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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Negatives on auditioning?


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So recently DDs studio had a (from what I gather) well-renowned studio from somewhere else come and hold an audition for their SI. It was recommended for the level above DDs and up to the most advanced.

We asked our AD if DD (11) could attend just for the experience, and explained that we have full confidence that she (the AD) will let us know if/when DD is ready to go elsewhere for SIs, until then we are perfectly happy with the SI at our home studio. She said as long as the class size wasn't too big (i.e. if everyone in the upper levels didn't show up), DD could attend otherwise she could sit and watch, which we were happy with.

The audition/class wasn't full, so DD got to attend and it was really good.


She made it through barre really well, she worked hard and did great. When they got to the center though, she had some issues. First she went to the back of the line (seeing that she was the least experienced and youngest there), but the AD in charge of the audition put her first in line. They were asked to do combinations including things DD have not yet learned and I have to say, she did really well but you could see she was unsure of herself and getting frustrated (with herself, not the AD or class!!). After a particularly challenging combination (one that definitely not all dancers got correct even on the higher levels) she started crying in class. She quickly collected herself, and carried on with class. After another grueling combo (that she didn't know), she cried again and the AD in charge noticed and had her do a modified combination. He was very sweet to her, as were the other dancers who of course know how young she is and what level etc. I absolutely think that had she been at the end and allowed to watch the others go first, she would have done better but there would still have been things that were above her skill. For the very last combination (which she ended up loving and doing extremely well at since she's a good leaper!!) he had the next girl in line go before her. The AD really was quite nice about it all made a point to not make her feel embarrassed which was wonderful.


Standing outside the studio, I was helpless and all I could do was mime to her how great she was doing and to try to collect herself. It was not a huge outburst by any means, it was simply her face getting red and a few tears shed, then quickly collecting herself and moving on with the class. As a parent, I'm worried that I did her wrong, that I shouldn't have sent her in there. She's a perfectionist (aren't all ballerinas??) and very hard on herself. The tears were most definitely frustration that she couldn't get it right. I love to see her challenge herself, and it that aspect I think the class was very good because they did do things a little differently and she learned new things. I liked that it gave her an understanding of what is to come in the next few years of her training. I'm worried that because she did have those two epoisodes of being so frustrated that it turned her off to auditions or frightened her. She said afterwards that she thought it was a really good class and she was glad she took it even though parts of it were too hard for her.


As a dance mom I'm concerned that I somehow ruined her chance of auditioning for that school in the future. The AD took the time to chat with her afterwards and said she would e-mail about a different program with pre-pointe since DD is not en pointe yet (and the audition focused mainly on the higher level students that were already en pointe). Does it happen that students cry at auditions? Is it something that the teacher can overlook, or will it be noted in a bad way? It was her very first experience and I'm proud of her for doing it, I'm proud of her for collecting herself quickly but I have to admit I'm a little worried and upset that she cried and wonder what impact it may end up having.


I realize this is not something earth shattering in any way but my thoughts are just going round and round on this and I figured this was a good place to vent about it and hopefully get reassuring comments. :) Sorry for the longwinded rant, it just feels good to get the thoughts out among people who might understand!


Another thing that is weighing heavily on my mind regarding it was that once the audition started, another student in DDs level came in to observe. She had also asked about attending for the experience and been told she could not take the class but could watch from the outside. This is a child that is older than my DD and already en pointe, but was "demoted" to DDs level for this school year. Several of the kids auditioning were in class with this girl last year. I felt awful that my DD was in there dancing and this other girl sat outside. I know *I* did absolutely nothing wrong, we did exactly what we were told, but I'm still dreading that there may be "political fallout" from this. I can very well see the other Mom questioning our AD about why my kid could attend and not hers, and I don't want to cause any rifts or issues at the studio or hassle for the AD because of me, KWIM? It's just leaving a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, even though I know we did exactly as told...

Edited by Momof3darlings
to add some space between thoughts. Nothing was removed, just paragraphing added
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You did nothing wrong; you did not scar your DD for life; she/you did not affect her chances at that SIs audition for the future.


Sounds like the AD adjudicating the audition was a very caring, nurturing teacher and that speaks well of the SI. Your DD enjoyed the opportunity, realized she was in over her head, held her head up, controlled her emotions, and soldiered on. I would say she acquitted herself quite well and should proud of herself. She learned quite a bit---both about auditions, the AD, the class, and most of all, herself.


As for the other parents, well, if you did as recommended by your AD and the auditioning teacher, then just maintain your composure, keep calm, and shrug and smile when the other parents rant at you. Your response should be nothing more than, 'I'm sorry. I don't know why that happened. DD just did as she was told." Shrug and change the subject.

