Sneak peek: Audition tales - Ariana Mazzeo

Have you seen our special audition feature yet? It's in the current issue (June/July) of 'Dance Australia' and is packed with dancers' own accounts of their audition experiences. Read Ariana Mazzeo's story below and buy your print issue before it goes off the helves!


I began my training at the ripe age of three at the prestigious ED5 International in Sydney, and continued on there to complete my Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts in 2017. With the finest training in my back pocket, I went out into the real world, attending countless auditions and facing countless rejections. As any dancer will tell you, the audition process is one of tenacity and stamina, and since auditions in Sydney are far and few in between, every dancer is hungry to book that gig. While training at a full time school can prepare you for a variety of situations in auditions and jobs, the real learning is done in the audition room in front of the panel, and it is here where I feel we learn the most about ourselves.

One audition that has always stuck with me was for the recast of Aladdin in 2018. I felt confident going into this audition knowing that I perfectly fit the brief of “ethnic” look dancer/singer with excellent tapping ability. Getting through the first round was completely surprising, knowing the big names of incredible women that I was up against, but the day was not done yet.

The next round was a tap routine from the iconic “Cave Scene” in which the Genie performs “Friend Like Me”. Being an experienced and confident tapper, I knew I had this one in the bag. I can honestly say it was one of my strongest auditions to date; however, I was the only one out of the group to not get a call-back for the next round. Looking back now, I can understand that I was inexperienced, young and, if I'm honest, not ready to go into a professional show. At the time, however, when they called out everyone's name but mine, it was gut wrenching.

I had my moment to feel upset and confused, which I believe is essential, but more important than this, I got back up and kept going. I trained even harder, went to class religiously, fine tuned my vocal abilities with my amazing singing teacher, and never stopped perfecting my craft. So when the audition for West Side Story came around later in 2018, I was readily armed with upmost preparation and was fortunate enough to receive call back, after call back, until I finally landed the job.

I really believe that there is no such thing as “luck” in this industry. Success comes from preparation and opportunity -- the RIGHT opportunity. So many dancers get down after audition rejections, but it is so important to remember that sometimes you're just not the right puzzle piece for the job. The moment you understand that, the less pressure you put on yourself in auditions, as you begin to recognise what you have to offer and where that fits in.

Auditioning for my current role as Maria in Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 was the most enjoyable experience to date. I was prepared enough to immerse myself in the character, and be able to have fun without feeling the pressure to do or be something other than myself. After a week of auditioning, I felt confident walking away knowing I had done everything in my power to show the panel who I was and what I have to offer.

The best advice I have received for auditions was to control what you know you can control. There are so many variables on the day that are out of your control, which can be an overwhelming feeling -- however, you can control how prepared you are. So do your research on the show you are auditioning for, listen to the cast recording, bring all your shoes and options for outfits, bring your sheet music (which should be marked and in the correct key). Preparing all of this will make you more relaxed going into the audition, and now all you have to do, is be present in the room, and show them YOU!

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