance.

• A college degree can help a dancer who retires early get another kind of job. It is also very important if the dancer wants to teach in elementary or high school. Dance studios usually want teachers to have been performers. Choreographers are usually experienced dancers as well.

• As dancers get better, they often get more jobs, bigger and better roles, and higher pay. Dancers must constantly be motivated and prepared to go on many auditions.

• In 2004, the middle half of all dancers made between $6.71 and $15.62 an hour. The lowest-paid 10 percent made less than $5.87. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $21.59. Choreographers earned a little more, on average. When on tour, dancers receive an allowance for room and board and extra money for overtime.

• Dancers and choreographers work on specific jobs. When the job is over, they have to look for another one. Earnings from dancing are often low because dancers don't work all year. There may be a lot of time between each job. They often take another kind of job when they are not dancing.

• Many dancers employed by large companies belong to unions. Some get paid sick leave and other benefits.


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5.  How many jobs are there?


About 38,000 dancers and choreographers had a job at any one time in 2004. Many other dancers didn't work during the year and earned a living doing something else. Dancers work in many kinds of places. Some work in restaurants, theaters, dance studios, theme parks, and with bands. In addition, many dance teachers work in all kinds of schools. About 20 percent of all dancers and choreographers were self-employed.

Almost all the major cities in the United States have full-time dance companies.


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6.   What about the future?


• There are a lot of people who want to be professional dancers and choreographers, but not so many jobs. Only the most talented will find regular work.

• The number of dancers and choreographers will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. The best chance of getting a job will be with a big dance company.

• Opera companies will also have some new jobs. Dance groups in colleges and universities and television and motion pictures will also have some jobs. There will also be some jobs for dance teachers. Music video producers will have some jobs for dancers and choreographers. However, rising production costs will limit the number of jobs in smaller companies.


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7.   Where can you find more information?


• More BLS information about dancers and choreographers can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Handbook also shows where to find out even more about this job.

• Dancers express rhythm and sound, and interpret feelings and ideas, through movement. You may perform on stage or on film, solo, with a partner, or with a group. You may be involved in several types of dance, or specialize in a particular form such as ballet, jazz, modern, ballroom or folk, or culturally-specific dance.


To keep in shape and prepare for performances, you have to spend many hours every day exercising, practicing and rehearsing dance routines, alone and with others. You must also attend costume fittings, photography sessions and makeup calls as well as performances. Finding time for everything can be extremely demanding, particularly if you work part time at another job to make extra money.


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8.  Work conditions and training


• You may work in theatres, nightclubs, motion pictures or television. Most jobs are short term and there may be long periods of time between jobs. Some jobs require membership in a union or professional organization associated with your type of dance.

• You have to audition to get work. A job may last only for a few performances, or it may last for a full season or more. You grab opportunities as they arise, and gradually build a professional reputation. Getting a start as a dancer can be difficult. It is common for dancers to have other types of jobs to support themselves during the early stages of their careers.

• Dancing is mentally as well as physically demanding. You are constantly pushing yourself to become the best you can be. At the same time, you have to recognize your limits so you don’t injure yourself. Most dancers move into other occupations before they reach 40 years of age.

• Many dancers start their careers by taking dance lessons when they are quite young, although it is possible to begin training in certain dance styles later in life. Of all the young people who take dance lessons, only a few go on to full-time dance programs offered by colleges, universities and private dancing schools.


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9.  The work


• Professional dance covers three main areas – classical ballet, contemporary dance, and musical theatre or modern stage dance (which includes jazz and tap, and often also involves acting and singing). Other fields are also growing in popularity, such as African and Asian dance styles and street dance. Professional dancers usually specialise in one area, and may perform live, on TV or in music videos.

• Usually, dancers will interpret the work of a choreographer, although in some cases improvisation may be required. As well as performing, dancers spend a lot of time rehearsing and maintaining their skills and fitness.

• Many dancers combine performance with other related work such as teaching or working on projects in schools and colleges.

• Social dancing, such as ballroom, disco and line dancing, is usually done as a recreational activity, although there may be a few opportunities to teach others, perform on stage or in competitions.


