So You Think You Can Dance?

Photo Courtesy of Lori Teague
Photo Courtesy of Lori Teague

By Emmy Jewell, Contributing Writer

Whether you are a highly trained and experienced dancer or your dancing is limited to your room (where you dance like nobody’s watching), there are plenty of dance groups and crews on Emory’s campus that hold auditions. Regardless of any dancer’s level or experience, auditions are generally accompanied by nervousness, fear of rejection and for the dancers, a hope that they won’t make a fool of themselves.

I have experienced both success and failure in the dance community at Emory, and both helped me to grow as a dancer and as a person. Auditions are always nerve-wracking and intimidating, but with the right mindset, preparation and planning, they can be fun. Every dance group has different expectations and guidelines for their auditions, but there are a few standard tips that all dancers should keep in mind.

Preparation

Preparation and planning are crucial to having a good experience at an audition. Before going into an audition, know what time it starts, register for a slot (if necessary) and allot a generous amount of time from your schedule — keeping in mind that auditions can be two to three hours long, span across multiple evenings and may also include callbacks.

In terms of what to bring, there isn’t much unless otherwise specified. Generally, you don’t need to prepare a dance ahead of time, but think about what you might do if asked to improvise. If a group allows for some improvisation, focus on showcasing talents and use moves that are appropriate for the type of group that you are auditioning for.

Always bring water, a snack if you are worried about the length of the audition (fruit is a great energy booster) and some form of your class schedule. If you get on a team, many groups at Emory will want to ensure that you are available during their practice times, shows and events.

Finally, try to arrive early to warm up and stretch in order to avoid straining your body. If you are on time, then you won’t be stressed from the start — plus, you want to make a good impression.

Dress for Success

Just as it’s important to dress nicely for a job interview, it’s important to wear the right attire for an audition. This typically means wearing tight(er) clothing because any loose articles can be distracting, and ensure that the clothing is stretchy and allows for dancing freely.

Auditions are about showcasing ability, so avoid anything that distracts from your smooth dance moves and keep it simple. I usually opt for black clothes.

Also, dance groups may require you to be barefoot or they may request a certain type of shoe, so ensure you find out before the audition.

Attitude is Key

The importance of confidence cannot be stressed enough. Dancers are told over and over again that if they make a mistake, big or small, not to show it on their faces. The more confidence you have in yourself and the better you are at brushing off mistakes, the better you will look while dancing.

Along with exuding confidence, focus completely on yourself. You shouldn’t spend time comparing yourself to other dancers or wondering if you are being watched or judged; just dance and enjoy the experience.

“All dance is entirely about body language,” College junior Rasika Tangutoori and member of the the Karma Bhangra dance team, said. “It is not how you move, but the way you do it.”

According to Tangutoori, many of the groups aren’t looking for the most experienced dancers, but rather, for potential.

“You don’t need to master every step,” Tangutoori added. “Rather, you must show commitment, an ability to listen, an ability to learn and excitement for the program.”

The truth is that, no matter the outcome of an audition, it will provide a sense of accomplishment, pride, confidence and at the very least, an awesome (and free!) workout. So whether you think you can dance or not, auditioning for one of Emory’s many teams is a great idea.

Remember, dance is supposed to be fun —  so enjoy it, maintain a good attitude, be prepared and of course, “break a leg!”

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