Photo by JoelValve/Unsplash

5 Tips for Achieving Your Healthiest Body in Time for Company Auditions

Even though it's still summer, audition season will be here before you know it. The goal is to look, dance and feel your best when auditions roll around. You're likely focused on improving as a dancer technically and artistically, but aesthetics are (unfortunately) something companies will consider as well. To look your best, healthfully and mindfully crafted body goals will make a world of difference.


1. Take Your Time

Reaching healthy goals takes time, so plan ahead. Pixabay

When it comes to achieving a healthy physical aesthetic, the most important thing to give yourself is time. To reach these goals for winter auditions, that means starting now.

If you want to make sustainable changes, they should be gradual and they'll require experimentation. In my work as a health coach for dancers, I always tell my clients there's no one-size-fits-all eating plan. You'll need to try different things to find the nutrition plan that works for you. A balanced cross-training plan is also essential, and building strength and aerobic capacity takes time. Work with a dancer-turned-trainer who will have a true understanding of your goals to find exercises that address your weaknesses.

2. Don't Go to Extremes

Focus on the delicious healthy foods that can fuel your dancing. Pixabay

Calorie counting is extreme and unsustainable, so instead, think of ways you can increase the whole foods you're consuming and minimize the processed sugars. Don't focus on what you're not eating but rather think about all the good stuff you can add in. Allow occasional indulgences.

Crash diets and quick fixes can cause weakened bones and stress fractures, so as tempting as it might be to try something extreme, don't do it. The majority of my clients who go down that road end up falling into a cycle of restricting and overeating which can damage not just your body but your mind-set about food.

3. Focus on Confidence

Dancing with energy and confidence is always a "do." Photo by David Hofmann/Unsplash

When you set body goals for audition season, put the focus on how you'd like to dance and feel instead of how you'd like to look. Wouldn't dancing with energy and confidence and feeling strong be ideal? Try to find the way of eating that makes you feel that way now so you perform at your peak in auditions.

A helpful goal for all dancers moving towards audition season is to get to a place where you feel confident in just a leotard and tights. You might be used to wearing skirts or warm-ups in class, but at an audition they'll want to see your lines clearly. Practice wearing your audition attire now.

4. Forget the Number on the Scale

Being a healthy dancer isn't about hitting a certain weight on the scale. Photo by i yunmai/Unsplash

Setting a magical number weight-loss goal may lead to disappointment and feeling down on yourself if you don't hit it by your first audition. The number on the scale is irrelevant. Weight looks different on every dancer and is influenced by how much muscle you have and your bone structure. While ballet companies might ask that you list your weight on your resumé, they're not going to be concerned about the number if the dancer in front of them looks healthy, happy, strong and confident.

5. Energy for Auditions

If you leave your audition season game plan until the last minute and resort to diets or quick fixes, you'll feel weak, tired and not at your best during auditions. But by working towards your body goals four to six months before you hope to reach them, you're setting yourself up for balance and success. This gradual approach is going to make your progress more sustainable.

Once You Have a Contract

When you show up to your first day on the job, the company who hired you expects the same dancer they saw on audition day. If you were crash-dieting leading up to auditions, you will most likely hit a wall and will be more susceptible to injury or binge eating. Joining a company can be anxiety-inducing on its own, and either of those things will make the transition more difficult.

If you're not sure what is actually "healthy," seek out support from a nutritionist, dietitian or health coach who works specifically with dancers. Developing a healthy relationship with your body now is going to provide greater stability and confidence as you move forward in your dance career.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Lauren Anderson's Tips for Relevé Développé Écarté Devant

Développé écarté relevé "is in every class, every ballet," says Lauren Anderson, former principal dancer and current program manager of education and community engagement at Houston Ballet. Below, she gives you the keys to success for this "light and lovely" repertoire staple.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks