Aspiring Dancers Learn to Tap Their Toes to Broadway Show Numbers | The Wall Street Journal

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Watching a Broadway musical and then trying out the choreography is probably something best attempted in private.

But dancers with skill and courage are shuffling off to Broadway Dance Center, a studio in the heart of the Theater District, to learn choreography from musicals currently onstage.

via Aspiring Dancers Learn to Tap Their Toes to Broadway Show Numbers – WSJ.

Wish Upon a Star – Becoming a Disney Princess

Every girl has dreamt of becoming a Disney princess. Yet, magical childhood dreams of becoming Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, or Snow White can come true…well, sort of. You can audition to become a “princess” at the wonderful world(s) of Disney (Disneyland, Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Paris, and Tokyo Disney).

E-how.com – How to become a Disney Princess:

  1. Check Disney’s pre-audition requirements to see if you qualify. Women must be age 16 or over, authorized to work in the United States, and stand between 5 foot 3 and 5 foot 7 inches tall. Performers in the Walt Disney World College Program cast members and anyone already playing a character are not eligible to audition.
  2. Watch the Disney films with princesses and note the appearance, mannerisms and voice of any princess you’d like to portray. Walt Disney World has roles for Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Tiana, Pocahontas and Mulan.
  3. Check the audition calendar on Disney’s official website. Auditions are held regularly but not at any established time. Princess auditions are listed under either “Disney Princess Look-Alikes” or “Character Look-Alikes.”
  • A background in theatre or acting is preferred, since cast members must convincingly portray their princess not only in appearance, but also in manner and voice.
  • Arrive early to the audition with resume and head shot. Disney recommends all princess candidates dress comfortably for the audition. Disney may ask all of the hopefuls to learn a short movement routine as part of the audition process.
Sadly, unless Disney comes out with a new extremely tall, pale, and freckle-faced princess, my only chance of becoming a princess is to marry Prince Harry…
But to all of you who do meet the requirements, be sure to check out www.disneyauditions.com!

Justin Bieber “Believe Tour” Auditions

Unless you live under a rock, your Facebook Timeline has probably been abuzz with dancer-friends uploading their submission videos for Justin Bieber’s #believetourauditions.  That’s right – “the Biebs” is looking for one more (lucky!) dancer to join his “Believe Tour” which will hit the road this September.

Hundreds of hopeful fans have uploaded clips of their best moves, hoping to win the ultimate prize: a live audition for Justin Bieber and (hopefully) a back-up dancing gig!  Submissions began August 3rd and included live auditions in Los Angeles.  But Jon M. Chu, Bieber’s tour director, notes the importance of online auditions: “Justin also has such a huge online component, that’s where he was discovered.”

“We’re only looking for the best dancers in the world…[W]e want to take it to a whole other level,” choreographer Nick DeMoura added in a video posted with Chu on D-Studio about the tour. “It’s gonna be like an epic journey.”

Bieber’s director and choreographer suggested that aspiring dancers look to Michael Jackson for some inspiration, since Justin has been looking to incorporate “the King of Pop’s” movement, magic, and even pyro into the tour.  Look for Michael Jackson influences as you check out these incredible #believetourauditions submissions from our extremely talented BDC students.

[Quotes excerpted from Jocelyn Vena’s MTV.com article 8/3/12]

Student Profile: Stephanie Brooks – Apassionata

Not Your Typical Tour
Apassionata, Dance Captain, Stephanie Brooks (Professional Semester Alum.)

“APASSIONATA has been Europe’s most popular live arena shows for
nearly a decade, thrilling more than five million fans across 15 countries with a breathtaking display of the beauty and the bond between horse and rider, man’s strongest and most trusted animal.” – Apassionata.com

Audition
During my final mock audition in BDC’s professional semester, I received representation from McDonalds Selsnicks and Associates (MSA). One of the benefits of having an agent is that sometimes they have closed calls with just their clients, if their choreographer was booked for the job. When MSA sent out the breakdown for a horse show audition, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I was excited when I saw that Lorin Latarro was choreographing; I loved her choreography in The Musical Theatre Performance Project last year. The audition combination had a lot of personality, was technically challenging, and stylistic. After cuts were made, she paired us up for partnering. I was overjoyed when I received the call that I booked the job and even more so when I found out a fellow colleague of mine was going to do it with me. (Go Wildcats!!!!)

Rehearsal
We rehearsed in NYC and learned a lot of material quickly, keeping in mind that a lot would change once we actually got to the arena. Our first stop was Kentucky. Technical rehearsal consisted of long days in the dark cold arena. These rehearsals involve a lot of hurry up and wait, but I found that during the waiting is when you can learn the most if you stay engaged. It was such a privilege to watch Ken Billington (96+ Broadway Shows) do the lighting design and learn from Scott Farris (dir. “Chicago” and “Walking with Dinosaurs”) as he brought together American theater and European Equestrian riders. Lorin Latarro (Currently choreographing “Scandalous” set to hit Broadway this October) pulled from her diverse performance background and allowed us to collaborate on certain parts. It was a very artistically fulfilling process.

