When one is an actor and is put on a room full of dancers for audition and stands at the back doing big fish in spandex. Then gets cut before singing and script 😂 any tips? 😂😂
— Michael Luxton (@JefferyCupcakes) February 4, 2020
There is nothing like the humiliating feeling of being an adequate ‘mover’, who has been thrust into a roomful of perfect dancers. I have been on many audition panels when it becomes strikingly obvious that half the auditionees should actually be in an entirely different audition – involving no triple pirouettes, Lycra, or complicated ball changes (yes, even ball changes can be complicated).
In moments like this I share the performer’s dismay, as I have two heavy left feet. Luckily the only time I have to display my Ann-Widdecombe-style dancing is when I’m sloshed at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and funerals.
So – what to do when you find yourself in this horrendous situation? Firstly, don’t be embarrassed. Most likely the producer couldn’t afford to hire the studio for more than one session, so had no choice but to put everyone together. And of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll be auditioning for a dancing track – it’s just to see if you can move.
The panel will be looking for all different types, and although it may be harder for you to pick up the dance, merely by having a go you will be admired. I always suggest you go ‘full out’ (as one choreographer insists on saying) – be big, be bold, and be beautiful – and even be bad. The only person judging you is yourself.
As I say, it is highly unlikely you have been asked in because of your dancing skills anyway – the director possibly just wanted to see what you look like when jumping up and down (an essential skill for every West End musical).
Secondly, never compare yourself to the dancers. Yes, they may be doing splits that put Lionel Blair to shame, but they are dancers and you’re an actor. Never the twain shall be confused. (I’m not saying dancers can’t act – lots certainly can – I’m just saying they’re auditioning for the dancing roles.)
Thirdly, always do a check with your agent before the audition. “Hello love, it’s me. Yes, regarding this dance call, you do realise I’m an actor, darling? Can you pass that message on? Are they doing a movement call? Can I go to that? Or failing that, can I send a video of me dancing at a club last Friday night? I did some excellent Macarena moves.”
Fourthly, wear something that clearly shows you’re not a trained dancer. Avoid anything tight and black, and don’t wear any special dance shoes. I recommend baggy pants, Converse trainers, and a T-shirt stating: “I am not a trained dancer, dear.”
Fifthly, see if you can have a chat with the director or casting director, and ask politely to go straight through to the acting and singing audition. This works sometimes (depending on the director), however you may end up being told to “get your jockstrap back on and dance”.
So, my advice is not to worry. Go in there and display your best dance moves. You aren’t a dancer and are not being auditioned as one. But if you can do the odd jazz hand, chances are you’ll get a recall anyway, dear.
href="/dear-west-end-producer/dear-west-end-producer-what-opportunities-are-there-if-i-can-dance-but-not-sing"g/">Dear West End Producer: ‘What opportunities are there if I can dance but not sing?’