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10.   Hours and Environment


Work as a dancer is strenuous and involves long hours, with rehearsals and practice during the day and performances in the evenings. Travel is often involved, touring in the UK and possibly abroad. It is often necessary to re-locate to find work. Performances take place in a range of venues, including theatres, film and TV studios, nightclubs and cabarets, hotels, halls and on cruise ships, so facilities will vary. Rehearsals may be in purpose-built studios or more basic locations.


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11.   Skills and Interests


To be a dancer you should:

• be talented and creative

• have a good sense of rhythm and timing

• be enthusiastic, determined and prepared to work extremely hard

• be able to maintain focus and concentration

• have the ability to memorise complicated routines

• have flexibility, for example to deal with cast changes and different venues

• have a high level of fitness, stamina and resilience

• have the ability to work well with others.


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12.  Entry


• To become a professional dancer you will usually need to train for several years in at least one aspect of dance. Training is often undertaken from the age of 16, although it can begin as early as 10 or 11, especially for those wishing to become ballet dancers; for classical ballet it is necessary to start training whilst the bones and joints are still flexible, usually between the ages of 10 and 12 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys, although some begin between five and eight.

• Many professional dancers have attended classes with private teachers, or at independent dance schools, from primary school age, and some go to specialist vocational schools such as the Royal Ballet School from age 11 or younger, and combine dance training with general education. Some of these schools are residential.

• Dance schools offer part-time lessons in one or more forms of dance, usually preparing students for the graded examinations of awarding bodies such as the Royal Academy of Dance and the British Ballet Organisation. These schools also offer full-time dance courses, which take students at age 16 or 17, and which are designed to prepare you for a career as a performer. Check entry requirements with individual schools, as these may vary.

• Entry to vocational schools is by audition, and usually interview and medical. The most important requirements will be performance ability and potential. Different styles of dance have different requirements as to height and physique.

• Information on registered teachers and accredited courses is available from the Council for Dance Education and Training (CDET).

• Dance-related courses available at colleges of further education include A Level Dance or Performing Arts (Dance), or BTEC/SQA Foundation, National Certificate or Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance). These help you develop a range of dance skills and may be required for entry to some vocational schools, but if you wish to develop a career as a performer you will usually need to supplement these by taking extra classes, or gaining dance experience, for example by joining a local youth dance company. The Foundation for Community Dance website has an online directory of dance companies (see Further Information section).


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13.  Training


• Vocational dance schools may specialise in specific dance styles such as classical ballet, or offer training in theatre dance, covering jazz, contemporary, ballet, and other subjects useful in musical theatre, such as singing and acting. Training will include extensive practical work. Most of these schools are private. Funding may be available for approved courses through the Dance and Drama Award Scheme, which is funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

• Most courses lead to a National Diploma in Professional Dance or a National Certificate in Professional Classical Ballet, awarded by Trinity College, London.

• Some of the specialist institutions also offer full-time vocational degree courses, which have a practical emphasis to prepare students for careers as dance artists. Entry to degree courses is usually with a minimum of five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) and two A levels or three Scottish Highers or equivalent, plus an audition. • A number of colleges of higher education and universities offer degree courses in dance, but you should check the content of these, as they are often aimed at those who wish to work in areas such as dance education, administration and development, rather than as performers.

• On-going training is essential throughout a dancer’s career, in order to maintain and develop skills. Courses, workshops and summer schools are available at dance schools throughout the UK.

• It can also be useful for dancers to gain other skills, which can be used to supplement income, or for career development when performance is no longer possible. This could include training which builds upon dance skills and knowledge, such as Pilates, massage, the Alexander Technique, yoga and other complementary therapies. After gaining experience as performers, some dancers undertake training in dance-related areas such as choreography, notation, dance teaching, community theatre work and arts administration.

• The Work in Dance website has information on professional development for dancers, and CDET offers advice on all aspects of dance education and training. Dancers’ Career Development (DCD) offers educational advice and funding for eligible professional dancers who need to make the transition from performing careers. See Further Information section for more details on all of these organisations.

• Professional dancers may be able to apply for funding for some aspects of professional development through national Arts Councils.


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14.   Opportunities


Competition for dance work is intense, and periods of unemployment and under-employment are common.

