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Dance School Audition and Admission Requirements

By Peterson's Staff updated on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If you're pursuing a degree from a dance school, auditions are different from auditions for music school or theater colleges. Dance auditions often require you to attend an open class the day before (or even the day of) auditions. There you’ll learn, along with everyone else, a routine that usually consists of a performance piece combining improvisation, ballet, modern, and rhythmic dance. Your individual performance will be evaluated on coordination, technique, rhythm, degree of movement, and body structure, as well as on your ability to learn and your potential for completing the program. The dance audition is as important as any other part of the admissions process.

Dance school audition requirements

Just as dance auditions and admission requirements are different from the requirements at a music school or art school, the requirements also vary among dance schools, so check with the college of your choice for specifics. Some common things you may encounter — and should prepare for — include:

Paperwork
Dance resumes, letters of intent, and photographs (typically a head shot and/or a dance pose) are often required.

Dress codes
You will most likely be asked to wear traditional ballet attire (leotard, tights, and ballet shoes), so that those evaluating your performance can better observe your dance form. Rules regarding hairstyle may be in effect. Depending on the styles of dance for which you are auditioning, you may need to bring other shoes, as well. (Tap shoes, for instance.)

A video
At certain schools, you can submit a video of some of your other performances, either as additional audition material or for submission in lieu of attending auditions in person. Check with your school to see if this is an option.

Performance
Most likely you will be expected to wear an easily seen number, much like a participant in a marathon or bike race. For some schools, you will have to create and perform your own original routine. If this is the case, make sure you find out in advance! Remember that chewing gum or wearing jewelry is a big no-no.

Interviews
You can pretty much count on a required interview with the admission committee, in addition to your performance audition.

When you get to campus, make sure that you have scheduled some time for asking questions and taking a tour. While the school is certainly auditioning you, remember that you're also auditioning the school.

The performing arts school audition: when all is said and done

After auditions are over, try to relax (and perhaps soak your feet). It’s normal to hear back about your acceptance within a month or so. If you’re not accepted, you may have a chance to audition again, or you may have to wait until next school year if you still want to pursue admission.

Good luck!

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