Are Auditions Rigged? How to Crack the Code When You're Not Landing Jobs
Are auditions rigged? Sometimes I see mediocre dancers make it into a company, and I just don't get it. The audition process is unnerving for me without feedback or any understanding of the rules.
—Madison, Santa Monica, CA
I've heard of dancers who landed a job because they had a sponsor who paid their salary or a wealthy parent who was a donor. But those are exceptions. Typically, training at a company's school or summer intensive may give you a leg up. Or perhaps the director is more interested in hiring dancers based on characteristics aside from technique, like being open to challenges or working in a collaborative setting. Also remember that directors tend to pick dancers who fit the company's style, body type and need for a particular height.
Where does this leave you? Apart from attending multiple dance programs and auditions, consider participating in competitions and conventions. Use the experience to build relationships with teachers, choreographers and judges—they may lead to future job opportunities.
You also mentioned that the audition process is unnerving for you. Learning how to manage your anxiety can help you perform at your peak in these situations. I recommend these techniques to calm your nerves during and before your next audition: Take five slow, deep breaths to metabolize stress hormones and improve coordination. Reframe the audition in a positive light, such as "I'm excited and ready to go," or think of it as a free class with a choreographer you love. And set reachable goals ("I'll do six auditions a month") versus outcome goals ("I've got to get this job"), which raise the stakes unnecessarily.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On August 19, 1929, shockwaves were felt throughout the dance world as news spread that impresario Sergei Diaghilev had died. The founder of the Ballets Russes rewrote the course of ballet history as the company toured Europe and the U.S., championing collaborations with modernist composers, artists and designers such as Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. The company launched the careers of its five principal choreographers: Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine.
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Chiara Valle is just one of many dancers heading back to the studio this fall as companies ramp up for the season. But her journey back has been far more difficult than most.
Valle has been a trainee at The Washington Ballet since 2016, starting at the same time as artistic director Julie Kent. But only a few months into her first season there, she started experiencing excruciating pain high up in her femur. "It felt like someone was stabbing me 24/7," she says. Sometimes at night, the pain got so bad that her roommates would bring her dinner to the bathtub.