Auditions were always one of the most scary, but also exciting parts of my dance career. Nerves were on edge, and of course all I ever wanted to do was show off my best technique and be “perfect” in the audition. What I didn't realize was how this may have hindered me, instead of helping me excel! What is perfect anyways? Every director has a different look and feel when they cast a role, and accept you into school company etc.
After sitting down with our Artistic Director, Katerina Fedotova, I had a wonderful conversation on what she is looking for in dancers during auditions. With Nutcracker audition season happening, and dancers still auditioning for schools and companies, I was able to get this inside information to share with us dancers!
My first question started off with:
"what do you look for in a dancer during an audition?"
Plain, easy and simple. I always wondered what exactly was looked for and my auditions became about stress. I remember always freaking out if i messed up that triple pirouette or forgot a combination, my chance and landing the lead role or getting accepted was done and over. Even worse, I remember falling once and my dreams were crushed. I wanted to ultimately shut down during the audition itself. But boy….. I WAS WRONG!
Our director instead had a different approach to what she looks for and wants to see in a dancer and to my excitement, it felt motivating and encouraging.
“I like enthusiastic dancers that have character that can bring spark and excitement to the stage. Dancers are all different, unique, and should stand out. Even though the corps de ballet should be like one, I don't want a corps dancer, I'm looking for a dancer that can bring color and excitement to every performance. That requires diversity and their presence of personality.”
I then continued and asked about the whole question of being “perfect” and she had to stop me and asked-
“whose definition of perfect?”
“Every Artistic Direction of course is looking for clean technique, lines, and extensions. But, I'm looking for a dancer who shows character and not worrying about mastering every step in the audition. I think the imperfections are the highlight of a dancer, working with their struggles is challenging and exciting for me, and extremely rewarding when their passion shines on stage. The stage becomes more lively, and the audience is captivated and drawn in by that liveness and passion. Ultimately, seeing a dancer you've trained or coached walk onto that stage and make it their own is one of the most rewarding parts of what my job is.”
My last question was:
“What happens if you mess up or fall in an audition?”
Her answer was simple.
“Get back up and act as if nothing happened. We watch how you react to a mess up, because on stage you get one chance! How you recover from your mistakes show reliability and the level of professionalism you have! Come back even stronger”
Auditions are scary, and I still think most dancers do get nervous which is a healthy part of showing that you care and love what you do! But the next time you walk into one, just remember, to smile, not stress, and most importantly BE YOU! Express your personality and passion for why you dance. It may just land you the lead role, or have you accepted into your dream company!
Written by Marissa Smith