SF Ballet School Auditions: Five Expert Tips For Success


Auditioning for a ballet company can make even some of the most seasoned dancers nervous, so we asked the SF Ballet School’s Associate Director Patrick Armand for his top five audition tips, see below. Good luck!

Patrick Armand, San Francisco Ballet School Associate Director (© Chris Hardy)

Patrick Armand (© Chris Hardy)


1. “Stay relaxed.”
We know it’s hard, but you’ll perform at your best ability if you’re calm and collected. Breathe!


2. “Wear something you feel good in—but keep it simple and clean.”
That means no accessories and keep patterns and logo wear to a minimum. You don’t want a big necklace or wild print to distract from your dancing. Also, choose dance wear that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

School students


3. “Give yourself a good warm-up before the audition class.”
By taking just a little time to prepare, you’ll ensure that stiffness and cramping doesn’t get in the way of your audition.

Needs Re-Approval


4. “Be ready mentally and physically.”
And while we’re talking about preparation, get into your zone, whatever that is. If you need music to steady your nerves, bring your ipod. If you need moral support, bring a friend or family member–whatever makes you feel ready and focused.

School instruction



5. “HAVE FUN and enjoy the class!”
Dance is a joy—so don’t let your nerves stop you from just enjoying the experience!


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  1. avatar Sofia
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr.Armand,
    I am 15 years old, and have been dancing for 2 years. Before you say “Ugh, she’s no good.” please hear me out. I have improved a lot in the last two years, and think with the summer program I can improve a lot more. However, my developpes are not the best, and I do need to improve a lot. I have slightly pronated feet, am 5’6″ and weigh 126 lbs. I love ballet so much, and I dance for 20 hours a week with classical ballet for 19 hours and contemporary for one. I have confidence that I can improve, and I have plenty of passion. I know it is rare for late bloomers to reach the standards most amazing ballet companies have, but I can’t stop feeling like I can do well with proper training. I know you haven’t seen me dance, but what would your advice to me be? What are the odds of me getting accepted into the intermediate summer program? Thank you,

  2. avatar Marla
    Posted January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    My daughter has been a student of classical ballet for over ten years and has little experience in regard to the other schools of ballet training to the extent that her summer intensives have been at the Kirov and BBASI. She recently auditioned for San Francisco’s summer program and Boston’s summer program – walking out of each audition with a greater appreciation for the different methods of dance. The experience left me with a question that has been debated throughout my years of being a Classical ballet parent. When a purely Classically trained student auditions for an American ballet intensive/company, is the dancer at a disadvantage due to different training/technique? Is there room in America’s ballet companies for purely classically trained dancers? Does the instructor leading an audition class over look Russian/American training to see skill/technique/talent in the dancer? As parents of students who dream of dancing, there is an ongoing debate as to whether our dancers have a future in American ballet. I would appreciate your thoughts and insights.

  3. avatar Open Studio 455
    Posted January 25, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for asking, Marla! The curriculum at SF Ballet School first and foremost emphasizes classical ballet technique, but with attention to versatility. It ensures that students can adapt to any choreographer, any company, and any style of movement. When holding auditions for the Summer Sessions, we look for students who display clean technique, a sense of musicality, artistry, and a joy of dance. More than 50 percent of the Company members of SF Ballet, a number of whom are American, received all or part of their training at the School.

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