Directors, what is your view on re-auditioning your company members every year? It is definitely food for thought and in my experience an important essential to studio business. The most obvious reason is it gives new dancers an opportunity to move up from either apprentice, junior company, performance groups, etc. It also gives new dancers to the studio an opportunity to audition and get a sense of what the commitment entails; i.e. how "company" works.
For returning dancers, sometimes there is a preconceived notion that it is a given that once they're in, they're in.....not a good mindset for your students to have. Dancers at any level need to continually feel challenged and motivated to want to progress and advance; on their own. When they get into the habit of thinking they are in company automatically, it is inevitable that some will drop the ball. There is nothing wrong with keeping them on their toes and making them realize the hard work and dedication expected and required of them year after year. Remember, company is a privilege NOT a given. Dancers that have been in company for one or two years have to be aware they should be dancing and behaving above and beyond anyone new to the auditions. The expectation should be greater, not lower....they already know the ropes and should be an example to others. By re-auditioning, you're also getting a chance to see who really wants this 100%. Be mindful, it's also perfectly acceptable for those dancers who decide the rigor and commitment of company and performance groups is not for them and prefer to stay on a recreational level. The issue comes into play when dancers say they're invested in it and provide mediocre or half-hearted work ethic and performance! Again, not a precedent you want to allow or enable.
Something to keep in mind as we head back! Remember to always keep it positive and explain why this re-auditioning occurs. Be clear and make all expectations transparent! You don’t want students to think you hold these auditions just to be mean, however a little healthy inter studio competition is never a bad thing.
Ultimately one's own individual performance, attitude and enthusiasm will be the deciding factors and those who are not presently a good fit for company (for varying reasons) will weed themselves out. Keep in mind that re-auditioning gives you a fresh eye on students as a new season begins. It will give you insight to where they're at heading into the year, how hard they've been working over the summer and how badly they "want it." There's nothing wrong with making them work for it to achieve their goals and feel proud of the wherewithal and dedication they put forth in themselves to achieve it!
See you in the studio…
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