When it comes to auditions—whether you’re going out for a role in the school musical, a convention scholarship, or a spot in a big-name professional ballet company—it’s easy to get overwhelmed and super stressed. But fear not: Jo+Jax is here to help! In “Audition 101,” we share our best insider advice so you can nail your next audition. Today: What you need to know before submitting your audition photos.
If you’re trying out for a summer intensive, college dance program, or professional gig, the casting team is probably going to ask you to submit a headshot and a dance shot. Seems like a simple enough request, right? But they don’t want a link to your Instagram profile—they want to see a great representation of you as a dancer. So take the request super seriously and put your best face and feet forward. Here’s how.
1. Make sure you look like yourself. It can be tempting to lather on stage makeup and get ultra glam for your photos, but the casting team will be referring back to these pictures after they meet you at the audition, and they want to know who they’re looking at! Your hair should be appropriate for the job, role, or school—buns or twists for ballet, or a fun braid or top knot for a convention audition, for example—and your makeup should be neat, clean, and natural.
2. Wear something comfortable and flattering. Again, dress the part, just like you would at the audition—a leotard and black tights for anything ballet-related, or a black leotard and black fishnets for a Broadway audition. Keep it classic and not too trendy, and make sure that your outfit isn’t so busy that it takes away from your face and your body—that’s what the casting team wants to see! Be sure your outfit isn’t wrinkled and that your shoes are polished and scuff-free.
3. Hire a professional photographer if you can. Resources may not allow it—time, money, studio space, etc.—but if you can have a professional snap your photos, you should go that route. They’ll be able to get the best lighting and will be able to advise your best angles for the shots. If you need recommendations, ask your teacher—you may be able to get a good deal by using the same photographer your studio employs for those annual recital photos.
4. Ask your teacher to consult. If your teacher can actually be there when you’re taking the photos, that’s ideal. He or she will be able to help make sure your technique is perfect for that crucial arabesque photo, which is what the casting team will be looking at.
5. Take your photos in a dance setting. In a clean, bright studio is best. Do not take your audition photos in your bedroom, in a bathroom, or anywhere that screams “Selfie!”
6. Look pleasant! You don’t necessarily need to be flashing a giant grin in your headshot or dance shot, but you also shouldn’t look like you just got terrible news or re-watched the most recent episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” (we won’t spoil it, but…#mcdreamy). Think happy thoughts!
7. Don’t submit anything you don’t love. Both you and your teacher should approve your final shot before sending it off to the “judges.” If your technique isn’t perfectly on point or you don’t like how your hair looks, try again! In the age of digital shooting, you can literally take 1,000 photos before picking the one you want. And just like the job you’re going for—you’ve gotta want it!