Many dancers work initially in the corps de ballet in classical ballet, or as part of a small company or chorus. Only the best will succeed as a principal or soloist dancer. Hard work, talent and dedication are essential.

Employers include ballet companies and contemporary dance companies. Dancers may perform in musical shows in the theatre, in clubs and cabarets in the UK and abroad, or on cruise ships. Some dancers set up their own companies, possibly with funding from the Arts Councils. Dancers often have a relatively short performing career, and after their mid-thirties most either retrain or move into other dance-related areas such as:

• dance teaching, either in state schools, private classes or running their own dance

• school (see the Dance Teacher profile for more details)

• choreography (see Choreographer profile)

• dance movement therapy (see profile)

• dance administration and management

• freelance journalism.


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15.  Annual Income


• Figures are intended as a guideline only.

• Equity, the actors and performers union, has negotiated minimum rates for ballet and dance artists who are Equity members of £304 a week. Non-Equity work may pay less.

• Many dancers work as freelancers on a contract basis and rates of pay vary widely according to the type of dance and geographical location. A number of dancers supplement their salaries by working in related areas such as teaching, choreography, and dance in community settings, or by taking jobs unrelated to the field.

• Full-time employment by a company is rare in the contemporary dance area. Dancers are mainly employed on short-term contracts and paid a weekly fee.


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16.  Audition season


Audition season is here! You've decided where you're going to audition, you've taken your pictures, gotten all of your letters...but what do you do when the day of the audition finally arrives? Here's a fool-proof guide to the days we've all been preparing for!!


1. Breakfast

-What you eat for breakfast depends on your preferences. If you dance well on a full stomach: I'd suggest a breakfast high in carbohydrates, such as pancakes, toast, or cereal. This will give you the energy boost you want for your class! If you dance well on an empty stomach: DON'T skip breakfast! You're going to need energy for the class! I'd suggest a light meal, such as a smoothie or some toast. Here is a delicious recipe for a filling breakfast smoothie:


2. What To Wear

-Double check with the program you're auditioning for to see if they have any attire requirements. Most programs require a dark leotard, footed tights, and your hair pulled up out of your face. -You may think that wearing a brighter leotard will help you stand out to the judges. However, it will probably just hurt their eyes. Refrain from anything flashy, the judges will see you regardless of what you wear. -Avoid wearing new slippers, pointes or leotards for the audition. They may look pretty, but they will only make you uncomfortable.


3. Packing Up

Here's a list of things you may want to pack up. -Extra leotard -Extra tights (in case of rips or runs) -Pointe shoes (if not specified, bring them anyway) -Toenail clippers -Toe tape -Warm-ups (if they help you stretch, you most likely won't be able to wear them during class) -Extra bobby-pins and hair spray -Water bottle -Tampon or Pads (better safe than sorry!) -Arabesque picture & letters of recommendation (if necessary) -Energy bars or snacks


4. Arrival

-Be sure to arrive at the audition site at least 30 mins. before the audition starts, but an hour prior is recommended. -Large auditions such as SAB, ABT or SFB tend to be crowded, so you may want to get there early to guarantee a good spot at the audition. However, these large programs hold extra auditions if there is an overflow of dancers. -While you're waiting for the audition to start, you can stretch or relax.


5. Nerves

-You may be nervous leading up to the audition, especially if it is your first one. -My no-fail way to calm my nerves is to stretch. Just keep stretching in every way possible. For some reason it calms you down, relieves your stress and makes you feel more prepared. -Also, you could meditate. This is what I always tell people to do. Sit and relax, close your eyes, and just clear your mind. Take slow, deep breaths. It really works!


6. During the Class

-Always remember that during the audition, every girl in that room is nervous too, just like you. Keep your confidence high, and the judges will notice. -A typical audition class consists of a full barre and center, and sometimes they also have pointe. Check with the program you're auditioning for to see if they require pointe work in the audition. -Dont forget to SMILE!! You have to make it seem like you're having the time of your life. If you look happy, the judges will be happy too! -Don't hesitate to ask questions during the class. They are not only looking for the most talented dancers, but the most curious! -Drink lots of water! A dehydrated dancer doesn't perform at his or her best! -Last but not least, have fun!!


7. Results

-The time it takes to receive the results of your audition varies from program to program. -Generally, results are sent to you from 1 1/2 weeks after the audition to one month after the audition.


