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How to Prepare for a Dance Team Audition

Whether you’re auditioning for a high school dance team, studio competition team, or professional audition, there’s no denying that auditions can be stressful. For dancers, there is plenty to do to prepare so you don’t let your nerves get the best of you during the audition process.  With the right attitude and preparation, you can give a powerhouse performance that the judges will remember.  Here’s some helpful tips to prepare you for your best performance on audition day.

Research & Prepare:  The more prepared you are walking into a dance team audition, the more confident you will feel and the better outcome you will have. Attend the team’s informational meeting to learn about the technical requirements, clinic days, stages of the audition, and paperwork required.  Visit the team’s website and social media to learn more about the style of dance performed, events they perform at, and their overall look. The more information you have the better prepared you will be.

Train, Train, Train!:  Once you have more information about the requirements needed to make the team, start taking lessons to prepare yourself ahead of time.  Do some research to identify what styles of dance and specific skill judges will expect you on audition day. Getting private training in addition to taking dance class may give you that added push for making it onto the dance team. Not only can dance lessons give you the practice you need but teachers can also share helpful tips and advice to help you be at your personal best at the tryout.

Take Advantage of Audition Clinics: Many dance programs offer clinics before tryouts. This is a great way to learn the required choreography and dance style.  It will also help you further your skills and find out exactly what judges are looking for at the audition.  Visit the school’s or team website or social media to learn more about clinic dates and the audition process.  Reach out to the coach with any questions to ensure you are prepared for the big day!

Know the Dress Code: First impressions can be everything.  For a dance team audition, making the best impression possible is critically important.  Make sure you review the dress code guidelines in the tryout paperwork to ensure you are presenting your best self.   Identify if you’ll need multiple outfits and shoes based on the styles of dance performed at the audition.  Pay special attention to your hair and make-up.  Make sure it is appropriate, presenting yourself with a clean look.  And, don’t forget to bring hair and makeup touch up items to refresh yourself throughout the day.

Do Your Best:  Arrive to the audition on time!  Make sure you come prepared to the tryout with the required paperwork completed and arrive a little early to relieve your nerves.  Judges will want to see that you can follow the rules and that you will be committed to the program.  During the audition, remember to project your personality, hold your head up high, smile, and leave it all on the dance floor.  Be polite and friendly with other dancers, as they could be your teammates soon. Be confident and show the judges that you’re excited to be there and eager to be part of the team.

Tips Prior to the Audition

  • Train hard in every class so that you are technically ready. Focus on every exercise as if each combination were the entire class.

  • Hear a correction only once. Apply the correction. Train yourself to self-correct.

  • Practice putting your technique and your presentation together. One cannot exist without the other. Don’t sacrifice your technique to perform, nor loose your presentation and become only a technician.

  • Keep your memory sharp! Without this you will never be able to show off your skills if you can’t remember the combination.

  • Be physically and nutritionally healthy.

  • Preparing for auditions should be an ongoing activity; not only when you are expecting an audition.

  • Research what you are auditioning for… college dance program, dance company, agent, commercial, cruise line etc. Do your homework!

  • Know your availability prior to the audition.

  • Prepare your headshot and resume (not always needed- but good to have!).

  • Headshot should be a current photo

  • Resume should include name, phone number, email, address, age, height, weight, hair color. Limit to one page only

  • Plan your audition attire.

  • BALLET- Black leotard, pink tights (no holes, runs, smudges), pink ballet shoes, no skirt, clean bun with colored hair accessory for recognition

  • JAZZ- Tight top/leotard, tight pants/shorts, jazz shoes or bare feet, hair off face (not distracting), bright colors and unique dancewear are best

  • TAP- Tap shoes, pants should be away from ankles, hair off face (not distracting), bright colors and unique dancewear are best

  • HIP-HOP- Sneakers, loose fitting pants (no jeans), bright colors, memorable hat or accessory. Be funky!

  • MODERN- Leotard, tights/leggings, hair in bun or clean ponytail, bare feet

  • Wear make-up (females) and be well groomed (males).

  • Undergarments should not be visible (no bra straps or underwear sticking out).

  • Cover tattoos with clothing or make-up.

  • No jewelry.

  • Arrive early and collected. You may need to complete paperwork so allow extra time.

  • Make a strong first impression.

  • Find a place to warm-up on your own even if there is a warm-up as part of the audition.

  • Keep your number pinned on your front in an easy-to-see location.

  • Have a small bag of clothing/shoe options you can quickly change into if needed (prior to audition).

  • If you start getting nervous, try running in place. It will get you warm, your blood pumping and burn off extra adrenaline.


  • Don’t audition next to your friends. You will be tempted to talk and you may dress or dance too similar to your friends. You want to stand out, not blend in.

  • Don’t hide in the back. Stand in the front only if you are confident you know the material. Don’t be rude or pushy, but also stand your ground. Be confident. Never stand in front of the teacher!

  • Memorize names (Instructor, Assistant, Choreographer, Director, Producer etc…)

  • Don’t change/add/remove clothes once audition process has begun

  • Use your dance etiquette

  • Never sit down

  • Don’t lean on barres/walls

  • Do not talk during audition

  • Do not turn your back to the Instructor

  • Don’t chew gum

  • Do not bring in a cell phone

  • Clap for other dancers auditioning

  • Clap to thank the Instructor at the end of the audition

  • Focus on the material being shown. Learn quickly. Watch for all details. The goal is to get everything correct in one showing.

  • Begin all exercises well. Finish them well.

  • Don’t “mark” audition material unless asked

  • Do the steps exactly as asked (examples: don’t do a triple pirouette if they specifically asked for a double, don’t kick the leg 160º if they asked for the battement to be 90º)

  • Pay attention to directions (examples: “numbers 1-5 go first”, “odd numbers exit to the left” etc…)

  • If you have to ask a question, ask quickly and clearly. Try to avoid asking questions by listening to others and watching. Only ask questions during an appropriate time. Say “thank you” to the Instructor if they answer your question. Don’t ask a question that has already been asked!

  • Learn to recognize the beat and phrasing quickly. Find the beat immediately and prepare yourself for the tempo of the movement.

  • Stand tall with your arms to your sides. Don’t cross your arms or put them in your pockets. (This will make you look more confident and you will not risk covering your audition number).

  • Be expressive in your face. Smile, be graceful, be passionate, be energetic etc…

  • Don’t look at the floor while you dance.

  • Don’t make a “face” or bad expression if you mess up… pick up the choreography and keep going!

  • Continue to review your choreography when other groups are auditioning. Keep it fresh.

  • Be prepared to freestyle/improve. Know what you are good at. Don’t try new “tricks” in an audition.

  • Don’t talk while waiting to audition outside or when you are exiting. Be listening for tips/clues (“the floor is slippery”, “they will want you to growl”, “they are only looking for 3 dancers” etc…)

  • Show the audition panel that you are exactly what they are looking for. Believe in yourself!


  • “Cattle call” auditions are open to anyone vs. “agent only” auditions

  • Height, weight, hair color, ethnicity are major factors and could “cut” you at the very beginning

  • Material is usually taught to the entire group first and then auditioned in smaller groups.

  • Depending on the adjudicators, dancers may be “cut” or asked to leave during the audition process

  • Dancers may also be asked to return later for a “call-back”

  • Know your limitations in advance.


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