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Navigating College Dance Auditions: Tips and Insights

Robert Fulton - Aug. 15, 2023, 6 p.m.

10 years ago, most people would have told you that college for dance was a waste of time.  That it wouldn't provide the right training and it would take too many years out of your career.  But now, college for dance is increasingly being considered a viable option for pre-professional training, with top Universities like Indiana dominating each audition season.  Companies recognize the good training, and also the maturity level of the dancers graduating from these programs that make them a good fit for a professional career.  All that being said, embarking on the journey of auditioning for college dance programs can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. The process involves a blend of preparation, research, and showcasing your unique talents. In this blog post, we'll delve into the essentials of college dance auditions, providing insights and highlighting some notable programs that offer ballet auditions.

  1. Dual Application Process: Most college dance auditions require you to apply separately to both the dance program and the university itself. This dual application process allows institutions to evaluate your academic qualifications alongside your dance abilities.  Generally, a successful application on one side will aide in your consideration on the other.  Some colleges do offer walk-ons to dance programs but not as frequently at top-level programs.

  2. Pre-Screening Video Auditions: Many dance programs have a pre-screening video audition component. These videos, typically due from October - December, serve as an initial screening to determine if you'll be invited for an in-person audition. It's crucial to carefully follow the specific guidelines for these video submissions.  Many colleges have similar, but slightly different requirements for the videos, so give yourself ample time to film and edit all the necessary combinations.

  3. In-Person Auditions: For those who pass the pre-screening phase, in-person auditions are the next step. These auditions generally take place from January to March and provide an opportunity for you to showcase your dance skills live. They usually involve a diverse audition process, encompassing various dance styles and often requiring a solo performance.

  4. Diverse Audition Experience: College dance auditions often consist of multiple components, including ballet, contemporary, modern, improvisation, and interviews. This diverse approach allows the admissions panel to gauge your versatility and adaptability as a dancer.

  5. Showcasing Your Solos: In many auditions, you'll be asked to perform a solo piece of your choice. This is your chance to shine and showcase your individual style and strengths. Select a solo that reflects your uniqueness and demonstrates your technical proficiency and artistry.  Usually either a contemporary or a classical are required, so have both prepared!

  6. Finding Colleges on BalletScout: Visit: or visit .  Make sure to set your style filters for the programs search and to set the "Collegiate" filter for the auditions search.
  7. Finding the best programs: Look for notable Faculty and a place where you can get performance experience.  While the big programs listed below are great options, they are by no means the end-all be-all.  If you find a faculty member who is well connected and a great teacher, they can nurture you into whatever career path you choose.  So don't limit yourself!  Explore all the options.
  8. Notable College Dance Programs: Several renowned institutions offer ballet auditions as part of their dance programs. Some of these include:

Ballet Leaning

Contemporary Leaning

These institutions provide an exceptional platform for aspiring dancers to refine their skills, gain exposure to diverse dance genres, and nurture their artistic growth.

In conclusion, college dance auditions are a blend of preparation, dedication, and the opportunity to showcase your unique dance abilities. As you embark on this exciting journey, be sure to research each program's specific requirements, prepare your pre-screening videos meticulously, and approach in-person auditions with confidence. Remember that these auditions not only evaluate your technical prowess but also your passion and potential to contribute to their dance community.

Take a step forward in your dance aspirations and embrace the transformative experience of college dance auditions. Your journey is waiting to unfold on the stage of higher education and artistic growth.