What I Learned from the So You Think You Can Dance Auditions

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June 20, 2014 by Nicole

This week’s episode marked the end of the season 11 So You Think You Can Dance auditions. As previously mentioned, I’m thrilled to be moving into episodes that will help us see and get to know the dancers that will ultimately make the show.

In the meantime, I do think it can be really helpful and instructive to watch the auditions. You get a glimpse of the process and it can help you formulate your own audition strategy. A few observations:

Be in control
The judges and the audience always respond well when they can tell you’re in control of your body – and not just the trick stuff (like controlled and/or pulsed straddle splits). It shows up in things like holding your turn position just a second before moving into the next step or when there’s energy all the way through every fingertip and toe. You can literally see it when the dancer is in control of their body. And it’s always impressive.

“Personality Plus” can get you to the next round…
But it won’t always book you the job. We saw plenty of talented, interesting dancers with big personalities & performance abilities be put through to the choreography round….just to see them cut for ultimately not being strong enough for the competition. Performance is important: you want your audience to connect with you. But having a balance – the ability to show both your personality on stage AND your training – is even more so.

And artistry takes you to the next level
Throughout the auditions, there were dancers who were praised for their “storytelling” ability. I think that’s another way to talk about artistry. This is beyond personality – it’s seeing one person behind the mic, speaking to the judges and a completely different one dancing on stage. It’s connecting to the movement and music in a deeper way. This isn’t something that can be “turned on” for audition days – it’s a skill that has to be honed and is worth the time and energy you put into it.

Take the notes
Inevitable, there’s always a potential contestant who gets into a disagreement with a judge. It never turns out well for that person. Not only are they highly unlikely to move on, but publicly arguing over notes just seems immature and like you have a real problem taking criticism and/or an ego. None of those things make you a desirable candidate for a job. Critique just goes with the territory. In art, there are lots of areas that are a bit subjective. You’re not always going to agree with everything your judge/choreographer/etc sees. The key to being a professional is to take the notes and apply the parts that make you better…..while disregarding what you can’t use and NOT taking it personally. (That part can’t be stressed enough. It’s also really hard to master.)

Those are the things that stuck with me. What did you think? Any other “lessons” or observations I’m leaving out?

About the author: I’m a professional communicator with a love of dance, entertainment and constant improvement. You can find me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


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