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PREPARING FOR YOUR PERFORMING ARTS COLLEGE AUDITION - PART 1


So you are seriously considering applying to a musical theatre/performing arts college? You have checked out their open days, narrowed down your list to about 5-6 colleges… So what next? 

All musical theatre colleges will require you to book an audition date. It usually means filling out an application form and pay an audition fee [usually around £40-£50]. If you are applying to a degree course you may also need to make an application via UCAs as well as through the college. All the information you need will be on the colleges’ websites. 

Another thing you need to do is to prepare a few things in advance like one or two songs and a monologue. Some colleges also expect you to have a solo dance prepared. Usually a jazz piece. 

Most audition days will be quite full on and you are there for most of the day. You will do a ballet class, a jazz class, acting, singing and sometimes an interview. They may also want to do a physical therapy examination. 

To make sure you don’t forget anything we have done a breakdown of what you need to remember for the day: 


BALLET


This will be a fairly basic ballet class so it is really nothing to worry about. They want to see your technique. Pointe shoes will not be needed. They are not looking for ballet dancers, they just want to make sure that you have a good basic ballet technique since this is the foundation for all other dance styles. 

Make sure you wear the correct dancewear, so a classical ballet leotard is a good option,  and have your hair in a ballet bun [girls!] for your ballet class. Take a look here for some good options for what to wear.

 

Do:

  • Wear a classic, plain, leotard with high cut legs and preferable no lace or pattern. Some colleges prefer you in a black leotard for ballet. They want to see that you understand the difference between different dance styles and their traditions.Think the ‘pink tights and black leo’ look for a classical ballet class in comparison to perhaps a jazz class where you can wear something more colourful.
  • Pink/or your skin colour ballet tights. Make sure they are clean and with no ladders! 
  • Pink / or your skin colour ballet flats. Make sure they are clean with no holes. 
  • Hair in a neat, flat ballet bun. We would recommend a high bun on the crown of your head [think diagonal line from your ears] so that you can easily change it to a ponytail for the jazz class. Or vice versa if your jazz class is first. Or possibly a low bun at the neck.
  • Possibly a pair of small sparkly stud earrings. 
  • Remember how you stand whilst waiting your turn. You are watched throughout the whole class. Sometimes even more to see how you interact with the others whilst waiting for your turn. 

Do Not:

  • Have messy hair - hairspray is your best friend!!
  • Wear a leotard with lots of pattern or lace
  • Wear old dirty shoes
  • Chew chewing gum [yes, some people actually do!!]
  • Have a bun on top of your head. [Think the style the girls on Dance Moms used to wear their hair] And don’t use a doughnut!!
  • Don’t wear extra hair bands on your wrists as it will disrupt your line of extensions
  • Talk during class
  • Slouch! 

JAZZ


Most of the colleges will give you a limited time to change between dance styles so bring a different style leotard to the classical ballet leotard. This is a chance for you to wear something that will make you stand out in the audition room. 


Wear something bright that you feel confident in. 


The jazz class is often fast paced. The panel will look to see how quickly you can pick up choreography and also how much you perform.

They want to see confident dancers. If you mess up the steps then just carry on as if nothing has happened. Everyone can make mistakes and that's ok. They want to see how you deal with it.

They are really looking at HOW you perform so just go for it even if you might not know the steps properly. Some colleges brings a commercial aspect to the jazz part of the audition so it is important to be prepared for anything they will give you. 


There is also usually a freestyle/improv section in the audition so make sure that you are prepared. 


We would recommend that you have prepared about 4 or 6 counts of 8s that you feel comfortable to adapt to different genres of music. This does not mean that you should prepare a solo. It is just as a handy backup in case the nerves get the better of you on the day, which is completely normal. 

If you can do tricks great - but don’t just rely on a trick since there might not be enough room and the last thing they want to see is someone that has no spacial awareness...

They are not looking for acrobats - they want dancers!  Also make sure you research what your chosen college is looking for. Instagram is a good place to check out current students. 

Do: 

  • Change into a colourful leotard. This can have patterns, long sleeves, cap sleeves, halterneck or anything you want. Some might wear a two-piece.
  • Take your ballet bun out so that you have your hair in a ponytail which is more suited for jazz and less restrictive. 
  • Be prepared to dance on different types of floors and with or without shoes. Some allow jazz shoes or foot thongs and some don’t.
  • Wear black footless tights. 
  • Remember lipstick. Red or pink depending on the college… maybe bring both and see what the others wear. But wear something bright that compliments you.
  • Smile! The panel wants to see how much you enjoy dancing and how much you want it. 
  • Make sure you have spatial awareness if you decide to do a trick. You don’t want to be the one dancing into someone else. 

Do not:

  • Go into your jazz class with a ballet bun. It shows that you are not aware of the different styles but it will also make you dance differently. 
  • Don’t wear extra hair bands on your wrists as it will disrupt your line of extensions
  • Be shy. Jazz is about showing expression and attitude. Go for it. Make them want to watch you instead of the girl next to you. 
  • Stand in the back. You want to be seen. And you want to be able to see the choreography. 
  • Talk during class. 


Make sure that you are ready to change quickly. Sometimes you will have no more than a few minutes to get changed from one dance style to the other.

BE PREPARED! Have everything ready. Don’t be shy - you might need to strip in front of others [of same sex!] and quickly change your leotard, tights and hair.

SOLO DANCE

Some performing arts colleges will ask you to perform a solo during the audition. They will let you know well in advance what they require on the day so you will have plenty of time to prepare. 


Unless asked otherwise, it is best to have your music downloaded on your phone so that you can access it even on airplane mode during the audition. 


Putting your phone on airplane mode is ESSENTIAL to avoid any incoming calls or messages disrupting your music.


Also, make sure you have practised without a mirror. A lot of colleges actually remove the mirrors for the audition day.

We hope this guide will be of some help to you when you prepare for your auditions. We will post the second part about the song and acting part of the audition in the next few days. 

Still unsure about the different colleges and what they offer? 

Check out our guide to the different courses and funding here or our list of colleges in the UK. 

Please comment below to let us know what you think of our guide, and if there is anything else you think we should add to it. 

 

Helena and Sarah 
xxx
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