Audition Advice: What NOT to Wear to Your Next Dance Audition

Audition Advice What NOT to Wear to Your Next Dance Audition

You have the choreography memorized down to the smallest detail. You have your opening spiel ready. You’re as confident as ever that this audition will go well. But then you remember, you have absolutely no clue on what to wear for the big day!

Wardrobe is one of those things that end up getting pushed to the back of everybody’s mind—until the actual dance audition day comes rolling in. You never gave enough time to plan your outfit ahead, but when the day comes, suddenly you’re all over the place looking for the best ensemble. If you find yourself guilty of this, don’t worry, it’s never too late to correct your past actions.

Here you will learn what fashion mistakes you must avoid as revealed by the industry insiders themselves. Take their advice to heart, so no matter what the outcome is, you can take relief from the fact that at least, you did all things right in the wardrobe department!

What NOT to Wear to Your Next Dance Audition

Dance Auditions

Do not dress up as a ‘character’

“For Graham, the biggest faux pas is narrowing or pigeonholing the roles you could dance. For example, if you come with pigtails that make you look young and cute, you limit our ability to see you in different roles. Don’t suggest a character in the way you dress. Err on the side of simplicity: neutral tones, close-fitting attire—maybe a leotard with tights. And remember: We’re a classical company, so no bare legs.”

Janet Eilber, artistic director of Martha Graham Dance Company

Avoid baggy clothes

“It’s important to understand the company where you’re auditioning. For Complexions, it’s all about the line. We say ‘no baggy clothes’ for our auditions and people will still show up in an oversized sweatshirt and booty shorts. Our dancers are known to perform in little to no clothing, and the directors want to see as much of the body as possible.

“My advice: Know your body and know what looks good on it. Experiment beforehand; get suggestions from your friends. And keep your audition wear separate: Have a couple of outfits that you set apart for auditions (like you might with a suit or dress for job interviews) so they’re ready when you need them and they won’t look shabby or faded.”

Michael Moore, general manager of Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Don’t overdo your outfit

“When I’m casting a musical like Chicago, in which the dancers wear lingerie or black dance attire, dancers often think they should audition in highly sexualized outfits. ‘Not putting a hat on a hat’ is an expression we use. The choreography is sexy and the songs are sexy, so if you overdo that aspect in your dress and performance, you can lose class, mystique, and charm. A rule of thumb: Wear classic attire that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear in front of your grandmother.

“Neutral colors work best for makeup; in the fluorescent lighting of the audition room, bright red lipstick can be too theatrical. And unless your hair is part of the choreography—like in Rock of Ages—keep it out of your face. A dancer who constantly has to push back her hair reads as insecure.”

Benton Whitley, casting director with Duncan Stewart and Company

Auditions Tips

Avoid jewelry

“The biggest faux pas that I constantly see are women wearing drop-crotch pants, baggy flannel shirts tied around waists, and too many accessories. Instead, dancers should wear form-fitting clothing that shows their lines and that they are in shape. Even at a hip-hop audition, directors want to see your legs. Choose skinny jeans or even boyfriend-fit jeans. If I’m auditioning a dancer for representation who has a shirt around her waist, I’ll assume that she is insecure and hiding a body part. And be careful with bangles; a woman once auditioned for us wearing so many bracelets, you could hear her dancing the entire time. Just choose one accessory.

“Whether you’re auditioning for an agency or a recording artist, always come camera-ready. But know the job you’re hoping to book. If you’re auditioning for a musician, look at how his or her dancers have dressed in the past. If the artist is under 18, don’t go in super sexy. That’s a big mistake.”

Steve Chetelat, agent with Bloc LA

No vibrant colors

“Black tights hide a lot. For women, I prefer pink tights or shorts at an audition, something that really shows your muscle. It’s a sea of shorts nowadays; sometimes it seems like all the men are auditioning in shorts. They should also wear well-fitting shirts, not loose T-shirts that hang. Tie it, or tuck it in.

“In a room full of bodies, you want to be remembered. Colors are rampant at our auditions, so black is actually one of the rarest colors. White will also help you stand out. It shows that you’re brave, aware of your body. Your dancing will always win out, as long as you show it.”

Stanton Welch, artistic director of Houston Ballet

Auditions, no matter what kind, are long and tedious. So your first priority should be that you are dressed comfortably. Make sure you bring an extra clothes as well. On that note, here’s to wishing you the best of luck on your next dance audition!

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