When it comes to ballet summer course auditions, young dancers put a lot of pressure on themselves to be accepted by their top choice. And, it doesn’t help that are a lot of myths surrounding the audition and selection process!
Last year, corps de ballet dancers Elle Macy and Jahna Frantziskonis shared some practical tips to make the most of your audition. This year we went to the source, and sat down with Denise Bolstad, Administrative Director of PNB School, to talk through some of the most common myths about the selection process for PNB School’s prestigious Summer Course.
Myth: A black leotard and pink tights are required attire at all PNB Summer Course auditions.
Truth: How a leotard fits is important, as is the dancer’s comfort. But it’s okay to show a little personality with the color of your leotard. All dancers should wear tights in perfect condition, spotless shoes, and have performance-quality hair.
Myth: You should audition with a group that’s the same age you’ll be during the upcoming summer course.
Truth: All dancers should audition with their current age group.
Myth: If you don’t know a step that’s given, you’re cut.
Truth: It is okay if you don’t know every step in a combination that’s given. Auditions normally consist of a full 1.5 hour class and no one is cut.
Myth: The level you are placed in indicates of how talented you are.
Truth: All levels at PNB School offer exceptional, professional-track training. It is okay to repeat a level two years in a row, and it’s very important that students do their best work no matter what level they are placed in.
Myth: You didn’t get accepted because we didn’t see you during the audition.
Truth: We make sure that everyone is seen during each audition class.
Myth: PNB has a set number of spots for each Summer Course and if you show up to one of the later auditions you might not get in because they’ve already been filled.
Truth: PNB School’s summer course is very selective. Only students who have the potential for a professional career are accepted. There is not a set number of spots for students and the city in which you audition does not impact the selection process. If there’s a promising student in the last city on the audition tour, we’ll take them!
Myth: If I was accepted to PNB’s summer course the past but declined to attend, they won’t accept me again.
Truth: We consider everyone with a clean slate each year, even if they have declined in the past. Plus, our acceptance deadlines are intentionally set so that students have the opportunity to attend their top choice.
Myth: If I decide to take class en pointe I have to take the whole class that way.
Truth: If you are 17 or 18 you should be prepared to take a whole class en pointe. Younger dancers (16 and under) should plan to take only the last part of the audition class en pointe.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Auditioning is a skill and you need to practice it if you want to improve. Consider taking an audition class even if you know you won’t be going away to a summer course this year.
Professionalism: Approach the process like a job interview. It’s appropriate to send a thank you note if you’re accepted and a brief explanation if you need to decline for any reason.
Preparedness & Positivity: Come prepared to do your best. Everyone involved in the audition process wants to make you as comfortable as possible because they want to see you at your best.