Auditions: side step the nerves

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Lucy Christodolou offers three keys to making auditions an enjoyable experience.

Side step the nerves

Auditions! We all know what that means – heightened emotions, and just a little stress and nervous energy! While this may be the typical experience for most dancers, we can learn to use these emotions in a positive and productive way. In this article I will show you three key ways to prepare yourself and your mindset before your audition.

Everyone’s scared, but fear means you care.

Many dancers become fearful in auditions. They try to hide their "weaknesses" and can't help but compare themselves with those around them. It's hard not to become self-critical when we are surrounded by hundreds of incredible dancers with enormous talent and skill. In a pressure-filled and competitive environment, many of us become intimidated and/or start judging ourselves in comparison to the others in the room. Such feelings can be extremely unproductive, especially in an audition situation. If you feel scared, you will look scared! Instead, I encourage you to remind yourself that, to the others, you are new too! To them, you are incredible too! They are experiencing all the same fears and processing all the same emotions. After all, they are all also human. Understand that, for all of you, these nerves are a healthy feeling.

Remember: the audition is not the place for improving.

The audition room is a place for you to showcase yourself as a dancer, not a place to improve your dancing and not a place for predicting outcomes. If you start judging yourself and your abilities during the audition, try to remember that this isn’t the time to better your dancing, it’s the time for showing how capable, brave and intelligent you are. If you find yourself stuck in a fearful state, asking yourself “am I good enough for this job?”, “will I get this contract?”, remind yourself that the panel's judgement of you is not within your control. There's no point worrying about what they think. All you have to do as the dancer is control the controllable, which is your attitude, your energy and your dancing, not the outcome of the audition.

Tell yourself that it is a privilege for others to watch your dancing

Stop worrying that “they have to watch me, oh no!” and start telling yourself, “they get to watch me! (Lucky them!)” Imagine how you’d dance if you knew all the judges were impressed and in awe of you, and couldn’t wait to give you a paid position! I bet you’d shine, and dance boldly, take up space in the room and express yourself to your fullest extent! So back yourself. If you want to be watched and recognised, you must recognise yourself as worth watching. If you want to be magnetic and eye-catching, start by believing that of your day-to-day dancing!

Lastly, aim to show up in these auditions with the energy, personality, charisma and confidence of the dancer you want to be. You may not be where you want to be yet, you may still be finding your strengths and improving on your weaknesses, but that will all come with time and patience. Think about how you would carry yourself if you were at the level you know you will be, and dance from there, because that is the version of you that you will continue to create and will be so engaging!

Use this audition season to strengthen your confidence and sense of who you are as a dancer and enjoy the experience! 

Former dancer Lucy Christodolou is the founder of Beyond the Barre, a nutrition and mindset coaching service.

This article is one of many fantastic stories in the special AUDITION issue of 'Dance Australia'. OUT NOW! Buy from your favourite dance retailer or online here or here. And remember, print is for keeps!

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