Overcoming Obstacles
Dancing in sand, running with flags and fire torches was strenuous on our bodies. For body maintenance, I did some form of Pilates, Yoga, and rolled out my muscles with a tennis ball. We had to be flexible and try to figure out how to adapt the choreography in the sand, and how not to spook the horses or get spooked by them. During rehearsals you could hear Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian, Icelandic, and English being bantered across the gigantic arena. After one of the first runs of the show, the horse choreographer called everyone together and our choreographer jokingly said it looked like a medieval conference. Picture 40+ horses and riders gathered together speaking different languages and four American dancers and a choreographer standing in a giant sand box. It was a surreal experience.

Stepping Up
As Dance Captain, my responsibilities were to run any extra rehearsals, communicate with the production team, maintain the artistic integrity of the choreography and spacing, make sure that the dancers safety and needs were met, and promote team unity. This production was a learning process for all of us. Most of our stage crew came from the rock concert world and we had to share with them certain theater protocols and vice versa. The communication between the tech crew, dancers and riders was extremely important, because the horses weren’t always predicable. We couldn’t depend on entering or exiting on a musical cue and it forced us to be quick on our feet, listen and watch each other. We developed physical and verbal cues and had to go with whatever happened in the moment.

Unique Atmosphere
Some of the perks of this job were that we had amazing caterers who traveled with us, we learned how to ride horses, picked up a little bit of French, Icelandic, and Portuguese, and got to work with and meet incredible people.

Unexpected Close
Due to the financial crisis in Europe, Apassionata’s USA tour came to an end early (It is still running in several countries in Europe). We were given less than 24 hours notice that we were going back to NYC and the rest of the tour was cancelled. Of course, we were sad and it’s always a little unnerving to be without a steady job, but nothing in this business is guaranteed. That’s why it’s important to save when you are doing a show, so that during the slow times you can continue to train and be ready for the next opportunity. I learned a lot from Apassionata and am looking forward to what the future holds.

Show Your Spirit – dancing for sports teams

Bianca Argyros (ISVP ’11)

What team do you dance for?

I dance for the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Why did you decide to audition?

I decided to audition because I wanted to expand my training (as this is more cheeleading) and to gain extra technique.

What was the audition like?

The audition was great, really professional.  We had a dance audition featuring centre work and corner work and then we had an interview.

What is your favorite part about performing for a sports team?

My favorite part about being on the squad is performing at the games, there’s nothing I love better than performing. Also the charity work is great – giving back to the community means so much to me and i feel fantastic afterwards and encourage other to do so too.

Kimberly Hamilton (Professional Semester F’11)

What team do you dance for?

I dance for the Tampa Bay Rain ABA Basketball team.

Why did you decide to audition?

I auditioned because I was looking for a good starting point for a team dance and I knew a few of the girls trying out.

What was the audition like?

The audition process took a few weeks.  We had a 3 hour audition, then some girls were cut and we had 5 training camp sessions after that.  We learned routines and ran practice like usual and performed them in front of a second set of judges.  We were also weighed, measured, and given personal goals before we are allowed to perform.

What is your favorite part about performing for a sports team?

I love dancing with a sports team because of all the energy in the gym.  It’s always so much fun even when you’re not dancing. I’ve been on some type of dance team most of my life – having that group and support system is such a great experience!

Agency Auditions

Hear about two of BDC’s Professional Semester Alumni who recently signed with two of the top talent agencies in New York City.  Congratulations, Nikki and Matt!  We’re so proud of you!


Nikki Croker – MSA Agency

Why did you choose to go to the audition?

I chose to go to the MSA open call because it has been the agency that I’ve been looking to sign with since moving to New York. They have a lot of really skilled, talented performers and choreographers signed with them, including some of  my favourite choreographers – Al Blackstone, Josh Bergasse, Derek Mitchell, and Maria Torres. 

How did you prepare for the audition?

I trained really hard all last year taking classes in a variety of styles including Ballet, Theatre, Tap, Hip Hop, Latin Jazz, Gymnastics, Voice and Acting. I completed the Fall Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center in which we completed 12 classes a week and had helpful seminars regarding headshots and resumes, nutrition, and mock auditions for all different styles. I received a vast amount feedback from this semester that helped me grow tremendously! 

What was the audition environment like?

The audition was at Pearl Studios. There were hundreds of people!  We lined up to get our numbers and you could either audition for ‘commercial’ or ‘theatre’. I decided to audition for both so I was there from about 11am-6.30pm. We learned each combination in about 15 minutes and then performed it in small groups of 5. For the theatre audition we also had to sing a 16 bar cut. 

