1. Familiarize yourself with the music and the show: Specifically know the “upbeat” numbers. You will be amazed how much easier it is to learn choreography when you know the songs well!
2. Be early and warmed up: You most likely will not get a proper warm up from your choreographer. The warmer your body is, the better you will dance.
3. Have all your dance shoes: Your choreographer might ask who has tap or ballet experience. It will be an added bonus if you have the shoes with you. ***Definitely bring character shoes as most high school musicals require them.
4. Stand in the front: Though most choreographers might have you switch lines, you are always at an advantage if you can see the choreography from the start. Plus, the choreographer or people in the audience can see you too!
5. Try to hold questions and be confident despite the difficulty: An audition is not asking for perfection. Directors don’t like to hear apologies if you messed up due to being sick or injured of if you just had more time to learn it. Rather, ask kids around you during a break, if you’re confused. It might sound silly, but it’s super distracting on stage to be talking about the combo even if you’re discussing material at hand.
6. Smile: Smile when learning and especially when performing the routine- there’s always someone in the audience from the production team watching. Whether it’s the choreographer, director, assistant director, stage manager or dance captain they are watching you from the moment you get on stage. Show that you are taking every moment of the process seriously, but are enjoying yourself!
7. Wear something colorful: I always think black leggings and a bright solid colored tank or fitted shirt works. You will stand out for the color and also show that you arrived ready to dance.
8. Perform completely full out: Even if you’re stuck on certain steps, and find the audition challenging, choreographers can tell if there is potential. They often give their toughest material at auditions and callbacks to find their featured dancer group and potential leads. They can tell if your technique is good even if you get stumped on some of the choreography.
9. Write down all the dance you currently take on your audition sheet: Be specific about the type of dance you take and can even add gymnastics experience in if you have it. However, you don’t need to be detailed if you stopped dancing by age 10 or only took a dance class a few times.
10. Introduce yourself and thank your choreographer: Even if it’s a three second intro, take the time at the end of the process to say hello and thank you to the production team (and dance captains if they’re chosen at the end of auditions). It is always appreciated and they will remember you better.
Hope this gives you a leg up!
by Jenny Lifson (Award Winning Choreographer for Belmont High School, Dance Department Head at Creative Arts at Park summer camp, Department Coordinator for Lower School Arts at BB&N school and many more local theater and dance positions. Plus, she is Miss Deb’s sister!)