Just for fun

8 Thoughts Every Dancer Has During an Audition

Whether it's your first time jumping into the audition scene or you have hundreds of crinkled numbers to prove you're a seasoned pro, having a panel of judges eyeing your every move makes everyone's mind race a little.

Here are eight thoughts you're bound to have when you step into the studio for an audition.


1. Who has my lucky number?

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You may not be superstitious, but your développé is definitely a little higher when number 11 is pinned to your leotard. If you didn't get a chance to snag it at the registration table, chances are you'll be surveying the room during pliés to figure out who scored your lucky number.

2. Please, please don't let my tights run.

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Whether your tights are brand-new or you're wearing your favorite reliable pair, the last thing you want to see is a run when you glimpse in the mirror.

3. Smile! Wait, not too much.

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Not only do you have to worry about showing your rock-solid technique, but you also have to make it look enjoyable. It takes practice to strike that delicate balance between "I'm having fun" and "I might follow the director home."

4. Are they looking at me?

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It's been half an hour, and it doesn't seem like the director has even glanced in your direction. But as soon as you wobble during a penché, suddenly all eyes are on you. Couldn't they watch later when you're bound to jump higher than LeBron James during grand allegro?

5. Nope, I definitely didn't catch that combo.

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Normally, picking up combinations isn't a problem for you, but between the intimidating looks from the panel and the thick crowd of dancers marking in front of you, sometimes it just doesn't happen. Time to slide toward the back and hope another group goes before yours.

6. Wow, she's GOOD.

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When the dancer in front of you nails eight pirouettes and stays on the music, you might feel like packing up your dance bag and calling it a day, but don't let thoughts like this distract you. For all you know, someone else could be standing on the side thinking the same thing about you!

7. This is the fastest petit allegro I've ever done.

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Is this combo designed to assess your technique or simply give the judges a good laugh? Either way, just be happy you didn't trip over your feet.

8. Just tell me if I got it already.

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You made it through the audition, but every dancer knows the worst part comes after you take off your number. At least you can ice your feet while you obsessively refresh your email.

Music
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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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