What to keep in your theatre dance bag

Nowadays you can see just about every style of dance on Broadway—hip-hop in HAMILTON, ballet in CAROUSEL, tap in ALADDIN, Afro-Cuban in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, disco in SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL, Fosse-style in CHICAGO, and voguing in HEAD OVER HEELS.  If there’s so much variety in musical theatre, how are you supposed to know what exactly to pack for an audition?  We’ve come up with a list of essentials so you can be fully prepared without having to lug a huge suitcase to your audition.

Shoes:  You should have at least two pairs of dance shoes in your bag for an audition (for women—character heels and ballet or jazz flats, and for men—sneakers and jazz or character shoes).  Read the entire audition breakdown and do your research about the show beforehand. If there is usually a tap number in the show, make sure to bring your tap shoes.  The same goes for pointe work.  Both those pairs of shoes can be bulky in your bag, but it’s always so awkward to have to audition without them!

Music:  If you’re asked to stay and sing, make sure you have a curated binder with several potential songs—usually 16-bars of traditional or contemporary musical theater (depending on the show you’re auditioning for). Make your “cut” easy for the accompanist to read.  If singing makes you nervous, your best bet is to sing something appropriate to the show and that makes you happy.

Headshot and resume:  Think of this as your “calling card” so that casting remembers you after you’ve auditioned.  Your headshot should look like you (i.e. not overly made up or with a different hair color or style) and your resume should be professional, clean, and up-to-date.  Be sure to include either your contact information (phone and e-mail only) or your agent’s, if you have one.

Reusable water bottle:  Stay hydrated throughout the audition day by keeping a reusable water bottle nearby.  This will save you money and many, many trips down the hall to find a water foundation. Write your name on your bottle so it doesn’t get lost.

Kneepads: Floor work is no fun when your knees get all banged up.  Men especially should always pack a thin pair of kneepads.

Toiletry bag:  Fill a tiny zippered tote or Ziplock bag with little necessities like makeup, Band-Aids, deodorant, bobby pins, and anything else you might need at a moment’s notice.

Snack:  Auditions can last for hours and you might not have time to run to grab lunch in between cuts.  Make sure you’ve packed a healthy snack or two so you can keep your energy up throughout the day.  Our favorite options are bananas, almonds, and all-natural bars like Rx, Lara, and KIND bars.

A book or iPod:  Always pack something to keep you occupied while you’re waiting to audition.  Read or listen to something relaxing to get out of your head and reduce your audition anxiety.  If you bring an iPod or cell phone for music, be sure you remember headphones and a charger, just in case!

We’d love to hear what else you keep in your audition bag.  Share them with us in the comments section below!

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