Now that Nutcracker season is over and it’s the New Year, chances are, you are gearing up for your ballet summer intensive auditions. With summer intensive auditions, there can be hundreds of different schools to choose from. How do you know which schools are right for you?
Make sure you start doing the research before the audition to make sure you don’t waste your time, energy, and your parent’s money. If you live in a city such as New York or San Francisco, where pretty much every Summer Intensive holds an audition, I recommend going to as many auditions as possible for experience. If you don’t live in a city where schools typically hold auditions, you will have to travel, which is something you and your family may need to discuss and take into consideration.
What style are you trained in? While it is always fun to attend a school that trains dancers in a different style than you, you want to make sure that style suits you. School of American Ballet, for example, typically looks for dancers who are trained in the Balanchine technique whereas a school like the Kirov looks for a Russian trained dancer.
Remember, your ultimate goal is to be accepted into a professional company, right? So this means you want to choose which summer intensive you attend wisely once you are accepted.
Also consider your family’s budget should you get accepted into the school. Does the summer intensive offer scholarships?
For your first summer intensive program, I recommend going to a school that isn’t too far away from home. When I went to my first summer school, Chautauqua, at age 11, I was very homesick. Luckily my family was only a few hours drive away and came up to visit me on the weekends.
As you get older, you want to look for summer intensives that have schools which feed into a professional company. The last summer program that I attended, for example, was Ballet Austin where I was offered a professional contract prior to the programs end.
Be a smart auditioner and you have the potential to get in to the summer intensive of your dreams…and possibly the professional ballet company in the future!
My last ballet audition preparation blog was all about headshot photos. In addition to needing a headshot to audition for most schools and companies, you will also need a photo in arabesque. In this article I am going to guide you through tips to getting the perfect arabesque audition photo.
Tip #1: Presentation is Everything – Choose the leotard that is simple and flatters your body shape the most. Keep in mind that this may not be the latest new leotard from Discount Dance…It could be a simple camisole Mirella or Natalie. Steer clear of custom leotards with anything mesh, criss-cross, or high neck (the auditioner wants to see your body). Also do your best version of a high bun as this will also elongate your neck. Try your bun right at the crown of your head.
Tip #2: Practice – Practice your posing in first arabesque after class or rehearsal in front of the mirror. Practice balancing in this position. You will need lots of balance come photo snap shot time!
Tip# 3: Hire a Professional Photographer – Although Mom & Dad can also capture some fabulous arabesque snap shots on a budget, your best bet for a professional looking audition photo is to hire a photographer. In fact, auditioners tend to overlook candid audition photos, especially those done without a backdrop.
Tip #4 – Use the Barre – A great way to train your lower back to hold a high arabesque is to practice with the barre. Place your leg in arabesque on the barre, go onto pointe, lift your leg off of the barre, then let go and put your arms in first arabesque! See how long you can hold this position. You’ve got to train that muscle memory if you want to capture a perfectly balanced arabesque photo!
Tip # 5 – Smile – A mistake that a lot of dancers do is have a serious or stern look in their photos. Smile, don’t look tense. I know that holding that perfectly placed arabesque is a lot of work, but make it look effortless. Remember ballet is all about illusions and the auditioner will be able to tell if you are tensing or if arabesque is an unnatural position for you.
Tip # 6 – Relax your Shoulders – Nothing says uncomfortable like tense shoulders, neck and fingers. Try to breathe and relax your upper body to release any tension that may convert into your photo.
Tip #7 – 90 Degrees, Please – Auditioners are going to be looking for at least a ninety degree arabesque so be sure to be thinking about your arabesque height in class to maximize your audition potential. Try the leg on the barre stretch or the exercise that I describe in Tip # 2 if you feel like your arabesque needs to improve. Back flexibility will help the height of your leg.
I hope that these tips will help you be on your way to a gorgeous arabesque audition photo. Also, if you’re nervous about auditions or simply looking for some advice you can read my Ballet Audition Preparation Guide. This will help you not only prepare for auditions, but also let you know what to expect inside the audition room. Merde!