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I would talk to your director about the students watching. In general, if there is an audition, it is not for others to sit around and watch. In terms of the tears, I'm sure it was just nervousness and frustration. It simply may mean she was not ready to audition in the same class with older students yet. Or simply that she needed to get her frustration out. The good thing is that she did not bolt and run from the room and worked to overcome her feelings at that moment. She will be fine. Just encourage her that new things can be scary and knowing you are being judged can be scary but that no one expected her to dance like 16 year olds.


One of my 3 doesn't like the audition experience. She's a budding musician with a little musical talent we're trying to help foster. She always cries as soon as we walk into the building where the auditions occur for Honor Band, All-State, Youth Symphony, etc. I've learned over time that she needs this moment to happen so that it doesn't happen in the room where the auditions are. Once she's done, she's done. I'm hoping she will grow out of it. But have learned that she just needs this outlet so she can continue.


*answering at same time as dancemaven who has offered great wisdom.

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I also have an 11 yr old DD who auditioned for the first time this year for SIs. For the past two years I have been reading about how the "experience" of auditioning is important, and boy, is it ever! My DD is auditioning to go away this coming summer and I would have to say what a learning experience for us both. She has emerged from the process more aware of her dancing and now is very interested in the world outside her studio. She too has been in the challenging audition; I would have to say they ALL pushed the envelope on what the students could do, she just enjoyed some more than others. In fact one audition that challenged her the most and she felt she wasn't perfect at was the first to call and ask her to attend! I would go so far to say that the rejections that she has received have made her more resolved to learn more so that next time she gets asked! One of her best friends has gone to the auditions with her and her results have not been as good. This possibility was discussed by us parents ahead of time and it too has been a good thing. The girls are still best friends and both are better for the experience. I personally do not have the courage for this process (probably a good thing that I never pursued the performing arts! LOL) but I have come to appreciate the emotional strength my DD does have. It sounds like your DD will do fine!

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DD had one particularly challenging audition for her - mainly because of a technique and speed she wasn't used to. It's hard when they're perfectionists but you can really only do what you can do. I always tell DD not to be intimidated if it seems over her head as most of these auditions are also geared for older, more experienced dancers. Then I kiss her on the forehead, tell her to do her best and have fun. (This actually got a chuckle out of one auditioner who happened to witness this exchange.)


As far as the parents go about your DD auditioning, I have been "that" parent who was told DD couldn't take master classes at our studio because of her age when, literally, all of her classmates were in there. I make sure to let DD know that it isn't the dancers' fault when she is denied an opportunity. If the parents have a problem, just say that you were told DD could audition, you don't know why their DD couldn't, and that maybe they should speak to your studio's AD.

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Thank you Ladies (& Gentlemen?) for your comments! It's good to know that she/I did not ruin any chances of perhaps going to this SI in the future. I was really impressed with both the class as well as the AD himself.


momof3, interesting that your DD needs that "cleansing", to get it over with and then she's OK. I'm so glad to hear it's not only my own DD!


Mamatomary, that was exactly it, challenging combinations at a higher speed, with some technique elements she had simply not learned yet. I like your routine before auditions! I'm sorry, it's always hard to feel "left out", which is coincidentally why I asked about this master class to begin with (DDs level is the lowest Intermediate and at times it feels as if they're left out of lots of things... ah well, next year it will be the next group of kids and hopefully this group will be more included)


Buzzandmoo, that could make for a very difficult and uncomfortable situation (two friends auditioning together). I'm glad that so far it has worked , much because you all talked it through I bet! Happy for your DD!!


DanceMaven, Thank You! That made me feel so much better. Words of wisdom for sure, and I will definitely take that approach if the parent addresses me. I mostly fear that it will backlash in the form of the other parent complaining to the AD and the AD then deciding no more exceptions because it created discord, KWIM? I'll feel like I ruined it even though I didn't...


She isn't an overly dramatic child, but this is a fairly normal response to her being frustrated with herself. She has gotten LOTS better in the last couple of years, as one could expect, and I hope that she continues to improve her self control in the coming years. Normally when she has a challenging class or gets frustrated when she receives a correction *again*, she's able to control it in class and then breaks out in tears in the car going home.I am glad she regained composure and to her credit she didn't even glance at the door to get out of there. She pulled herself together and continued.

Sometimes it is hard to remember how young they still are (she is a fresh 11)....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interestingly enough.... we just got a letter saying she was accepted into their Intermediate level, followed by a shorter letter saying that she might otherwise try the "Pre intermediate" level as it is not a full day program. Since her AD has not in any way suggested she is ready for an outside SI, *and* she just got selected to begin pointe, we are not considering going but I have to say after the audition, it feels good that she did indeed get accepted regardless of her frustration. :)

I feel as if I should write back and politely decline, explaining that since she is just beginning pointe work we are staying at our home studio SI this year. Would that be the right thing to do?

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I did. I wrote that since she is just beginning pointe work she will be staying at her home studio this summer but she looks forward to auditioning again for them next year. :) Thanks again!!

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