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.
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.