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  • Winifred Haun

How to Audition for Us (or anyone)

Updated: Sep 28

Auditions can be challenging for both dancers and dance companies. So, why do we all participate in what can be a really stressful event?

Dance companies usually hold Auditions because they're an easy way to see a large number of dancers in a short amount of time. Auditions can be challenging for dance companies because it’s hard to assess a previously unknown artist in only a few hours. It can be also stressful, because dancers sometimes look great in an Audition, but are difficult in rehearsal, or don’t get along with current Company artists.

Auditions can be *really* stressful for dancers. Dancers often give up multiple hours or an entire day just to attend an Audition that probably won’t result in a job (see below). Auditions can also be exhausting, and leave a dancer feeling disappointed or rejected. And, artistic directors can seem great at an Audition but, turnout to be challenging or difficult in rehearsal.

Here’s our approach to Auditions: We know that Auditions are stressful for dancers, so we only hold Auditions when we actually need new dancers. We never charge dancers for an Audition, and we don’t require resumes and photos. We work to make our Auditions as casual, comfortable, and stress free as possible, and we do this because everyone dances better when they are relaxed and comfortable. And we want to see you at your best. We don’t waste time, and we keep the whole event under 3 hours.

Here’s some things to know about Auditioning, in general:

Getting a dance job really comes down to 2 things: numbers and luck. The numbers usually go like this: most dance companies are looking for 1 to 4 dancers. If there are 40 people at the Audition, you have a less than 10% chance of getting the job. Which means you’re probably not getting the job, right? Knowing this, you can just relax and enjoy being in the studio with your fellow artists, instead of worrying about a mistake you made in the combination or wondering if you should have worn your red leotard.

The luck part of Auditions goes like this: your dancing ability is usually not the reason you don’t get hired. The real reasons you don’t get hired are: you’re too tall or too short, you don’t fit the director’s aesthetic, you’re not male presenting, or you look like the director’s sister, and they are mad at her today, etc. There are so many reasons why you don’t get chosen that have nothing at all to do with your dancing.

Here’s our recommendations: if the logistics for an Audition aren’t working out for you (you can’t afford to miss work, your car broke down, etc), it’s really okay to not go. We recommend you not kill yourself just to make it to an Audition. If, however, attending an Audition won’t cost you too much time, money or peace of mind, go. An Audition can be an opportunity to learn more about a Dance Company, it’s artists, it’s unique movement style, repertory, etc. It can also be a great way to get yourself better known in the dance community. Also, if a director doesn’t need you now, she may remember you, and hire you later in the season or next year. You might meet other dancers at the Audition, who know about other jobs or companies. You might make a new friend. (Nothing unites us like a common stressor.)

Auditioning can be terrible, but they are easier if you don’t take them too seriously. Of course you want the job, but as much as possible, be yourself, trust yourself, and try to have fun. You’ll dance better, and you’ll feel better too.

Our next Audition is on Sunday, January 21, 2024 from 1pm to 4pm at Intrigue Dance Center, 1937 S. Archer, Chicago. More details will be posted in December 2023.


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