Have you ever wondered what it’s like to audition for a broadway show? It’s the beginning of the Fall audition season in New York City, and all of your fave shows are beginning to post their audition notices searching for new dancers to join the ensemble. Whether you are obsessed with the choreography of Hamilton or can’t get enough of those Oompa Loompas, these auditions are the best way to practice the art of auditioning — and hey, they may even lead to a job!
It can be kind of intimidating to walk into a broadway audition and not know what to expect, but don’t worry…We’re here to answer all your questions and breakdown some broadway call basics that will help you feel confident and ready to bring your JJ-game.
First things first. What does non-equity mean?
Most dancers that are new to the audition scene are typically non-equity, as they may not have any experience or shows on their resumé. With most professional theatre gigs you book, you will rack up points towards an equity card. Once you reach a certain number of points, you can then join the actor’s union (Actor’s Equity Association), receive your card and have access to more broadway calls and auditions.
Most broadway dancer calls will be called “ECCs” or Equity Chorus Calls. This is where it gets tricky. While broadway calls are primarily for equity performers, you can still attend as a non-equity performer.
Where do I find broadway audition notices?
You can find auditions on a variety of websites that are updated frequently with new calls. Here are some of the main sites that dancers use as resources.
I see a call I would like to attend. Now what?
If you find that broadway show you’re perfect for is having an audition, all you have to do is show up. You will want to get there early to sign up as a non-eq performer on an unofficial list.
Okay… what is this “unofficial list” business?
At ECCs, equity performers will be the first to audition and have a different sign-up process than non-equity performers. That being said, non-equity dancers typically create their own list on audition day to ensure they will be seen in the order of who shows up first that day. Because there can be anywhere from 200-400 non-equity girls attending these calls at a time, the earlier you arrive to the audition, the better your chances of being seen that day.
So I might not even get seen at an ECC?
No, unfortunately not. Because equity performers take priority at ECCs, the casting directors make the big decision the day of the call if they are open to seeing non-equity dancers. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to see everyone dance, so they type.
Typing is when the audition monitor collects all the headshots and resumés of the dancers who attend the call. The monitor then gives the stack to the casting team, where they sort and select which dancers they would like to see based on what they are looking for that day.
*JJ Tip: It’s important to not take their decision to heart — you never know what they are looking for. If you get “typed out,” that doesn’t mean it’s a definite “no.” Keep on trying!
I made it into the audition room… What should I expect?
The casting team will sit behind a table and the choreographer or associate choreographer will teach you a piece of choreography from the show. When it’s your time to shine, you’ll be called by headshot in groups of 3-5 dancers. After all the groups have gone, the casting team will always direct you to “talk amongst yourselves” while they deliberate to make a cut. They will then announce who they would like to stay for the next round.
They called my name….Now what?!
If your name was called, a few things may happen next. The may ask for you to stay for another dance cut. They also may ask you to sing a 16-32 bar cut from a song in the style of the show. If you really nailed it, your name could be put on a potential hire list.
Have more questions about broadway dance calls? Comment below!