When your advanced dancers apply to a summer intensive, conservatory or dance company, they’re probably going to come to you for help crafting an audition video. An increasing number of dance schools and troupes ask for videos from applicants to help them quickly assess skills, technique and overall fit. However, the process of putting together a professional and impressive audition video can be challenging if you don’t have much experience with technology. Here are some dance audition tips that will help students and their teachers to create impressive audition videos:
Pick an Appropriate Piece
The first big decision that dancers need to make is what they should perform for the video audition. Some institutions may detail what they’d like to see in the video. But, other times the choice will be left to the performer.
Advise your dancer to choose a piece that is appropriate for the school or company. Meaning, don’t perform a jazz piece when applying to a ballet school. It should also be a piece that showcases the dancer’s individual strengths and is a good representation of skill level.
Some experts recommend that dancers include a variety of clips to show off their range of skills.
“I have found that showing a variety of styles and clips that include strong acting along with the dancing make for a more interesting product,” Barry Kerollis, a former dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, explained to Dance Informa. “You need to have some flash, but then you need to have the depth in technique and character to back it up.”
If your dancers have well-shot clips from past performances, it may be worthwhile to make a video compilation. If you choose to go this route, make sure you have access to professional editing software to stitch the clips together.
Carefully Select Your Attire and Backdrop
Once you’ve helped your dancer decide on the best piece to perform, it’s time to iron out the logistics of filming. Dance Advantage recommended that dancers chose a clean space that has a lot of natural light. A studio with a wall of windows may be one good option. Alternatively, you can bring in lighting equipment to make sure the video adequately captures your movements.
There should also be some thought put into the performer’s outfit. Dance magazine suggested that dancers wear form-fitting attire with minimal frills. Hair should be pulled back and neat. Make sure that the dancer stands out against the background. If she’s dancing in a room with black walls, a black leotard will make her blend into the background.
Find a Videographer and a Consultant
The person who ultimately films the video should ideally have experience behind a camera. Most dancers don’t hire professional videographers, but it’s a good idea to ask a video-savvy friend to film the performance. This will ensure that the clip is focused and steady – both of which make a big difference when the director or choreographer reviews the video.
Dance Advantage also recommended that a teacher or studio owner be present while the video is filmed. Videographers don’t always understand which aspects of a performance are most important, and a dance professional can serve as a type of consultant, pointing out what angles and shots would be best.
Formatting the Video
When stitching together the final video, use these tips to ensure it captures the attention of the viewers:
- Keep the video as short as possible. Five minutes is a good length, especially for entry-level dancers.
- Include text overlay at the beginning of the tape that details the dancer’s name, age, web address and contact information.
- Put your strongest clips first, just in case the viewer stops watching halfway through.
- Dance Informa noted that dancers should never digitally alter their appearances in videos, as this may be seen as deception.
- Contact the school or company to see what final format they would like to receive the video in.