Whether it's your first time jumping into the audition scene or you have hundreds of crinkled numbers to prove you're a seasoned pro, having a panel of judges eyeing your every move makes everyone's mind race a little.

Here are eight thoughts you're bound to have when you step into the studio for an audition.


1. Who has my lucky number?

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You may not be superstitious, but your développé is definitely a little higher when number 11 is pinned to your leotard. If you didn't get a chance to snag it at the registration table, chances are you'll be surveying the room during pliés to figure out who scored your lucky number.

2. Please, please don't let my tights run.

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Whether your tights are brand-new or you're wearing your favorite reliable pair, the last thing you want to see is a run when you glimpse in the mirror.

3. Smile! Wait, not too much.

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Not only do you have to worry about showing your rock-solid technique, but you also have to make it look enjoyable. It takes practice to strike that delicate balance between "I'm having fun" and "I might follow the director home."

4. Are they looking at me?

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It's been half an hour, and it doesn't seem like the director has even glanced in your direction. But as soon as you wobble during a penché, suddenly all eyes are on you. Couldn't they watch later when you're bound to jump higher than LeBron James during grand allegro?

5. Nope, I definitely didn't catch that combo.

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Normally, picking up combinations isn't a problem for you, but between the intimidating looks from the panel and the thick crowd of dancers marking in front of you, sometimes it just doesn't happen. Time to slide toward the back and hope another group goes before yours.

6. Wow, she's GOOD.

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When the dancer in front of you nails eight pirouettes and stays on the music, you might feel like packing up your dance bag and calling it a day, but don't let thoughts like this distract you. For all you know, someone else could be standing on the side thinking the same thing about you!

7. This is the fastest petit allegro I've ever done.

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Is this combo designed to assess your technique or simply give the judges a good laugh? Either way, just be happy you didn't trip over your feet.

8. Just tell me if I got it already.

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You made it through the audition, but every dancer knows the worst part comes after you take off your number. At least you can ice your feet while you obsessively refresh your email.

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Samantha Hope Galler with Jovani Furlan in rehearsal at Miami City Ballet. Daniel Azoulay, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

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When I was 18, I was a trainee at Boston Ballet School. I'd spent several years in the school, a year in their pre-professional program and six summers with them. Towards the end of my trainee year, I was under the impression that I might get to join the main or second company.

At that time, the general mind-set was: You make it into a major company or the company where you trained, and that's the only way. But that wasn't how it played out.

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