Dance Training

Don't Make These Video Audition Mistakes

Fancy equipment is nice, but be sure not to over-edit your video. Photo by Getty Images

When finances, geographical distance or timing make attending in-person college auditions impossible, sometimes your only option is to audition via video. We talked to three department heads about the biggest mistakes they see prospective students make in video auditions—and how to avoid them:


Mistake #1: Filming in a small or cluttered space

Find a big, clear area to film in. Photo by Kelly Russo via Unsplash

It's hard to see what a student can really do when they're confined to small space, says Thomas Vacanti, director of dance at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and it can be distracting when there's clutter in the background. Even if you don't have access to a studio, find a large space, like a gym.

Mistake #2: Trying to make a fancy video

An iPhone will work just as well as a fancy camera. Photo by Jakob Owens via Unsplash

Elizabeth Ahearn, dance program coordinator at Goucher College, says that when students hire videographers who add special effects, it takes away from their performance. Keep it simple with a steady angle that shows your full body—you can even use an iPhone, as long as the lighting and sound are clear.

Mistake #3: Sending performance footage from an ensemble piece

If there are other dancers in the video, make sure it's clear who you are. Photo by Suhyeon Choi via Unsplash

It can be difficult for faculty members to identify students when they are with other performers onstage, so either send a solo or make sure you're easy to spot in a group.

Mistake #4: Not testing your video

Don't let your hard work go to waste with a faulty DVD. Photo by Phil Hearing via Unsplash

If you're sending a DVD, test it in several laptops and DVD players, says Susie Thiel, director of dance at University of Kentucky. If you're using a link, send it to a few friends before turning it in. Clearly label your video with your name.

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