From One Nervous Dancer to Another: Auditions

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by Ashley Collingwood

While at a dance audition, it is easy to become overwhelmingly nervous. Auditions I have been to in the past were disastrous, and after quite a few anxious mishaps I had to ask myself, why? Why couldn’t I stay calm and focused?

Over the years, I have managed to gather a few crucial tactics for cooling my nerves. I have become a thousand times happier and more confident going into an audition, and have had more positive outcomes because of this, and I would like to share.

First, dressing comfortably is key. If I do not feel right in my wardrobe, it is harder for me to feel comfortable with my dancing. I always make sure I am wearing the appropriate attire for each audition. Of course, some auditions require certain clothing a dancer may not be used to. In this case, I would suggest dancing in the audition clothes ahead of time. It would also be a good idea to bring all the necessary shoes, and test each pair for comfort prior to the audition. Hair and makeup are also very important, not only to look nice, but to feel good.

Just as vital to feeling good as wardrobe is nourishment. Some dancers may not eat well before an audition, but I usually enjoy something light, healthy, and satisfying like a banana and yogurt.

In addition to preparing physically, I find that mental preparation for an audition is necessary. Besides telling myself to just get in shape and go for it, I do a few things to get my mind focused. The night before an audition, I pack my bag with everything I might need. This simple task actually puts my mind at ease and helps me sleep soundly, knowing there is nothing I will rush around trying to do at the last minute. Preparing the night before actually does eliminate that extra stress (unnecessary anxiety is the LAST thing I need at that point!)

Once I know that I haven’t forgotten anything, I make sure to have plenty of rest and set my alarm clock, allowing myself plenty of time to get ready in the morning. Getting to the audition early enough for a proper warm up is also a good idea. I never go into an audition without loosening up and stretching. Even once this is done and I know I’m ready, I can sometimes still feel that show business fluttering in my stomach, but I throw in some deep breathing to help calm me a little more.

Remembering why you are there is also key. For awhile, I was so concerned about what everyone else thought about me. I felt like not only the people holding the audition, but also the other dancers were judging me. This is when another question came to mind: “Who am I dancing for?!” The answer came easily after some evaluating–ME! Now, I approach each audition with a completely new outlook. I try to impress myself and take each audition as a class. I have learned that this eases a lot of tension, and I have had much better results!

Although it is inevitable to have some jitters at an audition, these small but important tips have helped me tremendously. It took awhile to figure most of them out, so I would like to spread the love to anyone else with similar anxieties! Most importantly, stay positive and remember what this craft is really all about. Hold fast to the energy, the inspiration, and the art that is dance.

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