Editor's Note: Ace Your Next Audition

Published in the February/March 2011 issue.

Sterling Hyltin and BFF Henry in costume for "The Lady With The Little Dog"

Photo by Nathan Sayers

Auditions test you. They expose your technique and poise to the judgment of strangers. They demand that you be prepared and “perfect.” It’s no wonder they haunt ballet dancers at every stage of their careers. Pointe’s Auditions Issue aims to demystify the process a little.


Once you have some practice, auditions get easier, as several dancers we spoke to discovered. And tenacity makes a difference. Take Emily Proctor, who realized when she was a Juilliard student that she wanted to dance for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, though she was cut from the audition. “I’d learned a lot about movement quality,” she says, “but my ballet technique was a little out of shape.” Proctor started taking class in pointe shoes and pushed herself hard. At the end of her senior year she sent a DVD to Aspen Santa Fe and they agreed to look at her again. Today, she dances with them.


Or take the advice of Nashville Ballet’s Kayla Rowser, who found out that cuts don’t just come at the end of class. “They completed the first round right after barre,” she says. “After that, I put a lot of effort into polishing my barre work, to ensure I’d make it to the part of class that would show off my strengths.”


Go behind the scenes with dancers who auditioned for Alonzo King LINES Ballet in “Making The Cut,” on page 34, to hear about how they handle their nerves. Several noted they need to feel there’s a fit as much as the company does, which puts the process in perspective. Turn to our job listing on page 62 to get details, including dates and fees, on dozens of upcoming auditions, from Ballet Austin to Cedar Lake to Pennsylvania Ballet. And, when you get an offer, make sure you check out “Dollars and Sense” on page 38 for an eye-opening look at the first-year contracts at five top companies.


Not every job works out, but for Sterling Hyltin, New York City Ballet has offered a wealth of opportunities. Few dancers there have as broad a repertoire, but Hyltin, our cover ballerina (“Simply Sterling,” page 26), remains open and eager to stretching herself. “The luxury of performing,” she says, “is what we do it for.” Getting there takes time, effort—and auditioning.