BDC’s Professional Semester audition tour starts in New York this week

Professional Semester is a unique program that offers technical training, as well as professional skills and powerful networking and performance opportunities, for advanced dancers, aged 18 to 27, who are almost ready to launch their professional career.

“The number one thing we are looking for is the right talent level and maturity level,” says April Cook, BDC faculty and director of public relations. “We are trying to bridge that gap. We find that a lot of people have the talent, but they are not as aware of how to be their own brand and how to represent themselves. We want to make sure we polish them and open the door for them to network with the right people so they can get jobs – so we can make employed dancers when they walk out.”

Jim Cooney

Auditions will be held in Orlando, FL; Charlotte and Greenville, NC; and Columbus, OH, from January 6. The auditions are free, and those selected will receive guaranteed acceptance to the course (fall 2019 or spring 2020) and a waiver of the application fee. 

Jim Cooney, BDC faculty and Educational Programs faculty advisor, will be running the auditions alongside Cook. Here, Cooney tells us more about Professional Semester and what to expect from the auditions.

What is unique about BDC’s Professional Semester Program?

“Most programs focus solely on the technique, artistry and craft of dance. While our students do take 12 classes from our open class schedule, and work with an advisor on their training goals, we spend an equal amount of time on the professional tools needed to have a sustainable career in dance. That includes how to best audition, how to work with an agent and negotiate contracts, what expected etiquette will be during rehearsals, how to manage their finances, and how to market themselves. Each student graduates with a website, a dance reel and tools for their social media. In addition, we give them constant opportunities to meet and network with agents, casting directors and choreographers, and the semester culminates with an industry showcase where many of our dancers get signed by agents.”

When dancers graduate from Professional Semester they feel…

“Empowered and ready to launch their careers.”

Why do you enjoy being on faculty for Professional Semester?

“There’s nothing better than watching these students go on to make their Broadway debut, dance for the top pop artists, and/or land a spot in the dance company of their dreams. It’s so rewarding!”

How can dancers stand out at the audition?

“First of all, just be happy to be there! We know you’re nervous, but those dancers who can still enjoy the experience are the ones who really draw us in. Second, dress for success. Make sure you look your best and that you’re presenting the most professional version of yourself. Finally, have confidence. You’ve worked hard to get where you are; be proud of that. Shine the strengths you have. If you don’t believe in yourself, it will be very difficult for you to get others to believe in you.” 

For more information, dates and locations head to:

Expect a multi-disciplinary audition, including ballet and jazz/theater. The NYC audition will include hip hop and tap. There’s no need to prepare a solo, as all audition material will be taught on-site. But do make sure to bring a headshot and résumé. 

By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.

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