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Archived: 2005-2017 Company Audition Journeys


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DaNcErKeL86

Just thought I would share my experience from the Kansas City/ Dayton audition last Sunday in chicago. I am estimating there were a little over 100 people. They split us up into two classes and taught the same barre to each class and then made cuts. They cut it down to around 20 girls and 10 guys. Then we did center all together. They allowed us to do adagio in ballet shoes and then we put on our pointe shoes for the ramainder of the class. The class was very basic and the directors seemed to know what they were looking for. According to the director of Kansas City, he is looking to fill one apprentice spot for next year and he did talk to a few girls at the end but no contracts were offered at that time. The dancers he kept seemed to be on the shorter end. I am not sure if Dayton had any contracts to offer. Overall it was a good experience...with each audition I take, I become more prepared for the next!

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christa1217

Thanks DancerKel86 for sharing your audition experience with Kansas City/Dayton. I have a question, what was the age range of people who auditioned?

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DaNcErKeL86

Well it is hard for me to know the exact ages of the other auditioners but I'm assuming the youngest age was around 17/18 and I did recall seeing some older looking dancers as well.

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My daughter attended the Ballet Pacifica audition yesterday, and I accompanied her for moral support, as this was her first real professional audition. (Although she has danced for a regional company the past two years, she grew up in the affiliated school and didn't audition.) It was a good experience in many ways, as I think it probably became for her a microcosm of many of the situations and decisions an adult professional in any career might face. This may sound more like a journal entry instead of a blow-by-blow, but I hope there is something here that adds to the discussion.

 

One difference I've noticed between auditioning for a professional position and for a school or SI, is that the auditioner seems to have much less control. You can't work around a schedule conflict, for instance, by sending in a video or choosing another location to audition, as there may only be one or two auditions held. This was my daughter's situation, as she had three ballet performances this weekend, two on Saturday. Also on Saturday, her longtime teacher, coach, and mentor was retiring from dancing and there was a gala following the final performance. Even though our flight to NYC was leaving at 6:45 Sunday morning, there was no question of her missing this--it simply meant too much. She used the restroom @ LGA to change and put on her makeup since we had never been to SAB (the audition site) and weren’t familiar with what facilities would be available. We arrived early, but there was already a crowd forming. There was no charge for auditioning, which I was very appreciative of, and dancers were asked to sign a release regarding the filming of the audition. There appeared to be two camera crews—one filming dancers inside the audition, and one interviewing dancers out in the hallway about the audition process itself. My daughter said at least one girl in her group felt bothered by the presence of the cameras. Most people were young—I’m guessing from about 17 or 18 up to about 22 or 23 was the most prevalent age group, with a fair number of dancers that looked to be a little older. Because of the large number, they ended up dividing the girls into three groups. Originally my daughter was going to be in the first group, but there was a mix-up with some numbers being assigned twice (including hers), so she ended up in the second group. This may have worked against her a little, since during the wait she could feel fatigue beginning to set in. But when her group was called, she did well, making it to the final cut. She made a mental error during a combination and got off count momentarily, and her number was called shortly thereafter. She’s disappointed and upset with herself right now, since it was a combination she knew, and she felt the audition was going well prior to that. She realizes, though, that with the number of people auditioning, it only takes a single mistake to separate one dancer from the rest of the group. Would she have done better if the audition had been held on a weekend when she could have been more rested? Perhaps, but we can never really know the answer to that. It takes a lot of mental and physical toughness to be a professional dancer, and maybe the audition process is as much a test of these qualities as it is of technique. I’ve told my daughter I’m proud of her, after all she’s only eighteen and sure to continue to grow. I’m also proud of her priorities—as much as this audition meant to her (and it meant a lot), she realized the true once in a lifetime event was being present the night before to honor a teacher who has meant so much to her through the years.

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She realizes, though, that with the number of people auditioning, it only takes a single mistake to separate one dancer from the rest of the group.

 

I think that a little mishap/missed step has absolutely NOTHING to do with an audition's outcome. Sure, they're looking for dancers who can pick up combinations fast. But one mistake will not be the determining factor in a cut, unless the dancer gets obviously totally psyched out and flustered by it.

