Web Exclusive - Ask Amy

I can’t attend all of the auditions I want to go to this spring. What should I include in a video audition? —Carrie

 

When putting together an audition video, follow a few ground rules: Keep it concise, professional-looking and relevant to the company you’re sending it to. First, inquire whether the company has specific video requirements; if not, here are some general tips. For trainee and second-company positions, include some barre (one side only) and center exercises, along with a variation or two. But if you already have professional experience, stick to performance footage. Keep it limited to solos and pas de deux—if you only have clips of corps work, or if the recording quality is terrible, have someone with a good eye and steady hand film you in the studio. Include a range of classical and contemporary works to highlight your versatility. (My dance reel includes selections from Swan Lake and an Alonzo King ballet.) However, you may want to make more than one video so that you have options—a contemporary company that routinely performs in slippers or socks may not be that interested in your Swanhilda variation. Keep it on the shorter side (5 to 15 minutes) and place your best material first to make a good impression.

Since directors spend hours watching audition videos, make yours user-friendly. Keep it straightforward and cleanly edited, and either introduce yourself on camera or include an introduction page with your name, contact information and the list of works you’re performing. (Computer-editing programs like iMovie make it easy to splice videos together, although you can also hire a professional.) Avoid cutting major turning or jumping passages; otherwise, directors assume the worst. And whatever you do, don’t turn your audition reel into a music video. A chopped-up montage set to Top 40 hits won’t go over well.

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