January 28, 2014 by Nicole
While auditioning in person is usually the best way to showcase yourself, many programs, schools and companies also allow auditions via video submission. If you can’t make the audition, you should absolutely consider this alternative.
Here are a few things to think about when pulling together your submission.
Are you giving them what they asked for?
Literally, did you read the instructions? If they’ve asked for anything specific – wardrobe, type of movement, introduction, etc – be sure to include it in your package.
Now, are you really giving them what they asked for?
Anything you show on the video should demonstrate that you are well-suited for them, not just anyone. This means doing a little research, the same way you should do if you were auditioning in person. For example, if you’re auditioning for a contemporary company, only showing a classical ballet repertoire doesn’t show your versatility or how you would fit in the company. It also gives the impression that you don’t know what their focus is or that you’ve sent the same cookie cutter video to everyone. Really tailor everything you show to who you’re auditioning for.
What are you wearing?
Is it what they asked for? If they didn’t specify, is it form-fitting, appropriate and complimentary to your movement? How does it look in the room? A white leotard in a room with white walls might not be the best choice. Neither is wearing black tights when the floor is black. Make sure your clothing choices don’t make you blend into the background. It’s also usually advisable to pull your hair away from your face, and you may want to consider a bit of natural makeup, particularly if you’re in a brightly lit room. You want just enough to keep your face from being washed out under the lights.
How does it start?
Unless specifically directed not to, a very brief, spoken introduction giving your name, location, why you want to dance there and what you’re about to perform is a nice way to start. Make sure the speaking section is positive, upbeat and warm and not monotone or down. Be confident. You’re inviting the viewer to watch your work. This is their first impression of you as a person and as a dancer. It sets the tone for the rest of the video.
What should you include?
In general, you’ll want to show some basic dynamics. It’s customary to show some barre work (both sides – don’t try to hide a weak side), along with a range of movement. Adagio, turns, petit allegro, and a grand allegro for ballet. Contemporary dancers should also show slow, controlled movement, turns, quick footwork and big jumps, either through exercises or pieces of dances. You may also opt to include performance excepts, if they’re available and if it makes sense for the package. Again, everything should be tailored to the requirements and the sensibilities of the organization you’re auditioning for.
Are you performing?
It’s always going to be different when you’re in the room in front of people instead of alone in the studio with a camera….but it’s your job to make sure that you perform anyway. Whoever is watching the video is going to notice if you’re completely expressionless. They will also take note if your passion for dance is written all over your face and coming through your movement.
How does it end?
Is the last shot the viewer sees you walking out of your ending position and over to the camera? Not the most polished, professional note to end on. There are free, easy to use video editing options that would allow you to cut out that last part. Or, ask a friend to video for you to eliminate this problem all together. Either way, try to ensure the ending doesn’t leave a mark on their final impression of your audition.
Did you give it one last look?
Watch the video once, all the way through. What do you think? Does it show you in the most positive light possible? Have you edited out all the things you don’t want seen? Have you added in special sequences or performance clips the way you wanted to? Make sure to watch it once, all the way through, the way you hope your viewer will.
How are you sending it?
Again, know what their requirements are. Do they want a DVD? Can you email the file directly? If unspecified, it’s probably worth the quick call or email to ask. Also, be sure to include any other requested materials like your resume, head shot, reviews/recommendations. I would also include a short description of what is included on the video. At the very least, I would send a paper copy of your resume and a photo along with the video. Here are some great tips for getting a good dance photo.
Can they tell it’s yours?
Make sure you clearly label all of your materials with your name and contact information. If the video gets separated from your resume/contact information, they need to be able to match it back to you. Better safe than sorry, in this case.
What are you best video audition tips?