I remember hearing this Nureyev quote, “Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration.”
Now, I’m not going to disagree with Nureyev but I think when it comes to auditions – especially for professional company positions – you’ve got to remember that it’s about a lot more than technique.
Personally, I was a late starter. I was 12 when I started taking dance in a more professional setting and really it wasn’t at full professional caliber (outside of some awesome summer programs) until I went to Butler University.
I did not catch up technically until much later. Admittedly I just didn’t wrap my head around muscular turnout control and technical execution until my 20’s – (gasp, shock…I know).
So how did I get any kind of professional company attention?
Two things worked in my favor :
1. I have bendy feet and hyperextension. I just lucked out there – if you weren’t born that way I guarantee you’ve got other innate gifts to bring to the table. Acknowledge that for yourself and use what you’ve got!
2. I can only tell you this in retrospect – Any time I was asked to stay through to the end, received a scholarship or got an offer I was having one of those (rare at the time) days when I felt really good about myself.
This is a key component to acing an audition. You’ve got to show up and do your thing. You can’t stress about the dancers around you – even the ones who have “prettier” feet and legs.
You’ve gotta project your talents – let the things that make you exactly who YOU are shine.
It’s not about trying to dance more like your idol or your best friend or the girl next to you who was kept through to the end of the last audition the two of you both attended (I know what it’s like to do a bunch of auditions in one city and see all the same people there!).
Project your confidence and your personality.
Don’t run out of inspiration. Most of the time you’re only there for 90 minutes. Turn. It. Up.
Visualize the job offer. Visualize yourself dancing with the company. Visualize the outcome you want.
Remember that you cannot read the minds or know the plans of Artistic Staff. You can’t know exactly what they’re looking for and for all you know you could be it!
Finally, trust that your technique will stay with you the whole time and that what you’ve got is good enough – see I pretty much agree with Nureyev 😉