News
An Orlando Ballet audition. Photo by Fellipe Buccianti, Launchpad Photo, Courtesy Orlando Ballet

Dear Editor,

There has been much discussion lately about the practice of professional arts organizations charging fees for performers to audition. Sara Bibik's letter to Dance Magazine brought that conversation to the forefront of the dance community and gave me—and hopefully many others—an opportunity to revisit and reflect on something that's commonplace in our industry.

After careful review, Orlando Ballet recently made the decision to stop this practice. We will no longer charge dancers to audition for the professional company. These changes were effective immediately, and Orlando Ballet is in the process of refunding the audition fees for our most recent Atlanta and Orlando auditions.

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Ballet Careers
Knowing your rights can help you steer clear of toxic dance companies. Getty Images

I was applying to audition for this ballet company, and the form asked if I had a history of mental issues (i.e., eating disorders, anxiety, depression) and to give a detailed description of them and steps taken for treatment. Is this something that companies normally take into account during auditions? Moreover, are they allowed to ask this? I felt so strongly about not wanting to give that information that I decided not to apply. —Melanie

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Health & Body
Photo by JoelValve/Unsplash

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.

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Your Training
Photo by Jim Lafferty

I'm worried about my upcoming summer program auditions. I haven't been able to jump lately because of an injury. How can I approach the auditions so they don't think I'm lazy? —Shannon

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Audition Advice

I'm often cut from the final round of auditions. Is there a polite way to follow up with directors and ask them for feedback? —Megan

When it comes to seeking feedback from directors, I think it depends on the situation and the method of communication. If it's a large cattle call and you've been cut before the final round, sticking around to ask why isn't a good idea. “I don't think there is much a dancer can do to 'hang in there' till the end of the audition if the director is not interested," says Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini, who says he receives more than 1,200 audition requests a year. It's one reason why he and many other directors request videos ahead of time. “If a dancer doesn't fit the look, the taste, the movement quality and technical or versatility requirements of the company, I urge them not to audition. I'd rather they spend their hard-earned funds on a place that's interested in them."

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News

Are you hoping to get a contract this year? These top-tier companies are hiring!

Company: Miami City Ballet

MCB is holding open auditions in New York City for the 2017-18 season. Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez is seeking classically trained male and female dancers with at least 10 years of professional experience to join the Company at all ranks. Training in the Balanchine technique is a plus.

Date: March 26, 2017 3-8 pm

Location: School of American Ballet 165 W. 65 Street, New York (W. 65th St. between Amsterdam and Broadway)

Specific audition class times to be announced via miamicityballet.org

Pre-registration:

  • Resume
  • Current headshot
  • 2-3 full-body dance photographs
  • Recent video (link) to a classical work, variation

Send to: Michael Sebesto – Msebesto@miamicityballet.org You will receive an email confirming receipt of pre-registration materials. No phone calls please.

Bring: Hard copies of resume, headshot and dance photos with you to the audition.

If you cannot make it to the New York audition, please submit the required materials, and you will be notified by email if you are invited to attend an audition class in Miami.

Tulsa Ballet

Tulsa Ballet is seeking dancers with strong classical technique for its 2017/18 Season.  All auditions are by invitation only.  Please send your resume and a video link of your dancing to companymanager@tulsaballet.org.

The Sarasota Ballet

Sarasota Ballet is seeking strong classically trained male dancers for the 2017 – 2018 Season. Click here for more information.

American Contemporary Ballet

American Contemporary Ballet is currently hiring dancers for the 2017-18 season. Contracts are available for the full season (May–February) and summer only (May–August). Flexibility on contract start date (into May and June) is sometimes available. Click here for more information.

Date: Sunday, March 12, 2017

Location: School of American Ballet

Bring: A headshot, dance photos and resume/CV.

Fee: $25

Alberta Ballet

Pre-registration: Send the following materials to auditions@albertaballet.com

  • C.V. (include full name, phone number, email address, citizenship, training and performance experience)
  • Photos (one head shot and one full body dance photo)
  • Video (high quality stage or studio video that display a range of repertoire, no more than ten minutes; a link to online material will be accepted)

Date: Saturday, March 11, 2017

Location: Joffrey Ballet School 434 6th Ave, New York, NY

Registration: 2:00 pm–3:00pm, $10 registration fee

Audition: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

School Audition

The Accademia Teatro alla Scala Ballet School in Milan, Italy, is now accepting applications for 2017.

Duration: The complete path of the ballet school lasts 8 years, each one from September to June. An exam is given at the end of each year. If admitted, all pupils are admitted for one academic year only and must reapply for following years.

