8 Thoughts Every Dancer Has During an Audition

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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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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