 

They're not looking for perfect steps. They're looking for a certain "fit", and there probably weren't many (if any) openings anyway. Wouldn't stress too much about one botched step:)

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  • 2 weeks later...

DS went to the Grand Rapids Ballet audition in Chicago yesterday. It was a good audition but the producers of So you think you can dance were there. The guy really wanted him and the other male that went up there with him to come back on Sunday. They would have gone straight to the 150 people that are culled from the open audition process. He thought it was pretty funny all things considered since he watched some of the show last year. :thumbsup:

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NutsaboutBallet
DS went to the Grand Rapids Ballet audition in Chicago yesterday. It was a good audition but the producers of So you think you can dance were there. The guy really wanted him and the other male that went up there with him to come back on Sunday. They would have gone straight to the 150 people that are culled from the open audition process. He thought it was pretty funny all things considered since he watched some of the show last year. :lol:

Do you mean they had no interest in offering contracts? What show did you see?

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Balletmom, tell your daughter not to worry at all. MANY of the auditioners are in her position, having had very long car, plane, or train rides to an audition site, perhaps not enough sleep due to travel, etc. One of the worst things for an auditioning ballet dancer is to sit stiffly for many hours before the audition, and yet that's the case for all too many auditioning dancers. And then having to wait through a first, or sometimes second, group following warmup - oh my, I do sympathize. I remember my daughter and all her friends having similar experiences.

 

The circumstances are rarely ideal, but I do think that in general, it's a level enough playing field at an audition, even when it's a crowded studio space since EVERYONE is dealing with the same problem.

 

My kiddo took a nice, big splashy loud crash to the floor in center during one large professional audition, :lol: hard enough to have the auditioners ask her several times throughout the rest of the audition if she was OK. She still made it to the final group of 10 or 12 before they chose the couple dancers they wanted (not her). They didn't hold the big fall against her.

 

It's good to get that first pro audition out of one's system. Your daughter will find that she'll become business-like about them. My kiddo was very talkative after her first one or two auditions - how well or poorly she thought she did, who they looked at, etc., but after the first few, she talked more about the old friends she saw. :) She didn't get worried about them for the most part. She'd say a few things about how she thought she did, then that was it. She was pretty cheerful about the whole process after getting her first jitters out the first couple of times. And you know what? That seems to be true of nearly all the seasoned auditioners.

 

The only audition my daughter was certain in advance that she'd do poorly at was a NYC cattle call where she was one of the dancers asked at the end to send in a video. We'd driven from DC to Richmond to Pittsburgh to NYC for 3 auditions in two days, she'd lost all hearing in one ear, had bad cramps, arrived in NYC after driving all day, no time for food (couldn't have eaten it anyway due to cramps), too late for her usual full warmup - you know the drill B) It was the largest cattle call she'd ever done. She almost left before it began because it seemed so hopeless. She said her balance was off due to the ear problem. But she stayed and they liked her!

 

Ya just never know. :flowers:

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Nuts about ballet,

 

I wasn't very clear. The audition for Grand Rapids Ballet was watched by the producers of the Fox TV show "So You Think You Can Dance". DS was invited to skip the first audition for the TV show and just come to the one where they go from 150 dancers down to the ones that go to Hollywood to be selected for the show. He had seen the show last year the dancers performed mostly hip hop, lyrical and ballroom. That's why he thought it was funny that they were recruiting at a ballet audition.

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It was clear that the winners (places 1 and 2) of last year's competition had a lot of ballet training even though they were primarily jazz dancers. And FYI those winners were also originally recruited from a studio in LA, they just didn't show up for the audition. The competition requires a lot of versitality; my daughter for instance looks ridiculous doing hip hop!

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So did he? :hyper:

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The audition is tomorrow, as of last night he was leaning towards no. He has no experience in ball room and his hip hop is a little painful to watch, the steps are right but the feeling is wrong. I think this is more geared towards those dancers that came up through the competition circuit I think they have more of the versatility the show is looking for. DS's training included jazz and modern but was mostly ballet.

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On the other Ballet Talk website tpday there is a link to a newspaper article stating that Ballet Pacifica has cancelled its 2006-2007 season and will be raising funds in the interim. I wasn't sure how to copy the link, if any moderators would like to add it, feel free.

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