Auditions for the upcoming season are quickly approaching. Typically, auditions are thought of as an important time for a dance company to decide who will dance in the next season, but PTDT wants dancers to also get to know the company. We’ve thought of a few questions you might have about auditions and have answered them, but don’t hesitate to ask more! You can post questions in the comments (for pressing questions that need an answer, we recommend you call us: 530-756-3949).
What happens at an audition for PTDT?
PTDT auditions consist of several activities. The audition typically starts with Pamela discussing with prospective dancers and their parents (for the younger dancers) the differences and similarities between the three companies, including the type of work, the time commitment, and the expectations of our dancers. Next, dancers participate in a warm-up, followed by learning choreography and working in group activities. Dancers also may be asked to perform the choreography they have learned.
What is the difference between the three companies?
We’ll give a quick answer here, but Pamela will give more details at the audition or you can call and ask more questions ahead of time. The Pamela Trokanski Dance Theatre is comprised of dancers trained in modern/contemporary, jazz, and ballet technique. The Apprentice Company is for younger dancers who want to build their technique and performance skills with the intention of moving into the Dance Theatre. The Third Stage is a multi-generational dance company made up of dancers of a wide range of ages, including non-traditional dancers (people with limited training who want to perform) and dancers whose bodies require modified dance movements. How the three companies relate to each is described in this previous post.
What is Pamela looking for in the auditions?
Pamela looks at a number of attributes for each dancer in order to place them in a company. Skill level is only one part of the equation. Skill plays an important part in determining which company would be the best fit for any particular dancer, but there is more to the decision. Dancers need to be able to work together to succeed in the work of all of the PTDT companies. Cooperation is a necessity for partnering work and improvisation. The ability to learn choreography quickly is also important for dancers, especially in the main company.
What should I wear?
The company dress code is best described as “black”. PTDT, Apprentice company, and many Third Stage dancers wear black tights and a black leotard (typically one with a simple back that won’t cause bruises if a dancer rolls on their back), but many dancers also wear black form-fitting warm-up shorts or leggings. Non-traditional dancers auditioning for Third Stage should wear comfortable clothes that they can easily move in, such as running shorts or sweat pants, and a t-shirt. Often people recommend wearing bright eye-catching colors for an audition to attract the judges’ attention. This is probably NOT a good idea for a PTDT audition.
What shoes should I bring?
PTDT dancers often dance barefoot or in lyrical shoes such as “foot undies”. For auditions, you should wear the shoes that you are comfortable dancing in, but realize that you will likely be working barefoot if you join the company.
Should I bring anything else with me?
Consider bringing water or a beverage with a reclosable top with you (there’s a drinking fountain at the studio though) or anything you typically need to be comfortable in dance class. If you are a minor, please bring a parent or guardian with you to sign release forms.
What tips can seasoned PTDT dancers offer for a successful audition?
In the warm-up and choreography learning section of the audition, don’t forget that you are always being observed. How you present yourself in this portion of the audition can tell volumes about your work ethic and how you deal with the pressures of rehearsals.
Michele Tobias suggests, “in the warm up, and if there’s any technique work (like tendus), if you get a correction you should try to make the correction because it shows that you are listening and care enough to try to improve.” Also, whenever the music is playing, Pamela wants her dancers to act as if they are on stage performing. “Don’t touch your hair or clothes (a common nervous habit) when ‘on stage’ or it will make Pamela go, ‘AAH’!” reminds Sharon Riddle.
Evelia Fernandez points out that you need to focus and pay attention to the instructions and choreography. Don’t talk to other dancers when an instructor is talking, but “it’s good to ask the instructor questions; other dancers are probably wondering the same thing!” adds Sharon Riddle.
For the performance portion of the audition, our dancers offer some suggestions to make you stand out.
Nicole Bell says, “Make sure to use your face! Even if your technique isn’t where you want it to be, you can make up for it with expression. Try to think of it as not just dancing, but also acting. People tend to watch expressive dancers that may not be as technical, more than non-expressive dancers who are more technical!”
Evelia echoed Nicole’s suggestion that expression makes a big difference and added, “Never stop dancing even if you have to improvise because you forget a step. Confidence is king when you’re on stage. If you don’t have confidence, your eyes are sure to give it away. Smile! Specially if the song calls for it. Feel the music and have fun.”
Sharon encourages dancers to stand in front; “standing in front shows confidence and builds better learning skills.” But don’t worry if you end up at the back, just dance your best and you’ll get noticed.
If you are unfamiliar with PTDT’s work and style, you are highly encouraged to attend contemporary classes at the Pamela Trokanski Dance Workshop the week before the auditions. Our YouTube channel also has some examples of our concert work and community performances.
When are auditions?
Auditions for the Pamela Trokanski Dance Theatre, the PTDT Apprentice Company, and The Third Stage, will take place on Saturday, August 30th, 2014, from 1:30-4:00, at the Pamela Trokanski Dance Workshop. Auditions are free, but dancers should register in advance. Please call for information. 530-756-3949.