How did you feel the audition went?

I felt good about the audition –  I had met Lucille at Josh Bergasse’s Music Theatre Summer Program and also at a Professional Semester mock audition, which eased my nerves a little. I had prepared the best way I could before the audition and knew that I gave my best, no matter the outcome.

When did you receive the call?

 I received the call about 10 days later. I was puppy-sitting at the time and I was playing with the dog Captain when my phone started ringing. I don’t think I’ll forget the day – I was so excited!

Matt Tremblay – Bloc/NYC Agency

Why did you choose to go to the audition?

I chose to go to the audition for the experience. Auditions are a perfect learning atmosphere to figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward.

How did you prepare for the audition?

I did my research on which choreographers the agency represents because I knew some of them would be teaching the audition combinations. I was sure to hit the gym and take class a lot prior to the audition.  I also did a lot of positive-thinking and reflecting to be mentally ready.

What was the audition environment like?

The studios were packed with dancers! We were typed cast right away.  I felt like it was quite competitive in there until we got to the last few cuts; After a long day, the atmosphere became more supportive.

How did you feel the audition went?

I felt extremly hyped and full of energy all day. As the day went by and I was asked to stay, I surprisingly become more relaxed! This completely shoked me, but I realized that it was just a matter of giving everything I have and hoping for the best.

When did you receive the call?

I was informed 5 days later, Friday at 5:30pm.  I remember the entire conversation!  That was the longest 5 days of my life!  I was so happy and I couldn’t believe it at first. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t a dream until I signed my contract and I heard “Welcome to Bloc.”

Industry Insider: Succeeding as a Professional Dancer

On Friday, April 20th, Broadway Dance Center hosted Industry Insider: Succeeding as a Professional Dancer.  The Industry Insider offers a behind-the-scenes look at “the business.”  From Broadway Shows, to Concert Dance, to Music Videos, to Film, this ongoing series covers a wide range of events and gives dancers the chance to delve deeper into the ever-expanding entertainment industry.

In conjunction with National Dance Week, Broadway Dance Center and Bloc Talent Agency have brought together a panel of experts, including Bloc NYC agents Jim Daly and Fatima Wilson as well as professional dancers Shernita Anderson (Kanye West, Jill Scott), Autavia Bailey (J. Lo, Lady Gaga, Beyonce), Tyrone Jackson (“Memphis,” “Smash”), and Alex Wong (ABT, SYTYCD, “Newsies”).

BDC students crammed into the 8th floor annex to ask questions about how to succeed as a professional dancer – not just in New York, but in LA and around the globe! Here’s what the esteemed panel had to say:

“I was primarily a musical theater dancer.  When I wanted to branch out into the commercial side, I couldn’t decide between moving to New York or Los Angeles.  My friend helped me out.  He wrote ‘NY’ on one piece of paper and ‘LA’ on another.  Then he turned off the lights and threw the papers in the air.  I had to search for one in the dark…and it was LA!” – Tyrone Jackson

“Get your ‘look’ together.  You have to look the part in order to get the part.  You are a product – you have to market yourself.” – Autavia Bailey

“If you want to be a serious dancer, you have to take ballet.” – Alex Wong

“From my performing arts high school, I got the impression that I had to be a ballerina or I was nothing – but I’ve learned that’s anything but true.” – Shernita Anderson

“Go to ALL auditions, even if you’re not the ‘type’ they’re looking for.  Casting directors will see you and call you for other jobs that you do fit.” – Tyrone Jackson

“Your word is important.  When I made it through SYTYCD, I had already signed a year-long contract with Miami City Ballet.  I honored that contract and auditioned for SYTYCD the following year.  You have to realize that the dance world is so small, and your reputation is really important.” – Alex Wong

“Back then, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Debbie Allen did it all [dancing, singing, and acting]…so they did it all!  The same goes for today.  Invest in yourself [voice lessons, dance classes, acting workshops, etc.].” – Shernita Anderson

“Own who you are.  I am an African-American male.  I could go in for hip-hop calls, but I would be acting.  I’m an all-American black male – that’s my true ‘type.’  So that’s how I market myself.” – Tyrone Jackson

“Look at Backstage Magazine, Playbill.com, and Actor’s Equity.  Read the articles, watch the videos, learn as much as you can.  Be a knowledgeable dancer and do your research.” – Jim Daly

“The dance industry is 90% business and 10% talent.  Don’t just take class.  Know the business.  Educate yourself.  Be marketable.  Network.  And girls, always have your heels!” – Fatima Wilson

How to I get an agent?

  • Go to open agency calls.
  • Through recommendations from that agency’s dancers and choreographers.
  • If an agent is coming to support his/her agency’s dancer in a show, shoot the agent an e-mail so they’ll look out for you.
  • Hustle!  If you’re consistently booking jobs and networking, agents will keep hearing your name and approach you.