Image: Tania Lea Vosgatter
Image: Tania Lea Vosgatter
Video auditions are the only way for many dancers today to show off their skills to prospective audiences. And this applies to students who hope to gain a performing arts slot at a university or college.
After all, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many theatre and dance performers to rethink, adapt and reimagine the audition and recruitment process.
This includes tertiary institutions, such as the University of Cape Town (UCT), which have swopped in-person for video auditions and recruitment.
Although the video audition can be as nerve wrecking and overwhelming as the in-person audition, it doesn’t have to be.
New World Dance Theatre (NWDT) co-founder, artistic director, choreographer, professional dancer and teacher Celeste Botha has information to help you get through.
Since her first professional gig Operation Blanket in 1993, Celeste has been actively involved in the South African dance, theatre and corporate entertainment industry. She has also worked with well-known contemporary and ballet dance companies both locally and abroad.
Botha, alongside Marlin Zoutman is the co-founder of the Cape Town-based registered NPO arts organisation NWDT has a youth training programme that aims to provide exposure and accessibility to those unable to afford private tuition.
“The whole idea was to give people in the coloured and black townships the opportunity to train with current, professional and very good teachers in the industry,” Botha says.
Despite the fact that video auditions can be “less personal” it is absolutely imperative that you use the footage to your advantage. And this may mean recording yourself a few times. Here are some tips and tricks from Botha on how to make the most out of your video audition:
The first few seconds of the video audition requires you to introduce yourself.
Most tertiary institutions set questions that they would like you to answer.
So far the most common question to date is: Why should we consider you?
Botha emphasised the importance of preparation and practice by advising individuals to “write down key points” on what they want to learn, explore and unpack as an artist.
“There should be a certain energy, sense of clarity and confidence,” she suggested.
With the nationwide lockdown, many are unable to gain direct access to a studio space free of charge.
Therefore, it is a good idea for individuals to use their own initiative to create a safe dance space.
Whether it means moving around furniture or even moving outside, Botha elaborates:
“If you need to go to a parking lot or a road outside where there is gravel then put on shoes.
“There are ways … go to a field or your backyard where there is grass. And make sure there is no glass!”
Botha suggests a few extra areas to look at when you compose your virtual audition.
Overall the NWDT artistic director notes a few other key points such as showing focus, passion and positive body language. In any audition, these might be your key to successful recruitment.