You made it through the pre-screen; you booked your flight for your on campus audition; you feel prepared and ready to show off your vocal range and dramatic talents; and then you remember…Oh no! The dance call!
For many, the dance call induces the most anxiety during the college audition process. There are so many unknowns as each school runs their dance audition a little differently. Some schools lead you through an entire class with a technical warm-up, across the floor sequences, improvisation exercises, and a combination. Others just jump right into firing the combination at you and putting you into small groups.
This can be overwhelming and daunting, especially if you haven’t had as much training and practice in dance. However, you CAN prepare yourself (just like you would with your songs and monologues) so that you nail that dance call!
Here are 5 ways you can show up to the dance call ready to take on anything they throw your way!
1. Technique Classes – Sign up for a weekly technique class. September is right around the corner and dance studio registrations will be opening for the year. A weekly technique class will support you in building your body awareness and understanding of dance vocabulary over a period of time. Though you will most likely learn dance combinations throughout the year, the focus will be on improving technical skills. Ballet is the foundation of all dance forms. Even though you are not looking to become a ballerina, enrolling in a weekly Ballet class will help you to create a strong foundation and set you up for success. Jazz and Tap classes are also beneficial, especially for learning and enhancing your musical theatre dance vocabulary.
2. Drop-in Classes – Picking up choreography quickly is not a talent, it is a skill. Like any skill we need to practice this. Taking drop-in dance classes allows us to be able to hone this skill while also continuing to develop our technique. Drop-in classes typically are comprised of a set warm-up, a short across the floor, and a combination, with the emphasis being put on the combination more than learning new technical skills. Taking drop-in classes is very similar to going to an audition in that you don’t know what to expect from the class because it is always changing. They tend to move quickly so you are practicing your ability to see things, quickly translate it into your own body, and then execute as strong as you can.
Not all studios offer drop-in classes, but if you are in the Boston area MCA offers a class on Sundays.
3. 1:1 Coaching – For some people, it may be scary to step into your first dance class; it can be very foreign territory. Hiring a private dance coach can ease this fear. With 1:1 coaching, you can go at your own speed, focus on the things that will best support you, and get individualized attention and feedback. 1:1 coaching is also beneficial for those more skilled dancers. Working with a coach can help you get to the next level of your craft. A coach can develop technique sequences, warm-ups, and combinations that are tailored to your specific goals, whether that is nailing that double pirouette, getting your split on both sides, or going deeper into the performance aspect of executing a combination.
1:1 coaching is also a great way to prepare for your pre-screens as almost all programs require a dance component now. You can check out the different dance coaching services offered at MCA.
4. YouTube – Here is a way you can utilize technology in an effective and efficient way. You can teach yourself dances from YouTube videos. This helps continue to build your skill in learning choreography quickly. By watching the videos, you are strengthening your ability to watch something, break it down, integrate into your body, and execute it. You are developing new pathways in your brain. There are so many videos out there for you to try! For example, you can learn some of the musical theatre classics like the Opening from “A Chorus Line.”
This is a great alternative for those who don’t have any access to drop-in classes.
5. Believe in Yourself - Your mindset is everything! If you keep telling yourself that you are not a dancer and you can’t do it, guess what? You won’t ever be a dancer and you won’t do it. The connection between the mind and the body has proven to be a strong one. You can practice and prepare physically for months, but if you show up with the mindset that you are not good enough, that is what will take over. Re-training your mind and getting it to work for you and not against you is a daily practice. There are many tools and techniques you can use to support you in this process including affirmations, visualization, and breath work.
Ready to mentally prepare yourself for dance calls and the entire college audition process? Then feel free to download our webinar, The Mental Art of Performing, here! Learn how to successfully mentally prepare yourself for the college audition process and make sure you aren't letting nerves get the best of you.
The dance call doesn’t have to be the black cloud hanging over your head. Make a plan, reach out for help, and above all remember to find the joy in the process. After all, it is dance and dancing is meant to be fun!
Dance Coach/Mental Training Coach at My College Audition
Stephanie is a NYC based coach, speaker, and director/choreographer/performer. She is a graduate of Emerson College, Smith College, and soon to be Columbia University. You can learn more about her journey as an artist and lover of creativity and curiosity at www.stephanie-simpson.com
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