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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Guest Ashlee2

Auditioning- what to expect: class & etiquette

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Guest Ashlee2

I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum...

 

Today, my dance teacher, myself, and another girl ran auditions for the school company (we are in the highest level, so we are like teacher assistants when it comes to things like this - we are also semi employed). Auditions went well considering most of these girls never auditioned before. There however was some behavior that was unacceptable and not okay. Tomorrow, myself and this other girl are going to sort of give a "lecture" or class on audition etiquette. Not all the girls were horrible or rude, but we would like to tell them why the things they did were okay or not okay.

 

I have never been to a ballet audion, and I would like to get some info about it. Moderators, I would be forever grateful if you could just get me up to scratch on ballet auditions.

 

Thanks!

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Victoria Leigh

Ashlee, a ballet audition is usually run exactly the same way as a ballet class. The same etiquette would apply. Dancers should be exceptionally well groomed and attired in basic pink tights and an appropriate leotard, looking their very best. Their behavior should be the same as in class, silent unless asked a question, respectful, and appreciative of corrections. They should immediately apply corrections and not just nod thier head. Understanding it is NOT the same as doing it! I don't think I know what else you would need to know, as these things are just very standard practice for all classical ballet classes and auditions.

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balletbooster

Something that dancers (particularly those new to auditions) tend to forget is that the audition begins the moment you enter the facility. How you act in the lobby, changing areas and while warming up can all impact an adjudicator's opinion of you - both negatively and positively.

 

I recall one session at an SI where audition tips were given, where the dancers were told that many adjudicators watch as dancers warm up and that care should be given to how they conduct themselves, the kind of work ethic they show, etc.

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Guest Ashlee2

Thanks. There are a few girls who are rude during class and were obviously rude during auditions. I guess I am just trying to think of more obvious things. Like they roll their eyes (it drives me insane). Our company does everything from ballet to tap. We gave them a modern combo (we love to do a lot of contact and lifts) and one girl didn't even do the lift, even after practcing. She just shrugged her shoulders - totally not okay. We split them all up into pairs to show us the combo, and after they finished, they just walked off (slumpily I might add) and didn't wait for any of us to respond. So rule: wait in the end pose until the teacher or one of us tell them it is okay to go. Etc.

 

Sorry to ramble. I guess Im looking for things like that.

 

Thanks!

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Victoria Leigh

Ashlee, I think the problem is that the discipline is lacking somewhere along the line in the school. It happens often in schools where they do a lot of different forms of dance and are not really focused on ballet. Sorry :yucky:

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Myfairlady
I recall one session at an SI where audition tips were given, where the dancers were told that many adjudicators watch as dancers warm up and that care should be given to how they conduct themselves, the kind of work ethic they show, etc.

 

That's a good point about warming up. I had to be a substitute rehearsal coach for a rehearsal for Snow in the Nutcracker last year, and it was irritating to me that some of the girls did not warm up. I put on music for them to warm up by, and they just sat there talking. Can you imagine just jumping up and dancing Snow at 9 am in the morning with no warm up? I wrote down the names of the girls who did nothing for future reference. We do notice who gives 100% effort into what they're doing, and who does not.

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Guest Ashlee2

That is what we noticed. We only have a few trouble girls, and they have "stage parents" who just call up the school and attack us when things don't go their childs way. We told them that they (the student) can discuss it with us on their own terms. We want to teach them what is appropriate and what isnt appropriate. The few trouble makers are bringing down the mood of the rest and it isnt fair to them. Most are amazing and we are lucky to have them.

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mom1

It may be ineffective to give a lecture, if you do not hold the authority for deciding who is accepted into the "company". For instance, Ms. Leigh, how good would a dancer have to be to be accepted by you after she rolled her eyes to a correction? The solution, or problem, lies with the teacher. What does she think?

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Victoria Leigh

She would have to be Pavlova/Plisetskaya/Fonteyn/Guillem all rolled into one, Mom1! :yucky:

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Guest Ashlee2

We do have some say as to who is in the company, which is why (unfortunately) we are in charge of giving this speech/class. (It's early in the morning too, ugh!)

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hkLola

Sorry to jump in here but I couldn't imagine rolling my eyes at my teachers! I get corrections and I do them, no questions asked and sometimes I just say "thank you" with a smile so they know I appreciate it because I do. Corrections are helpful. And if I were auditioning for anything I would have a permanent smile and be quiet and do as I'm told. Ballet does have a big discipline aspect to it!

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Guest Ashlee2

Thanks for all the responses - now I get to whip them into shape!

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Guest Chedva

I'm a little confused - did the badly behaved girls pass the audition and make the company? If so, I doubt any lecture will have much effect. The best way to teach proper etiquette is to have consequences for improper etiquette.

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dance1soccer1

I help organize the auditions at DD's studio. I give a chat when it looks like most of the kids have arrived. I gather the kids and parents into one area, and then give it. It basically runs:

 

An audition is like a job interview. When you arrive at the studio you need to already have your hair up, and have your leotard and tights on. You may wear warm-ups until you enter the studio for the audition class. All warm ups must be nearly stored during the audition. Please remove all jewelry now except for stud earrings, and put them in your locker or dance bag. If you have nail polish on, please go ahead and take that off. Please dispose of all food and drink except for water now. Only plastic bottles of water may be taken into the studio. Please store all music devices except those with earphones. You can use those until you go into the studio. No ipods or earphones may be taken into the audition. Pin your numbers in the center of your chest or stomach so that they can be clearly seen. No bathroom breaks will be allowed during the audition, and you may not leave the room for any reason. No cellphones may be taken into the studio. During the audition you will remain quietly at the barre until called to take your turn. No talking during the audition please. Act respectful of the auditioners. Those who are seen failing to pay attention will be asked to leave the room. If you are given permission, you may sit down. Otherwise, please remain standing. Remember, you are being watched the entire time you are in the audition, not just when you are dancing! Also, remember that if you fail to do a combination, or perform a step you are asked for, you will be taken off the audition list. Now smile, and have a great time!

 

After the speech, I pass around one of those "dip it" nail polish remover containers, so they can take off any bright nail polish.

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chauffeur

I think the tough thing about these home studio auditions for home studio productions is that some people will regard it as a "pretend" audition -- because unless there really are consequences for rude behavior and lousy audition dancing, everyone knows that everyone is going to get cast anyway. It's up to the school's administration to set a serious tone and establish real consequences. I think these home studio auditions can be a valuable learning experience for SI and company auditions, but unless the administration takes it seriously, the students and parents won't. It sounds like, Ashlee2, that you're up against it at your school. The AD is the one who should be cracking the whip here, but instead she's copping out by making a couple student-teachers do her dirty work. I don't envy you.

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