Editor's Letter: You Can Make the Cut
Auditions test even the most experienced dancer. Our annual auditions issue aims to make the process a little easier. Page through our “Company & Auditions Guide” (p. 62) for upcoming tryouts and tips on how to use sites like Dancemedia and Facebook to research your dream companies. Curious about how you can make a difference in an audition’s outcome before you even walk in the door? Read Teresa Ruth Howard’s eye-opening “Don’t Get Cut” (p. 58) on vetting dancers. Want to see if companies in another locale might be interested? A strong DVD can get you an invitation to audition. To help you avoid common bloopers, read senior editor Jenny Stahl’s “Reel Problems” (p. 35) and learn about artistic directors’ pet audition DVD peeves.
Many dancers find auditions feel different once they see the process as a way to learn. “When I focused more on having a good class and how I felt about the company where I was auditioning, it got much easier,” says advice columnist and Suzanne Farrell Ballet member Amy Brandt.
For some dancers, the worst audition can have a surprising outcome. “Sometimes falling is the best thing that can happen to you,” say assistant editor Margaret Fuhrer, who earned a spot at the Chautauqua summer ballet program anyway after taking a dive in front of program director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. (See box at right for more stories.) And focusing on her performance instead of everyone else’s proved a boon to Jenny Stahl. “It’s so tempting to peek at the other dancers and try to figure out where you rank,” she says. “But your job is just to show your talents to the best of your ability.”
For a break from audition anxieties, read about our cover girl, New York City Ballet’s charming Kathryn Morgan. The company’s newest soloist may have found the biggest secret to success of all: It takes time and patience and a willingness to persevere to achieve your dreams.
“At my audition for Ballet Austin, I actually fell down during a center combination. Luckily, I had an audition DVD of contemporary and classical work, and I asked company director Stephen Mills if I could send it to him. He said yes, and I’m pretty sure it helped me get the job.” —Ashley Lynn Gilfix, Ballet Austin
“I once had a director fall asleep for 20 minutes during an audition. I was so upset because I spent all this time and money to get there. Now that I’m at soloist/principal level, I send a video of my work first. I appreciate it when directors tell me no, they don’t want to see me, because it saves my budget.”
—Luz San Miguel, Milwaukee Ballet
“I went to audition for a contemporary ballet company and I felt so lost. It was like a different language. A phrase ended with a huge hinge backwards to the floor and I slammed down, making a loud noise. I think they had a few laughs. I know I did. Of course, I got cut.” —Julie Niekrasz, Ballet Memphis