Just after graduating from London Studio Centre, I auditioned for Extemporary Dance Theatre. Sean Walsh, then the director, was creating a new work called A Flaming Desire, based on Faust with live music.
I got the chance to audition through Julian Moss, who danced with London Contemporary Dance Theatre and had reconstructed Robert North’s Songs and Dances for our end-of-year show. He knew the director from studying at London Contemporary Dance School with him, and asked me if I would like to audition. It was one of those ‘meeting the right person at the right time’ moments.
I was very nervous as I had only ever auditioned to get into schools and to be in college productions, so this was all new to me. I had no idea what would be expected of us. We were asked to do some improvisation, which at that time wasn’t practised in college – I was not very comfortable at all with it. I remember thinking: “Just go for it and do everything as full out and with as much movement as possible.” So, even though I was lacking confidence, I did dance to my fullest. Although I got the job in the end, I put myself right at the back of about 30 dancers instead of at the front. If Julian Moss hadn’t recommended me, I might not even have been noticed.
If you go for the work you really believe in, that will show in how you approach the audition. Research the company you are auditioning for – it will automatically give you more confidence. Directors can easily spot someone who isn’t passionate about the work and is just auditioning because it’s a job. To make sure you give the right impression, be sure to make eye contact with the people you are auditioning for. Don’t be afraid of them and engage with them. Manners go a long way. When I look for dancers now, it is not just about the individual as a dancer. How they work and their work ethic are all part of getting the job.
Training: Arts Educational Schools London; Chelsea School of Art; London Studio Centre
Theatre includes: Extemporary Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, Lewitzky Dance Company (Los Angeles), Richard Alston Dance Company, Yorke Dance Project
Other credits: Death in Venice (film); Adam Cooper’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses; The Midsummer Marriage, Cherubin (Royal Opera)
Yolande Yorke-Edgell is artistic director of Yorke Dance Project.