To master auditioning is indeed an art in of itself. Even the best artists can completely freeze up in an audition setting. I’ve auditioned for countless dance opportunities from summer intensives to casting of a show to colleges, and finally dance companies. Each and every time I learn something new about myself. But the most important thing that I have learned is that every day is an audition. Every day someone is watching you and the opportunity to be recognized is always around the corner.
I finished an important audition circuit during winter break. As a senior we have the opportunity to go to Europe to start making connections with dance companies. This intense period of searching for the next step of my career is strangely parallel to my experience of auditioning for colleges. After some reflection I realized that my most valuable audition tips lie in the past. It has taken me four years and many auditions to take stock of this!
I auditioned for Juilliard with the same sort of halfhearted fantasy that one enters the lottery. I was encouraged by my friends and teachers, yet no one thought I would get beyond the first round in the notorious audition process. Juilliard was also the last of 24 auditions that I battled through my senior year. I laid myself on the line for ballet companies, college BFA programs, and certificate programs in dance. Thus I entered this building thoroughly wrung out. That day I danced purely for me. I stopped trying to give people what I thought they wanted to see and instead I reveled in the moment, I reveled in me and the thrill of moving someone else. Early in my freshman year I told a faculty member that people had said I was not supposed to be chosen for this school. The teacher responded, “You are supposed to be here. We don’t make mistakes.” Those words freed me to begin my true journey.
Since that audition day, I've continually tried to search for that frightening balance of having no power in a decision that people will make and my ability to communicate through my body. I must be authentically myself to continue forward and communicate my truest passion through movement.
I try to reclaim the essence of being true to myself and enjoying myself in each audition I undertake. The rule holds true as I attend cattle-call auditions and private auditions across Europe, Canada, and the U.S., and even when entering a new environment. To be oneself is to have no regrets regardless of the outcome of the audition. I think this is actually the most important part of auditioning: the moment after a result is given. Either you can revel in the pleasure of victory and disregard further development of your strengths and addressing your weaknesses, or you can let a rejection ruin your spirit. I make sure to make each audition an opportunity to learn and experience regardless of the outcome, and to enjoy the journey.