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

Don't Make These Video Audition Mistakes

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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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

The 10 Biggest Dance Stories of 2019

What were the dance moments that defined 2019? The stories that kept us talking, week after week? According to our top-clicked articles of the year, they ranged from explorations of dance medicine and dance history, takedowns of Lara Spencer and companies who still charge dancers to audition, and, of course, our list of expert tips on how to succeed in dance today.

We compiled our 10 biggest hits of the year, and broke down why we think they struck a chord:

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Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Nichols

I Am a Black Dancer Who Was Dressed Up in Blackface to Perform in La Bayadère

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using blackface in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on black face, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.

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Here's the First Trailer for the "In the Heights" Movie

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

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