Attendance: Mandatory. Lessons are held Monday through Friday for levels 1-5 and Monday through Saturday for higher-level courses. Courses 1-3 meet in the afternoon, courses 4-7 are full-day.

Prerequisites for admission:

  • Candidates who are in the 5th year of elementary school during the 2016/2017 school year may apply for the Level 1 course.
  • For higher courses (Levels 2-7), the candidates must show that they are prepared to be admitted to the courses corresponding to their middle school or high school level.
  • Candidates for Level 7 must be under 18 years of age on Friday, March 24, 2017.

Selection: In order to be admitted to the courses, the candidate must pass a screening test, as described into the official Announcement (Point 7, 8 and 9). Please, download it and read it carefully. The admission tests will take place in late April at the Ballet School in Milan (Italy), according to the calendar specified at the point 9 of the Announcement. No other exam sessions are scheduled for the year.

Venue: Ballet School of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala – Milan | Accademia Teatro alla Scala – Milan.

Fees: registration fee to the selection of € 85 + attendance fees to be paid with a Bank SDD (SEPA Direct Debit) in installments. Please, read carefully the official Announcement for all the details about fees and tuitions, as for scolarships and exemptions available for admitted pupils. Download here the document to apply for scolarships/exemptions .

Application 2017/18: applications must be completed and submitted online, by clicking on the “Apply now” button, NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017.

The following documents (scanned) must be included with the application, as detailed into the official Announcement, point 6:

  • valid identification for both parents or legal guardian (identity card or passport)
  • receipt for payment of €85.00 (eighty-five euros)
  • candidate’s codice fiscale (Italian national identification number) or statement declaring that the candidate does not have an Italian “codice fiscale”
  • a professional quality photograph, passport format of the candidate’s face
  • account’s holder codice fiscale (Italian national identification number) or statement declaring that the candidate does not have an Italian “codice fiscale”

Each document must not exceed 1 MB. Documents must be in doc, docx, pdf, jpeg, jpg, png format only.

Be sure to check our Auditions Page regularly!

Ballet Training
Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

How do you “perform" at auditions without being obnoxious? —Mikayla

Auditions are no place to hide or act self-consciously—but there's a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. Focus on keeping your movements lush without getting in the other dancers' way. Keep your face pleasant and relaxed (emphatic nodding and sky-high eyebrows signal that you're eager to please, but can come across as student-y). A bright leotard or hair accessory can help the panel notice and remember you. But more importantly, pay attention to what the director is asking for in class. They're more apt to notice a fast learner or precise musicality.

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Audition Advice
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.

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Everything Nutcracker
Thinkstock

I always get sick during Nutcracker. Help! —Emily

Long days, late nights, chilly weather and overworked bodies make the perfect recipe for disaster during Nutcracker season. I'll never forget burning up with a fever backstage in my Arabian costume, or the time when a flu outbreak caused major casualties in our Snow and Flower corps. Staying well requires a combination of nutrition, hydration and sleep—not to mention preparedness and discipline.

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Audition Advice
Megan Zimny Kaftira believes in taking changes. Photo Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

Ballet company auditions are hard to dodge for anyone aspiring to the profession. But they can serve as valuable learning tools by helping dancers determine which types of companies they prefer and ascertain the best ways to present themselves as artists. “How can I be seen in an audition?" “What should I say to a director?" “How do I handle my nerves?" Those are among the valid questions that the three professional dancers here thought about before plunging into the audition circuit. Over time, they've discovered ways to use the audition process to their advantage to bolster, rather than sabotage, their confidence and to reveal who they are as artists.

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Ballet Training

Prepping a variation for your upcoming auditions? If the Paquita music you downloaded from iTunes isn’t a ballet-friendly speed, try the Tempo SlowMo app, which lets you import songs from your music library and adjust their tempo—between 20 and 250 percent of the original speed—without changing pitch. The app’s helpful markers make rehearsal more efficient. To nail that tricky petit allégro section or build stamina, use the loop markers to replay sections of the song on a continuous loop. Pinpoint the “5, 6, 7, 8” before your fouettés with a place marker, or cut applause and lengthy intros on a live recording with the start and end markers. When you’re ready to film your variation, save the speed-adjusted track and export it via Dropbox or email.

The various import/export options, markers and tempo-adjusting tool come with the free download. Additional features are available for in-app purchase, including a playlist option that allows you to consolidate your customized classical and contemporary tracks in one place. Tempo SlowMo, by Martian Storms Ltd., is compatible with iPad, iPhone and iTouch and is available for free download from the App Store.

Benedicte Bemet, newly appointed soloist at The Australian Ballet, rehearsing Paquita. Photo by Lynette Wills courtesy of The Australian Ballet.

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

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