Summer Intensives

Our Best Tips: Summer Intensive Auditions

Houston Ballet Academy student Lily Blazevic with Sabrina Lenzi, Instructor. Photo by Cameron Durham, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Just as all the Nutcracker madness comes to an end, summer intensive audition season begins. Whether you're looking to spend your first summer away from home or hoping to get your foot in the door at your dream company, auditioning can be a daunting process. To help you manage this anxious time of year, we've mined the Pointe archives for our best tips on the audition process—everything from researching schools to battling audition day jitters to paying for the program itself.

1. Start by researching schools. Our 2018 Summer Intensive Guide features 100s of programs and is a great place to start. Search for schools by state or country, and find information on tuition, housing and classes all in one place.

2. Develop a strategy. Think about your goals. What do you hope to achieve this year? Doing so can help you figure out which auditions to prioritize.

3. Quell your audition anxiety. If you feel paranoid that the teachers leading the audition will write you off, you're most likely overreacting. Making mistakes, having to ask a question, or not catching the director's eye does not necessarily mean you're going to be rejected. Nevertheless, auditioning is hard. These strategies, such as preparing the night before or treating the audition as a master class, can help you keep your jitters at bay.


4. If you're auditioning with an injury, speak up or look into alternative audition methods, such as a video submission. Better to let the adjudicators know about your limitations up front than to have them question your abilities.

5. You got in. Now what? If you've gotten into one school but are waitlisted for the one you really want to go to, what do you do? Navigating the admission process can be tricky. There's sometimes room to negotiate—read about your options here.

6. You didn't get in. Now what? It's not the end of the world. In fact, a failed audition can be a valuable learning experience (and a “no" this year doesn't mean you won't get in next year). In fact, your second or third choice school could actually be a better fit.

7. Make a plan to pay for it. If you've gotten into your dream program but don't know how to pay for it, consider crowdfunding, scholarships and other creative budget strategies.

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Elisabeth Beyer. Photo Courtesy VAM Productions.

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1st Place: Elisabeth Beyer (15), Ellison Ballet - Professional Training Program, NY, USA

2nd Place: Guo Wen Jin (16), Shanghai Dance School, China

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Guo Wen Jin; Courtesy VAM Productions

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Last fall, you ruptured your Achilles tendon. How did that happen?

It was the first of August. I was in Sicily doing an event with Google. We had dinner at a temple and it was just absolutely incredible. I'm kind of clumsy outside of ballet, so I thought it would be safer if I took my shoes off. Then Lenny Kravitz starts to sing a song and he dedicates it to me. I got up and went to go sit next to him on the stage. When I got up from sitting, I stepped in the wrong place at the wrong time. I knew right away that I ruptured my Achilles. They brought me to an ambulance and took me to the hospital. I flew back to the Netherlands the next day and had an appointment with the doctors here in Amsterdam. They said, "Yeah, you ruptured three quarters of your Achilles." And then on August 14, I had surgery.

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Photography by Christian Peacock

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Artistic director Helgi Tomasson invited a wish list of international choreographers to participate: David Dawson, Alonzo King, Edwaard Liang, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Trey McIntyre, Justin Peck, Arthur Pita, Dwight Rhoden, Myles Thatcher, Stanton Welch and Christopher Wheeldon. Each got about 12 dancers, three weeks' studio time and, aside from a few general guidelines, total artistic freedom.

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Gillian Murphy, American Ballet Theatre

Murphy gets ready for her role as "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Photo courtesy Gillian Murphy.

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