It goes without saying that preparing for a summer dance program audition actually begins in September, when the school year commences and you've got your eyes and heart set on a summer program of your choice.  This gives you four months to work your hardest towards a goal. Nutcracker, and honing your craft in performance, adds more experience to your tool-bag so that by the time January comes, you're ready. But maybe you're been injured, or perhaps, as sometimes happens, you've lost your way and now have decided, in a spurt of enthusiasm, to apply yourself towards a summer dance program. Here are some suggestions to help prepare you.

L and Stella develope

Two weeks before:

  • DO continue to take classes over Winter break if possible. Do so in a way that feels fun, not-stressful, but keeps your chops.
  • Do NOT try to lose five pounds the week before the audition. This will only weaken you.
  • DO eat a sensible diet of protein, veggies, and plenty of hydration.
  • DO Stretch and strengthen daily (except for one day off) both in and out of the dance studio with Pilates, Yoga, and light resistance training.
  • Do NOT at this time push yourself to do something you've never done, like run 10 miles, or dead-lift 250 lbs.
  • DO take pictures ahead of time, so that if you're not happy, you can retake them in plenty of time.
  • DO prepare 1-2 pairs of pointe-shoes: sew and break them in so that you're happy with them. Bring shoes that both look and feel good on your feet.

Day Before Audition:

  • DO these four: Breathe. Imaging. Mental Rehearsal. Relaxation. If you find yourself getting anxious, conscious, slow, deep breathes will keep the stress hormonse down. As well, visual yourself walking in beautifully dressed, poised, calm, and collected. Mentally rehearse yourself dancing or doing steps well. Realize that you're doing all you can to prepare, and let go. (see below)
  • DO prepare your dance bag with the following: Shoes, needles, thread, scissors, tape and anything you need to wear in your shoes, safety pins, spare tights, tampons, water, some protein like almonds, analgesic cream, tylenol, balls or rollers, leg warmers to stay warm, hair pins, brush, hair spray, and anything else you need to feel prepared and comfortable.
  • DO Take an easy class, stretch out after, and stay relaxed, eat well (see above), get a good night's sleep.
  • Do NOT stay out late, go drinking, do stressful things, tax your body.

Day of Audition:

  • DO Arrive at least an hour early so you can fill forms, warm up, and get comfortable.
  • Do NOT lie about how many years you've actually studied ballet on the form. Pre-ballet doesn't count. On the other hand, DON'T try to pass yourself off as a some kind of prodigy.
  • Ladies, Do NOT wear a leaotard that is so low-cut or flashy you have to adjust it every two seconds. No flashy dangly jewelry, though discreet earrings (studs) are fine.
  • Gentlemen, Do NOT let your T shirt hang out or have your hair in your eyes.
  • Do NOT wear dead shoes, dirty shoes, or anything with strings hanging, threads, sticking out, fraying, etc.
  • DO Stay focused on yourself, especially as you warm up. Do NOT get lost comparing yourself to everyone who walks in.
  • DO – if you're not placed in a spot – put yourself at the barre where you are visible and comfortable.
  • DO – in center – stand towards the front center if you can. If you don't memorize well, go in the second group (unless they've put you in the first).
  • Do NOT hide. Do NOT stop in the middle of a combination and walk away even if you think you blew it or fell out of a turn.
  • DO finish every combination, and try to smile.
  • DO show some initiative, but don't push other dancers out of the way, or ask redundant questions to draw attention to yourself.
  • DO thank the auditioners after class, and the pianist if appropriate. Remember, you are on stage from the moment you arrive until you leave. Behave accordingly, with grace and ease. Save outbursts for when you're safely home!
  • DO, If you are injured or are just recovering, consider sending a video-tape. Showing up at an audition injured is not productive. Save your audition fees for when you are better.

Finally, here are the things you CAN do something about, and the things you cannot:

You CAN influence whether you're prepared, what's in your bag, the way you show up, and how polite and gracious you are.

You CANNOT influence whether they like you or not; how much scholarship money they have; whether they like brunettes or blondes; how much sleep the auditioner had; whether the floor is slippery or not; and countless other factors.

Focus on what you alone are responsible for, and let go of all the rest. Surrender and enjoy the process.  Merde!