Emma asked us to share her experiences auditioning for college dance programs. Auditions are a major part of every dancer’s life. Her is Emma’s perspective. We wish you all the best Emma!

College Audition #1: Butler University
November 9, 2019

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By Emma Bachtel

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written about my own endeavors on here! I will be starting back up by regularly writing about my college audition experiences. Applying to colleges as a Dance Major requires a lot of extra steps not needed for regular courses of study. From pre-screens, to live auditions, to interviews, it’s quite an extensive process! So, I will be writing about my journey towards collegiate dance and hopefully provide a resource to other dancers who want to follow this path. I’ll be starting off this series with my first college audition: Butler University.

Crossing State Lines

Butler University has been one of my dream programs since middle school. As a total bun head, their program offers many exciting advantages that are attractive to me. One of these is the opportunity to participate in two full-length classical ballets every year on a professional stage. So, my dad and I hopped in the car on a Thursday night and drove the multiple hours to Indianapolis for my Friday morning audition.

Defying Gravity and Phase One

The audition day began at 8:00am, so I woke up early, put on my favorite audition day pump up jams (Defying Gravity from Wicked being an absolute must!) and my dad and I made our way over to the university. Once we got checked in, I was directed up to the third floor and we were given a presentation about everything the Jordan College of the Arts has to offer. The presentation covered many great points about the program, but unfortunately left us with little warm up time. Once the talk concluded we were assigned our barre spots, parents were kicked out, and the audition commenced!

Shaky Bodies and Smiling Faces

Like most auditions, this one began with a standard ballet class. I was nervous, but I was also excited and smiling from the very beginning. I am always of the mindset that once you’re in the audition there’s nothing else you can do except give it your best, relax, and enjoy the process. That being said, I was still shaking after the first combination in the center. So was another girl standing near me, so I leaned over, gave her some words of encouragement, and offered her a smile. She thanked me and returned a shaky smile.

For a lot of reasons, I always make a point of smiling during auditions. The first of which is…it just kinda happens. I love what I’m doing and my face shows that. Another reason, though, is it helps you to stand out. Everyone there is nervous; having a smile on your face projects confidence and a lot of people forget that. I also like to make eye contact with and smile at the other girls throughout the audition. We’re all in the same situation and I think it’s better to support one another in spite of the competitive environment.

Part Two: Back for More

After the morning audition class, it was all over and time to head on home…..not. Which was good news to me, because I didn’t want to leave! It was actually time for a lunch break, a tour of the dance facilities, and then a ballet class alongside current Butler students. The tour included two of the performance venues available to Jordan College of the Arts students: Clowes Memorial Hall and Schrott Center for the Arts. The spaces absolutely blew me away and the prospect of performing on their stages made me so excited! After we saw a few more of the studios, the costume shop, and the physical therapy room, it was time for the class. I was assigned to take class with the current freshman and…wow was it a reality check. I began to understand why there is an approximately 30% acceptance rate for the ballet program- these girls were amazing.

Back Across the State Border

Immediately after completing the second class I traded my ballet bun, tights, and leotard for normal person clothes and headed on home (for real this time). I fell asleep almost as soon as we were on the road. I had given everything I had during the classes that day, and I was spent (not to mention recovering from bronchitis). As we left Indianapolis behind and embarked on our lengthy drive home, I was satisfied with how the day had gone and am now anxiously awaiting my results!

Thank you so much for reading my post about my audition at Butler University! Be sure to check back for updates on other auditions I am attending. If you have any questions about college auditions or the application process, feel free to email me at enpointewithemma@gmail.com.

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