Most dancers in the studio setting strive to achieve the illustrious company status at some point in their training, if they are serious enough. How you determine who is ready to advance and who needs some more time "marinating" is an important decision based on a variety of factors that should be determined and discussed by you and your faculty through the audition process. Those factors should range from a whole host of things and should be objectively deconstructed. Below are a few of those important priorities and can be translated into tangible checklists in which you and your faculty may score during auditions per each auditionee. Subsequent meetings with each individual dancer and their parents should then be scheduled that week to explain your decision-making. This is the time where you can discuss where you see the dancer going forward and how you will help them achieve their goals. Checklists can be made simply to range from a score 1-5 per category/technique idiom with a column for "notes" for each dancer.
Technique "readiness": Break down your audition down into ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop, vocal, etc. Each faculty member or choreographer should teach a short, challenging combo to see where the dancer's strengths and weaknesses lie and whether they will be able to execute the movement of various choreographers and their styles. It will also demonstrate who is able to pick up choreography quickly and perform. *again, scoring for each category can be as simple as 1-5 with "notes" section provided.
Performance ability: Who is giving 100% performance at all times? Who is emoting, creating an experience for the audience and has the ability to take on that challenging movement and turn it into moving stories? Remind your students that it's not enough to just be a proficient technician, but that performance ability is part of technique and is nothing without the other. Dancers who are able to perform even when they are not sure of steps and figure out how to "make it work" are usually wonderful, company candidates.
Work ethic & Commitment level: Is the dancer ready for the demanding schedule that belonging in company will entail? Are they able to manage their school and rehearsal schedules accordingly? Can they multi task and are they mature enough to balance it all at this point in their studio career? Are they prepared to make company a priority above all other activities they may be involved with? These are hard questions to ask, but a dancer who is wanting to take on the role of company member should be made well aware of the requirements and expectations you and your faculty have for your senior company members.
Leadership role ability: Is this dancer a leader? Do they set an good example for younger or newer dancers coming up in the studio ranks? Are they self motivated and willing to help others on their own? Do you see them as a company captain and someone who will provide support and morale for their team?
Collaboration Efforts: Is this person easy to work with? Do they work well with others? Are they receptive to other people's ideas? Are they enjoyable to have in class and rehearsal? Do they work Do they understand it's all about team work and working together as one ensemble to create beautiful works?
Professionalism: Is this dancer professional inside and outside of the studio? Do they set an example for others and prove to be the kind of representational role model you want for your studio? How do they come to class? Is their class appearance and work ethic consistent? Are they punctual? Do they respect everyone and the studio? How is their attendance? How do they work in class and rehearsal? How do they work through injury and sickness? All important factors when auditioning dancers who your faculty will be working alongside with very closely through out the year!
Attitude: How is this dancer's disposition? How do they take correction and critique? How do they walk into the studio? How do they handle themselves in stressful situations? How do they interact with other dancers? Does this dancer have the kind of positive, patient and open minded attitude necessary for company?
Company auditions are an opportunity to select dancers you feel are technically ready for this opportunity as performers. Dancers should be reminded that being selected for company is not a "given," it is a privilege. Remember, all the other factors discussed above make for a well rounded dancer who loves to be in the studio and up on the stage, but more importantly a well rounded human being we hope shines and grows wherever life takes them!
Good luck to everyone! Happy auditioning!
See you in the dance studio,