Originally Researched and Written by Alexandra Cownie, author of How To Be A Ballet Dancer Summarized here by Richelle Stevenson, LAT ATC Read the full article here!
This article is geared towards pre-professional dancers getting ready to audition for professional companies. The author has excellent points on what dancers should keep in mind and what to avoid. Even if you are not yet ready to audition for a company these tips are still a great resource for any audition! Also, check out the link below for a 4-year-plan to help you prepare and strategize for when you are ready to audition for professional companies. Read the full article for more information. 1) Research, research, research the company. Since most dancers audition for numerous companies (and many of these auditions are scheduled around the same time), it can be easy to get in a streamlined mentality. But, just as a resumé tailored to a specific job often makes a better impression than a blanket application, having a clear picture of each company can prepare you for the best impression during your auditions. The author of this post states, "There are huge differences between companies and it’s extremely important that you know who you are auditioning for in order to give yourself the best chances of fitting in! A great thing to do is go to see them on stage." I suggest reading the bios of the company's artistic and even administrative leadership, looking into what productions they have performed and plan to perform, and watching clips from rehearsal and performances (if you aren't able to see them perform live). 2) Approach auditions differently than competitions. The author makes a great point: it often is not the most technical dancer who lands the job with a company but the one "that fits the best artistic criteria set by the company director and artistic board." This is also where research can make a huge difference. Does this company lean toward Vaganova or Balanchine technique? Do they have a contemporary or classical vibe to their choreography? Intentionally prioritizing these elements during your audition can help the artistic director visualize you as a part of their company. In other words, focus on emphasizing stylistic choices over tricks. 3) Test what foods are best for your body Not only is auditioning exhausting physically but it also comes with anxiety which can make dancers 'too nervous to eat'. Yet, your body needs lasting energy in order to perform its best and keep your mind focused. Long before your audition, spend time experimenting with which foods (and at what point in the day) give you the most lasting energy without feeling heavy. I love this suggestion from the author since having familiar foods and habits can also help calm your body and mind (even subconsciously) during your audition. Ask yourself: – How long before the start of the class should I eat? (1h, 30min… ?) – What foods make me feel light? – What foods give me the longest lasting energy (the last thing you want is a drop of energy if you get qualified for the
choreography part of the audition!) – What snacks work best for me during breaks? – How much water do I need to drink at any given point to feel on top of my game? (small sips taken more often usually work best and keep your body hydrated without feeling full) Additional resources: 4 year plan Advice from Charlotte Ballet 6 strategies for any and every audition
And onto the next! How to handle back-to-back auditions
Richelle Stevenson, LAT ATC Three auditions in one weekend? Plus travel time to get from the first in Hartford to the next in NYC? Audition season can take a toll on your body, especially when these auditions take place on your rest days (weekend) amid your normal full dance schedule. So what do you do when you wake up extremely sore from an intense audition and have to get ready for the next? Prevention The first way to deal with intense soreness is to, of course, prevent it. Although you won't be able to completely eliminate muscle fatigue, there are steps you can take to reduce muscle spasm. 1) Hydrate!! The National Athletic Training Association recommends consuming a minimum of 1/2 your body weight (in ounces) of water BEFORE activity. The week before auditions, be sure to calculate your water intake needs and set reminders to hit these goals. Water helps muscles receive adequate nutrition and remove waste (lactate); plus, if your subconscious is preoccupied with thirst you will be less able to focus on learning choreography. 2) Gentle stretching. After intense exertion, stretching muscles for over 1 minute will help to lengthen them. If you have an audition the following morning, however, I recommend avoiding overstretching (longer than 2 minutes) for each muscle because you run the risk of strain and decreasing power output. The Morning of
1) Nutrition. Just like the article mentioned above, it's important to know which foods work best for your body before the day of a big event. Once you have a general idea, plan out your meals for the week of your audition and then the day of. I would suggest smaller meals throughout the morning leading up to your audition which contain low glycemic foods, are relatively high carbohydrates and don't cause GI distress. *Take a look at the resources below for some other ideas 2) Gentle Stretch. I suggest beginning your morning with some active stretching. The way Pilates and yoga activate muscles in lengthened positions can help release any spasms from your previous intense day and prepare your body for movement. 3) Give yourself extra time. Whether delays in traffic or the registration process, inevitably something will take longer than expected and your body will have to make up the difference. If you are doing an intense turn-around, be sure to plan ahead to give your body extra time to prepare for the second audition.
Just Before 1) Don't skimp on your warm-up. Be sure to give yourself a full warm-up before jumping into stretching. You should be slightly sweaty before stretching and beginning class. *(Check out last month's journal and Social Media for helpful how-tos!) 2) Functional dynamic stretching. Just before class it's best to do dynamic stretching (about 10 seconds) instead of static stretching (stationary). I suggest doing stretches on the barre instead of the floor for a few reasons. Mainly, this type of stretching is more 'functional' which means it will help prepare your body for movement in class. For instance, grabbing your foot and stretching in à la seconde will help deep muscles in the hip prepare for développés and the supporting leg for upcoming balances). 3) Lastly, HAVE FUN. Try not to psych yourself out or get caught up in thoughts from previous or future auditions. Take each day for what it is and enjoy your audition as an expert masterclass.
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