For 95% of us performers, dance auditions are stressful - it's just the nature of it. After all you're trying to get a job. While at an audition, your focus should be on performing at your very best without any distraction. There is no need adding to the natural nervousness with a “I forgot to take my résumé”, “my hair is falling down” or “I'm feeling hungry”. Prepare your bag in advance to avoid these unwelcome surprises. Now you don't want to bring a whole suitcase, so you'll need to be strategic about it; but the more you audition, the better you'll know what you need and when.
Here are the top 10 items to put in your audition bag:
#10 A pen and a little pad
You might need to take notes, like rehearsal and performance dates or you might be asked to fill out a casting sheet with your stats and other information. No need to add unecessary stress by scrambling around to find a pen...
#9 A second set of dance clothes
If you are wearing shorts, bring some pants; if you are wearing a T-shirt, take a second one. Girls, pack a different colour leotard.
#8 A towel
Yes, you will be sweating, and you do not want to use your clothes to wipe it off or have to run to the bathroom to find paper towels.
#7 Medical supplies
No need to bring your whole pharmacy, but have a few things handy like muscle ache relief oitments (i.e. Icy Hot, Tiger Balm, Arnica), bandaids, and some Kinesiology tape.
#6 Make-up and a mirror
You might need to do a little touch-up, on a break or right before the audition. Again, do not overload yourself with a whole make-up bag, just the essentials: powder, lipstick and a little blush.
#5 Hairspray/gel, hair ties, extra bobby pins and a brush
Your hair should be secured and remain untouched while dancing, whether you have them in a ponytail, a bun or loose (if loose, keep them off your face). But you also might need to change hairdo for a different part of the audition. Keep it simple. Boys, your hair should be presentable, and unless you are going for a specific look make sure you are clean shaven, no scruff!
#4 All kinds of dance shoes and their accessories
Sometimes auditions are very specific, sometimes not, in either case you never know what they will ask you to do. The floor might not be the best for bare feet, jazz shoes come in handy. You were supposed to do modern, but they liked you so much, they also want to know if you can do pointe. You may be asked to improv with a little cabaret style, and here come the heels for the ladies! For you tappers, make sure you carry a little screwdriver set, add some matches and superglue to fix those screws that just do not want to stay in! For pointe shoes, put those extra toe-pads, thread and needle in your bag (check your ribbons are securely sawn beforehand).
#3 Your résumé and headshot
Take at least two sets (stapled back to back unless otherwise stated). That first set might get damaged or you might receive a last-minute call for another audition while you're already out! Do not bend your headshot and résumé, keep them protected in a folder.
#2 Snacks & Water
Keep your energy up in case the audition is longer than anticipated. You need to be 200% ready when it's your time to shine. We all tend to forget about body fuel! Avoid being dehydrated! Do not rely on the audition venue to supply water.
#1 Your smile and confidence
You may forget everything else on this list, but DO NOT forget your smile and confidence (not to be confused with arrogance), without them you won't be given the time of day! So bring it on...