Auditions! Hearing that word gives dancers, and dance teachers, the shivers. Yet each year, without fail, dance studios are forced to deal with auditioning and sometimes re-auditioning their students. Whether it is for roles in upcoming productions, competition teams, performance groups, or other specialties, studio auditions cannot not be avoided.
As a dance teacher, I sometimes feel like auditioning my students is a redundant waste of valuable class time and extra paper work and preparation for me. I already know the physical and mental capabilities of my students, so why do I need to audition them? Are auditions truly necessary? MOST DEFINITELY!
The audition process is not for us teachers but for our students. If we make their audition professional and sincere it will benefit their dance education.
Here is a list of some key life tools I believe students experience when they audition:
· Students learn how to perform under pressure.
· Students are validated for their attempt to try something new.
· Students are given an opportunity to try for a set goal.
· Students learn how to mentally and physically prepare for that set goal.
· Students learn to cope with acceptance and rejection.
· Students experience healthy pressure and nervousness while facing something that is completely out of their, or their parents, control.
· Students learn to carry themselves with self confidence and poise in stressful situations.
For students to truly benefit from auditions, we dance teachers have to make this moment “real” by making it something special. If I was running an audition at my studio, I would:
· Set a specific day or time for the audition, separate from their usual classes.
· Have students fill out registration forms.
· Have dancers wear audition numbers pinned to their shirts or leotards.
· Have guests. Possibly hire a pianist to play at the audition or ask teachers and faculty from your studio, or outside of it, to attend and help evaluate.
· Have the audition class represent the level of technique, comprehension, and professionalism of what they are auditioning for.
· Thank each student at the end for their time and effort and give them a set time for when they will know the results of their audition.
Remember, whether or not your dancers audition for anything else again, exposing them to the audition process gives them valuable life skills. And it is our job as dance teachers to equip our students with the tools they need to thrive not only in dance, but in life as well. Happy auditioning!
And until next time, teach, inspire, and grow.