Alright,so. Auditions. Actors, Singers, Dancers… we ALL have to do them. They are a necessary evil of the business.
I’ve been going to auditions for about 10 years now, and I’ve been blessed to sometimes teach the dance portion of a few theatre companies’ auditions. Which this has led to opportunities to watch other people go through the nerve-wracking subjective judge fest that is the casting process.
That being said, here are a few tips from someone who has been on the other side of the table. Please keep in mind this is just one opinion in the voice of HUNDREDS, so take everything I say with a dancing grain of salt.
–DRESS DECENTLY. Typically for musical theatre auditions you will have a vocal audition and then possibly a dance call (it’s usually after). Do not show up to your vocal audition lookin like you just rolled out of bed from your bar hopping the night before. Wear something that’s decent (doesn’t have to be funeral or wedding attire) but something that’s flattering and comfortable on you. Colors are great, and mild patterns are fine too.
And it doesn’t matter if you only want to be seen as a “dancer”… they can tell that in your resume. That does not give you the excuse to wear dance attire in the vocal audition. Trust me, it doesn’t make you look more like a dancer… it makes you look like you don’t care about anyone’s time but the choreographer. And the choreographer only has so much pull when it comes to casting. Ladies wear tights and a leo underneath a sundress if you know you’ll have a quick change. Wear the character shoes with it if you’re determined to make that statement. Men: FOR THE LOVE OF LIZA MINELLI NEVER WEAR A WIFE BEATER INTO A VOCAL AUDITION. I don’t need to further explain this. Just.don’t.do.it. If you’re THAT cheap on clothes, thrift store button downs are $4.tops.
–DON’T PLAY DRESS UP. I know you want to be seen as a certain character from such and such musical… but dressing in roaring 20s garb or 80s flash and trash is not going to make you seem more a part to a casting director. It will make you look like a caricature. And YOU might see yourself as the perfect Millie Dilmount, but a director could use you as the lead for the next show in their season… but only if you’re dressed like YOU. Hints of show interest are totally fine!examples: going in for newsies with suspenders button down shirt and nice pants.Black form fitting (not tiny) dress for chicago. There are ways to subtlety suggest a show or role you want without looking like a crazed superfan of that show. And I know that for film auditions that can be a completely different story… but that’s not this blog post. Oh yes, since I mentioned chicago…
–DON’T DRESS FOR THE CORNER. Don’t worry, a director can 90% of the time tell if you have a good body as long as your not wearing a moo moo. If you want to emphasize a portion of your body that looks fabulous… by all means! work those kneecaps! let that crossfit-worked back out in the backless dress! wear a v neck and let a little cleave come out! BUT DO NOT COMBINE ALL OF THESE OPTIONS IN ONE OUTFIT.
You should NOT be able to go straight from your audition to da’ club in the same outfit. It just gives the wrong impression of who you are. Unless you are like that… in which case… well… I don’t know. Skip this section or something.
I have been blessed to never have been in a “casting couch” situation…but I know they exist. Dressing too seductively to the point of looking easy just gives the wrong undertone to why you want to be cast. I’ve always been a firm believer of not being objectified as a woman anyways but.. I digress.
Bottom line- in a vocal audition dress nicely, comfortably, and let “you” (not your birthday suit) shine through your wardrobe choices.
THAT BEING SAID: Dressing in the dance audition you have a little bit more leeway.
The rule of “pick one aspect of your body to show off” is still a good rule to follow… but you could possibly upgrade it to two in a dance audition. Choreographers need to see your body and how your body moves… but they DONT need to see totally bare skin everywhere.
Tights are AHMAZING people. if you wanna wear those booty shorts and heels… for gods sake wear tights. Unless you’ve been dancing with the New York City ballet for 15 years and have -.08% body fat, it’s just not worth it. If you put your arms against your sides and your shorts don’t come below your wrist… put some tights on.
LET ME DISCLAIM RIGHT HERE BEFORE ANYONE WHO POSSIBLY READS THIS GETS OFFENDED.
everyone is beautiful. everyone of all shapes and sizes is beautiful to me. I get beyond excited and thankful when women with curves proudly display their body and ignore what anyone else says. I wish it would happen more often! I think the pressures that our society has placed on looks and size are absolutely ridiculous. But right now (especially this industry) that’s how it is. If it were up to me to cast every show on broadway it would be different. But this advice is not for if I was casting. This advice is based on having been in that room with casting directors/directors/artistic directors/choreographers/producers, etc for a while now and what they have said after everyone has left. So please, I don’t want anyone to get up in arms over something I say here. I was THAT girl that was larger than all the other girls in dance class. It was awful to know that I wasn’t getting cast in leads because I was twice their size but twice as talented as they were. At the end of high school for many reasons I traveled to the other side of the weight spectrum in the most unhealthy and dangerous way. Please god ladies and gents do not ever think that is ok. There are so many other ways to lose weight, gain muscle, take control or whatever it is that you want to accomplish.
phew, I had to get that out and now this post took a turn to the dark side. Where were we?
oh yes, tights. I say this because you’re moving around and there is and 85% chance your shorts will ride up and seeing two little smiles popping out of where your shortsline Used to be is not flattering. except MAYBE on sophia vergara. maybe. but even she doesn’t do that… so neither will I. And Fishnets are only occasionally appropriate. examples of such times: chicago, rock of ages, umm… tan ones are fine for a showgirlesque audition… and yeah. that’s about it.
If you’re auditioning for a dance heavy show you want to make yourself look as long and lean as possible.So you don’t want lines cutting off your legs, arms, etc. You ever see how the women in fosse wear the high cut leotards? yeah, its so their legs look like one never-ending line. The legs are more important to emphasize than the arms in a dance call.
But, just because I said that does not mean bangles are ok. they’re not. Try not to cut yourself off at the wrist.
Also, I know its super trendy a la so you think you can dance for plaid button downs to be open over a sports bra for an audition… but unless you are going to a contemporary dance company audition, it’s really not ok to wear that. Even then I don’t know if it’s ok. so, just save that outfit for class.
Personally, if you are new to this whole “dance call” thing… this is my recommendation for an outfit:
bright (not neon) leotard or tank top
yoga/jazz pants (and not the kind that fold over.. they give an extra width at the waist)
Jazz shorts (remember the tights thing)
if the audition has character shoes, tuck your tights into your shoes…rolling them up at the mid calf is cutting yourself off short again. so if there is any chance of the audition having to be barefoot… just wear something you don’t need to wear tights.
SHOES: always bring several shoes. I know it’s a pain to schlep the stuff with you… but having options is great. I’ve had times where at the end of the audition they have asked for people who tap and I had to opt out because I didn’t bring my tap shoes. Same with if you do ballet (and more specifically)pointe. My suggestion is bring character shoes, flat jazz or ballet shoes (so if the combo is more jazzy rather than showgirl-y you can change shoes and not roll your ankle), tap shoes, and pointe shoes (if you are really comfortable doing pointe in front of casting directors at the drop of a hat).
well, I think I’ve rambled enough about this for now! Just a few tips on what to wear/not to wear for an audition. I might make another blog post about behavior choices in an audition, because I have seen many people get put in the NO pile for reasons that could have been avoided.
Good luck at your next audition!