Auditions, in general, are challenging to the large majority of us, especially these days, due to the large number of people competing for very few spots.
Amid the pandemic, some dancers decided to end their careers, potentially providing some opportunities for new dancers. Still, at the same time, with the post covid global financial crisis that is unfolding, many professional dancers are also currently holding on to their jobs much tighter, which limits the number of contracts available for the new generation, so as you can see, we are in the midst of some complex times.
With that said, I would like to remind you that, in one way or another, the world is always facing some crisis, so I ask you not to lose hope. I got my job with the Dutch National Ballet in 2008, the year that the world entered the last serious financial crisis, so if there is a will, there is a way.
It is important for you to look at all possibilities in front of you, and to look for all ways to get your foot in the door, so attending a mix of audition types is always important.
As the title of this blog already points out, let's talk about Open and Private Auditions and how to approach them. What do they look like? And what to expect from each type?
How to approach them?
Whether it's for an Open or a Private Audition, your first step, even before the actual audition, is to research the company and its application requirements.
Apart from that, also, what kind of contracts are they offering? ( corps de ballet, soloists, junior, etc.)
And last but not least, your CV, pictures, and video footage should be professional and in the correct format. You must remember that a ballet company might have between 500 and 700 applicants yearly, so if your material doesn't fit the requirements, they might not even look at your application. It will truly be a shame if you miss out on an opportunity due to a poor CV, pictures or footage, so this part is crucial, and this is why I have added a chapter and material in my upcoming course about this, so if this is something you are unsure about, keep an eye on my page for the course release date.
If you haven't heard from the company after applying, don't be afraid to send a friendly follow-up with a question like: " Is there something else you need from me?" Communication is vital, don't be scared to be willing to do what it takes.
What does an open Audition look like?
An Open Audition in the past was a Public audition, meaning that anyone could attend. Still, nowadays, a selection process sometimes requires you to send a solo or two to be considered for the open Audition.
I wish we could send solo footage in my time, as this would have saved me a lot of traveling for hours and sometimes being let go after just doing barre. So don't be hesitant or afraid of this part. Sending your footage will save you time and money, and in that way, you can reach out to many more companies.
Also, remember that some skillful editing can make you stand out, so try your best to send the best possible footage.
An Open Audition tends to be more challenging at a mental level because of the competitive environment and pressure to perform your best at every moment of the way. Yet some companies only hold Open auditions, so that's why in my "Auditions" Course, I focus on Mindset. There is a lot at stake, and one needs to know how to handle stress, stay focused and confidently present yourself.
The key is to find a way to shine and be seen. At Open auditions, there is no time to hide or shy away. With that said, be vigilant not to be pushy or arrogant. You want to show your ability to work with others and stay respectful.
An Open audition can take up the whole day, so it's essential to be mentally strong, physically rested, fit, fueled, and emotionally composed.
Being rejected at an Open Audition can be extremely painful. Being numbered and then sent home without much explanation was never my favorite, but don't get discouraged because it's not always about you or your skills. The company might be looking for someone specific. And it's just a procedure. Instead, try to learn from your experiences. And take home as much as you can.
What to expect from a Private Audition?
Private Auditions, in my opinion, are more pleasant, but as you can imagine, they are harder to get. Some companies don't even allow them.
The other challenge with Private Auditions is that even if you got invited to take a company class, the artistic director might not even have the time to see you in action. That's why I recommend you ask to attend company classes for three days at least if they permit you.
The atmosphere at a Private Audition is much more relaxed and pleasant. Only be sure not to take someone else's spot. Instead, ask in advance if it's ok to place yourself there. In the center, make sure not to hide in the back, but don't go standing front center. You want to be mindful of the company dancers. I would stand somewhere in the middle of the group.
The best way to get an invitation is to ask someone you know to refer you. Maybe a teacher or choreographer you worked with or even a schoolmate now in the company. If you know someone in the company, stick with them in class so that little smile here and there can make you feel more relaxed, and at the same time, you can demonstrate your ability to be part of the ensemble.
It's essential to wear pointe shoes in the center of the class to show your skills. Both in Open and Private Auditions. No need to jump on pointe if you're more comfortable in flats. Look around at what others are doing at jumps. Even if you are fresh from school, the key is to look mature and ready for the big stage. The fearless Mindset applies here too. In this kind of Audition, it is easy to jump into self-judgment and feel small in a studio full of already hired dancers. But Don't! Everybody is in the same boat. All these dancers were there at some point, like you.
As you can see, Private Auditions have their benefits but can also be risky. So do your research and follow your heart. Every opportunity is also a lesson for life. I auditioned over 30 times in 2 years, and I don't regret any of my book-worthy experiences. They got me here today and kickstarted my dance career at 19 with extra eagerness. If you genuinely believe that your purpose in life is to be a professional dancer, persevere. Don't give up. Make adjustments. Keep your head high, and you will find the right match and a place that wants you.
I did it, and so can you!
I coach dancers for success and fulfillment in auditions and their professional careers. And I can help you, too, if you are curious, driven, and willing to grow. Book your first free call and discover how I can help you be in charge of your future.