• Auditioning can be stressful, but it's the best way to find work in theater, film and commercials. Here are some helpful hints when heading out for an audition.

• Arrive at least 15 minutes early. You don't want to have to rush into your audition. Give yourself time to find the space and warm up.

• Pack your bag with a book in case there is waiting and a bottle of water. Not every place has a water fountain.

• Be nice to everybody. You never know if the person you are speaking to is important.

• There may be several people waiting with you to audition. Remember that they are competing with you for the same job. Don't let them intimidate you.Wear neat, comfortable clothing. I know you want to look nice, but make sure you can move around the room. And don't wear a costume. Your outfit can suggest the character such as a high-collar blouse for a period piece, but don't get all dressed up.

• Careful when using perfume or cologne. You don't want to send anyone out of the room in a sneezing fit.

• Try to find some background information about who you are auditioning for. If you are auditioning for a particular company, be familiar with their work. It can also help you decide which pieces to choose for your audition.

• If no information for the audition is given, keep your monologue to about a minute. Most directors can tell in that time if they are interested. Have several pieces prepared and one longer piece in case they ask to see more. Read this article on Acting Exercises. It is a series of exercises to explore the text of a scene or monologue. Try them when rehearsing your monologue.

• Bring clean and clearly marked sheet music. If you are auditioning for a musical, be sure the music you give the piano player is cut down to 16 bars and is free of stray marks and coffee stains.

• Bring at least five headshots. You never know how many you will need.

• Make sure your resume is firmly attached to your headshot. If possible, photocopy or print your resume to the back of the headshot. Don't staple it. From experience, I know that the headshots with staples get tangled in a pile. It is so much easier to access the individual sheets. And one page is plenty. Don't attach your press quotes unless asked.

• Make sure your headshot/resume is no large than 8 1/2" by 11". This will fit into a folder. If the headshot is oversized, it may end up in the trash. (See Headshot and Acting Resume Dos and Don'ts for more hints.)

• Set up the audition space for your needs. If there is a chair center stage, but you are going to stand for your audition, ask if you can move it out of the way. Don't try to work around it.

• Remember to smile. If you are nervous, take a deep breath and try to relax. Recognize that you are not going to get every job you audition for, but can learn from every experience.

• When you are called in for your audition, be confident and smile and unless it is vital, avoid asking too many questions as your audition probably has a tight time slot.

• Definitely do not ask if you will be called back. The casting director will let you know, that you can be sure of. If you do get called back, wear the same outfit as during your audition.


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17.  Dance auditions


Have you ever noticed that some people seem to breeze through auditions? Have you ever asked yourself what they know that you don't? No matter how confident those folks seem, they are probably as nervous as you are.

Everyone is a little tense at audition time. The secret of appearing calm is to prepare yourself as well as you can, try to do your best, and then accept the results for what they are: just another learning experience, another step in your career.

You will attend many auditions during your years as a dancer; it is certain that you won't be chosen in all of them, so don't fret. It happens to everyone.


What to Wear

•The first rule is to look your very best. Neatness definitely counts. Be sure your outfit is attractive, clean, and in excellent repair. An audition is no place for tights with holes or the sweats you've cut into your favorite neckline shape.

• Dancewear is designed to show the line of the body, and that is certainly one of the things the people running the audition are interested in. Leg warmers, oversized sweaters, and plastic pants, while comfortable and cozy, hide the very line being looked for. The dancer wearing them will probably be ignored. If you wear warmups while waiting to be called, be sure to remove them before being asked to do so.

• It is most important to dress appropriately for the particular audition you are taking. If you are auditioning for a school or apprentice program and a uniform is suggested, be sure to wear it. For the ladies, pink tights and a black leotard are always appropriate for a ballet audition; for the gentlemen, black tights and a white T-shirt, tucked in, are standard.

• For Broadway or for modern dance, choose something brighter. It is excellent to wear something that helps the auditioners identify you; however, don't be flamboyant unless the situation calls for it. Choose the leotard with the most flattering neckline and cut, the T-shirt that fits just right, and by all means look as attractive as you can.

