Expect the Unexpected.
It's that time of year again-agency auditions! That one opportunity of the year to dance in front of the industry's primo agent's and battle it out for a coveted spot on their roster. And before you step one toe in the door I want you to know exactly what to expect before, during and after your audition. But before we delve into that there is something very important that I want you to always keep in mind when attending these auditions: Have fun! There are so many factors that come into play when an agent signs new talent - a look, a particular dance style, whatever the case may be, the decision is out of your hands. Regardless of the outcome, walk out with your head held high knowing you gave it your all.
TOP 5 THINGS TO EXPECT AT A DANCE AGENCY AUDITION:
Have your marketing materials ready to go! If you don't have a resume in the proper format, or a professional headshot printed on 8x10 glossy/matte photo paper stapled together, I can guarantee you will get cut. Agents need dancers who are ready to be submitted to castings and go on auditions immediately. So make sure your first impression (i.e headshot and resume) is perfect.
Type Casting. Before you learn any type of "5,6,7,8" you will be type casted. Type casting means you will be selected to move on to the next round of auditions based on your overall look and appearance. Think of it as the recurring role you would be asked to play on a sitcom ("video vixen," "girl next door," "commercial," etc). To type cast you, expect the agents to make you walk 2 at a time across the floor. And you better bring your best Naomi Campbell, circa 1995, catwalk. Agents can tell a lot about you within seconds. Based off this walk, they will make an overall assessment on your skill level, poise, technique, rhythm, marketability, bookability, appeal, and potential. So make your walk count by staying calm and showing off your best self. Your walk should exude confidence and charisma while leaving them wanting more.
Pro Tip: men and women typically audition separately. Women are expected to wear heels and clothing that shows of their body. Men are expected to come prepared to learn a hip hop combination and wear clothes that show off their physique. Give them body!
Cuts. After the type cast, agents will typically make cuts. This is where's they narrow down the pool of dancers to a few who will move on to the next phase of the audition process. Since the top commercial dance agents attract large crowds of hopefuls, adjudicators need to make chops quickly and efficiently. So mentally prepare yourself for any and all scenarios. If your number/name gets called to move on to the next round, stay focused, warmed up, and hydrated. Don't get distracted. However, if you get cut, keep your composure and thank the agents for their time. Keep training and showing up. Don't show your disappointment nor take it personal. Think of it as a free dance class and a hands-on, industry learning experience. Like I said in the beginning, they are looking for something specific and no one knows what that is. You'll get signed when it's your time.
Choreography phase. If you make it past the initial type cast and cut, you will then be asked to stay and learn choreography. Taught by a choreographer on their roster, you can expect this combination to be 6 to 8 8-counts long, flirty and feminine for the ladies, and strong and masculine for the fellas. This will be taught quickly and in a tight space with lots of other dancers around. Find ways in which you can pick up choreo fast, learn how to stay focused among chaos and frantic energy, and be full out from the beginning. Don't wait for small groups to show em what you got. The agents are watching everything from how quickly you can fully execute a routine to if you switched lines when asked to do so.
Pro Tip: Things to bring with you should include: copies of your headshot and resume, clothing options, heels for women, sneakers, hand towel, hair and makeup for touchups, water & asthma meds.
Freestyling. Don't do what I think your about to do and freak out! But you can expect to be asked to freestyle at least 2 8-counts at every commercial dance agency audition. Since there's no way around this, I want you to change your perception on freestyling. Think of it as another opportunity to show off what makes you unique. Combine 1-2 of your best skills/tricks and create a moment that displays what you can bring to the table. Whatever you do don't go frantic by throwing every trick in the book in 16 counts. They'd rather see movement that's clean, simple and effortless as opposed to something that's confused, sloppy and forced.
Bottom line, you can expect commercial dance agency auditions to be all business. There are specific things you can do before, during and after that will boost your chances of getting noticed and potentially getting signed, however there are a lot of other factors that lie outside of your control. All you can do is put your best foot forward and present yourself as a smart, marketable and professional dancer.
"Smile! Living out your dreams should be fun!"