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kirovgal

Auditions: DVD and Video making

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kirovgal

I'm graduating from highschool this year, and am hoping to get a job with a company in Europe. I know that most companies in Europe accept a video audition as the initial introduction, so I was planning on making a video and sending it to several companies. How would you recommend going about doing this? Should I hire a professional to do the video, or would a good amateur video be ok? Thanks for your help.

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Mel Johnson

I have no idea about content, but the very first consideration must be that the viewer must be able to see the video clearly. Make sure that the format for the video is compatible with PAL video systems which are most prevalent in Europe, not the NTSC format we use in the US.

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Amy Reusch

I recently put together an audition tape for a dancer seeking employment (rather than a SI audition tape) and suggested the dancer provide me with some bio material to put on the box cover. The dancer wondered if that were standard practice, thinking that usually that info is on a paper resume accompanying the tape.

 

I realized that even though I've made audition tapes for people from time to time since the 1980s, I have no idea what standard practice is. Actually, I'm interested to know if a "standard practice" has yet developed. Has it? Is there a "form" yet? And if there isn't yet, is there anything particularly useful for dancers to include on their box covers besides their names and contact info? I would imagine it would be the sort of things that go on the back of 8x9 glossies (although I'm afraid I can't remember what goes there either).

 

Generally speaking, I've always felt it important to get as much info on the tape box as possible (assuming it's organized well enough to be easily legible) because tapes tend to be stored in one place while the paperwork accompanying them will be stored in another place. At least I feel that way about performance archival videos.

 

Do companies even keep audition videos? Are they all tossed? I imagine practice differs from company to company.

 

Does anyone out there have any experience (from either management or dancer perspective) with audition tapes?

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mbjerk

Amy raises great points! I think at least the name, age, height weight and a brief resume - schools for students, companies/projects for professionals should be on the cover.

 

In my experience these tapes are not kept but trashed unless there is a special reason to store them - a potential hire in the upcoming six months being one. The storage space alone would be incredible for summer intensive video auditions!

 

Another standard to think about is content. It would be great if there were one set of requirements for an SI audition tape and another for a company audition! Then one could put more time into a good tape and reproduce it as needed versus making a new tape dependent on the content requriements every time.

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Amy Reusch

The artistic director of one of the major American AGMA-contract companies was kind enough to return my call, leaving me a message on my machine about preferences for videotape packaging. It was a slightly different answer than I had anticipated, but now that I think about it, perfectly logical. I thought I'd share it here.

 

Keep in mind that the director gets hundreds of tapes.... so the primary directive is "Keep It Simple"... don't make him/her hunt for info.... generally most bio info should go on the accompanying paperwork, so keep the info on the tape packaging down to the dancer's name, contact info and a simple listing of what's on the tape... everyone keeps trying to come up with new ideas on how to catch the director's eye with the tape packaging, but this director prefers clean simple information.

 

I take that to mean the name & contact info in a large, clean, simple font. A little further down I would put a quick listing of what's on the tape in a slightly smaller font.

 

I suspect directors would appreciate that you're trying to make life simple rather than trying with the packaging to con them into thinking you're hot stuff.

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syr

Occasionally peope will mention being asked for, or sending along a performance video, as part of an initial conversation with a company to see if they are interested enough to justify the trip out for an in-person audition. This occured last summer for a lead my daughter did not end up pursuing for various reasons, when a hometown teacher pitched her to a colleague in another state based on knowing what kind of dancer she was, and feeling she was a good match for her colleague's company.

 

But here is the question. It's one thing when you are in a school based program. But since my daughter has been in company-based training programs, they don't allow video taping of performances. Is there some simple answer to this question that will leave me smacking my forehead?

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lillianna

Company's don't allow video taping their performances but the company videotapes their own performances. The company will often copy a portion of the performance for the dancer if she/he asks. (Only if that section shows the dancer needing the tape, of course)

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syr

Lilliana - you are a font (fount?? - what is that word) of very useful information. I am going to keep the faith: B) "If she needs to, they will help her."

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missy12784

I'm going to audition for Oregon Ballet Theatre, and although I live in Oregon they still want me to send a video along with a variation. And photos. In your mind, what are some good classical ballet variations that I could use? And what posses do you think for the photos besides head shot and arabesque? Thank you

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vrsfanatic

missy12784, all the best on your audition. I am sure this is a very exciting event for you. If you run a Search you may find some helpful information regarding the particular SI you would like to attend. As for the video, my suggestion is to contact Oregon Ballet Theatre directly to find out what suits them best. Perhaps it even says on their website? :sweating:

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ConstanzaElisabeth

I need to make an audition video to send out. Some companies request a video to be considered for an audition, and some small companies I've found actually allow the video to be one's audition. So what I was wondering is, what should I include? I have only one or two performance videos that would be good enough to include, and I don't know how much classwork and of what kind I should send. My strength is definitely my jumps, so would it be okay to show much more petit allegro than, say, pirouettes, or are turns too important to be a minor part of the video?

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Victoria Leigh

ConstanzaElisabeth, if the company does not list specifics for the video, then do a shortened class, like barre work on one side only (you can do one exercise on one side, another on the other side, etc.), and then mostly center work as in any class, with adagio, pirouettes en dedans and en dehors, petit allegro and grand allegro, followed by some pointe work and a performance video in a solo or pas de deux.

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Doubleturn

If you go onto the Royal Ballet School's website, in the Auditions section they have information on what they would like included in video auditions for different ages. This might give you some ideas.

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Ed McPherson

I'm not sure of the validity of this statement, others could weigh in, but I was told when I was younger to include only performance material on videos going to companies in pursuit of a job.

I understood the logic, your being paid to perform on stage not do great tendu's in a perfect fifth in class, and they are going to ask you to come take class anyways so now's your only chance to show stage work. I can’t really comment on the success of the idea though, I never actually put a video together. At the time I didn’t feel that I had the performance material to make a video worth showing, which ended up being a very good indication of my job prospects at the time.

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dnznqueen

I agree with Ed...my audition videos only ever included performance work. Performance work of different kinds would be great. Like Ed mentioned, they will judge whether they want you to take class or not based on the video- IMHO, you can tell technique from a performance video. Good Luck!!!

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