• Hairdos and makeup, even the haircut, should also be flattering and appropriate to the situation. No one will notice the mouse at the back whose hair is unkempt, or the person who is trying to fade into the woodwork.

• If you are auditioning for a summer ballet program and no uniform is specified, gentlemen might wear a light colored T-shirt with black tights. Ladies should wear a pastel colored leotard with your favorite neckline and sleeve length, the one that makes you look and feel your best.

• For the ladies, silk flowers or a ribbon in very neatly groomed hair are always pleasant, but make sure they are firmly anchored. Wear light makeup if it is appropriate to your age group; small earrings are acceptable for those with pierced ears. Leave all jangly jewelry at home.


What to Bring

Come to an audition prepared with a concise resume highlighting the best (or in some cases the only) things you have done thus far. The resume should never exceed one page and should be certain to list your name, address, telephone, fax number if you have one, the roles you have danced, and where you danced them. It might also include your principal teachers and any choreography or teaching you have done.

If at all possible you should have an 8 x 10 glossy photograph of yourself. Most people prefer a full-body shot in dance clothes, although some require a head shot. Black-and-white is fine. For a summer program, do have a resume with you just in case; probably no photograph will be required.


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18.   What to Do, and What They Are Looking For


• It is obvious that you bring to every audition the sum total of all the work you have been doing in class and in performance. Your technique isn't suddenly going to change during the audition, so all you can do is your very best.

• The first rule is to pay close attention to what is being shown and what is being asked for. This is not the moment to be a choreographer; do the combination as it is given. But dance it as fully as you possibly can! You are demonstrating your discipline, your ability to take direction, and, most of all, your joy in moving.

• Summer programs are looking for dancers who will make good students--students who are disciplined and eager to learn. Those programs attached to companies may also be looking for dancers with potential to develop into company members, dancers who are open to learning the company style.

• If you make a mistake, try again; certainly don't give up and go to the corner to sulk. Keep your face alive but don't paste on a smile. The facial expression usually takes care of itself if you concentrate on performing fully. Also, be polite to your fellow dancers; no one wants a troublemaker.

• Sometimes the person giving the audition has a particular body type or "look" in mind. If the auditioners know exactly what kind of dancer they are looking for, there isn't much you can do about it except smile and be a good sport. Don't take it as a personal insult, and remember that you may very well cross paths with the auditioner at a later date, when a dancer of exactly your own type is being sought.


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19.  Auditions tips


What to do in Auditions:

o Initial contact – be friendly and professional.

o Be professional – Dress for the occasion, keep yourself in good shape.

o Don’t oversell yourself but be confident and assertive.

o Wear a smile and act like you’re having a good day even if you aren’t.

o Find out what they are looking for and determine whether or not you fit the criteria.

o Present a professional image (you don't have a second chance to make a first impression).

o Take control of the situation (plan what you are going to play and do) o Be on time ready and warmed up o Introduce yourself - Speak clearly

o Look people in the eye Communicate if you have a legitimate problem (long before the audition)


What Not to Do in Auditions:


How to Audition:


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20.   The life of a ballet dancer


• The life of professional ballet dancers, especially if he or she is just starting out as a professional, can be very unpredictable and low in pay. Professional dancers work on a contract. A dancer will go and do a class with a ballet company and tell the company that he or she is interested in getting a job with them.

• The class is treated as an audition and afterwards the directors of the ballet company will tell the dancer if they would like to give him or her a job. If they do, they will offer the dancer a contract.

• The contract will be for a certain number of weeks at a certain pay rate and will include all of the benefits that the company will offer the dancer.

• For example, a young male dancer just got a job with a company and his contract is for at least thirty weeks, (he may work for more), and the ballet company will handle all of the immigration arrangements and other arrangements because he is from out of the country. This is considered a pretty good contract.

• As a dancer gets better he or she may be promoted to the position of "soloist" within a company. This means getting to dance solo roles, (such as the bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty), and get paid more.

• Then, a dancer may get promoted again to become a "principal" dancer with the ballet company. This means another pay raise and the opportunity to play leading roles such as Don Quixote in Don Quixote.

• If a dancer is good enough and well enough known he or she may do some work as a guest artist with other dance companies as well as work at a particular company. This is a way of raising the dancer's image and supplementing present income so that he or she may live comfortably.


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