Auditioning during the time of COVID

 In Auditions

Submitted by Kerry Healy, CCD Faculty Member/Administrator/Social Media Coordinator

I am a CCD Alumna and currently dancing professionally in Colorado. I have attended summer programs and college and professional auditions in San Francisco, LA, Colorado, Amsterdam, and London. These auditions have included various video and virtual components, but never as many as this year. As someone who has been through the audition process, I want to offer my recommendations and information I found helpful.

It is audition season! No matter your age, level, or location, this audition season will be unlike any other. Companies and schools are still figuring out what the future looks like for their organizations, so it can be difficult to nail down details and figure out who is accepting auditioners. While there are many unknowns in this audition process, here are a few things you can get started on right away to get yourself set up for a successful audition season.

Gather your materials

Just like any other audition year, you will need updated materials to send out. Start with the basics: update your 

  • Résumé or CV: Include things you worked on over the last year: online workshops, dance films, and anything that kept you moving and creative during the pandemic.  
  • Headshot and dance photos: Reach out to photographers in your area to set up a photoshoot. You may have to wear a mask or take photos outside. If you do not have access to a photographer, most smartphones can work. Set up a neutral background with plenty of light, and ask a family member or friend to help you.

Virtual connections 

Virtual dancing and “Zoom classes” present a unique opportunity to experience class with the company and make connections with directors without leaving your home. Many companies are offering open classes via Zoom. Take advantage of these opportunities to place yourself in front of directors or company members. This way, when they see your video submission come in, they will recognize your name and remember your dancing from classes. These classes will also give you a feel for how the company works and can help you know if the company would be a good fit for you.

Video audition

All the same rules from previous years apply: 

  • Film both sides and multiple takes so you have options when you go to edit
  • Film exactly what the director is asking for (stay within time constraints)
  • Have someone you trust (an instructor or mentor) watch and give feedback for sections like variations and solos
  • Use a neutral background with plenty of light and make sure your clothing does not blend in with your background

The new aspects of video auditions this year are mostly related to space and safety. If you have access to studio space, your video audition will be mostly the same. You might not have an instructor in the room with you or you might have to wear a mask. If you do not have access to studio space, I think directors will be more forgiving about where you film. If you have to film class at home, just make sure you have a neutral background with plenty of light. The most important thing is that your entire body is visible and centered in the frame. However, you may need to modify things like jumps to keep your body safe. Don’t risk an injury for a video! Just communicate with the director when you submit your video to let them know your space constraints.

Zoom auditions

Some companies or schools will offer Zoom auditions instead of or in addition to video auditions. Dancers are very proficient on Zoom classes, but here are a few basics to keep in mind:

  • Center your body in the frame to make sure your full body is visible for the entire class
  • Lots of light and neutral background
  • If the dress code allows, wear bright colors that will stand out. For example, wear a red leotard instead of black to make your “Zoom box” pop. Directors might be sifting through multiple pages of dancers, and you want to be easy to find.

Audition season may feel more demanding than previous years. It is important to remember that dancers around the world are all in the same boat: we were forced to take a break, some longer than others, and to figure out how to keep moving during the pandemic. Be patient with yourself and with companies and schools you are looking at. Over the last year, dancers have learned to adapt over and over, and we will continue to find creative solutions to the obstacles that come our way.

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