Audition Tips from the Pros

Always wondered what directors and choreographers look for at an audition? At the "Getting the Job" Artist Talk Series at the School at Steps last Friday, the panelists (Josh Bergasse, Ruthlyn Salomons, Lucille DiCampli and Tiffany Little Canfield) gave the inside scoop on traits employers want to see in dancers:
1. Have a "happy to be here, happy to work attitude": Bring positivity to the audition. Being technical is not enough, the director has to want to work with you so your personality and attitude matter! —Lucille DiCampli, talent agent, McDonald Selznick Associates

2. Always be prepared: Have a headshot, dance shot and resume ready. Also, try to be "google-able" and have a reel on YouTube that shows off your strengths. —Joshua Bergasse, choreographer, NBC's "Smash"

3. Stamina: Don't mark combinations. If you don't dance full out, how will a director know if you can handle long hours of rehearsal and many shows a week? —Ruthyln Salomons, resident dance supervisor, The Lion King

4. Never judge yourself and give-up: Don't compare yourself to other dancers and lose hope, the directors might have had their eyes on you and were rooting for you. There are going to be enough "no's" in the world, don't be the one to tell yourself "no." —Tiffany Little Canfield, casting director, Telsey & Co

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

"My Plate Is Full": Sofiane Sylve on Her New Leadership Roles at Ballet San Antonio and Dresden Semperoper

Sofiane Sylve had huge plans for 2020: Departing her post as a principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, she embarked on a multifaceted, bicontinental career as ballet master and principal dancer at Dresden Semperoper Ballett, and artistic advisor and school director at Ballet San Antonio—and then COVID-19 hit, sidelining performances and administrative plans at both companies. But ballet dancers are nothing if not resilient. In her new leadership roles, Sylve is determined to help shepherd ballet through this challenging time—and transform it for the better. Pointe caught up with her by phone while she was in Dresden.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks