Running on Fumes

With holidays and the end of the year fast approaching, audition season will soon be upon us, and it’s easy for us to neglect our bodies and minds. Many are in Nutcracker mode and will jump straight into auditions, often traveling all over and carrying stress and lack of sleep as extra baggage.

It’s easy for dancers to run on nothing but fumes. We’re trained to maintain our focus and conserve energy to manage rehearsals, performances, and the high physical demand of the profession. When it comes to audition season, it’s second nature for us to adopt a similar mentality.

But dancers are only human, so here are a few things to keep in mind for your auditions this year:

Stay warm

  • Auditions, especially if an open call, often consist of long waiting periods and little space to stretch and properly warm up. If you’re lucky enough to get in a class right before the audition, take advantage of the time to focus on properly warming up. Regardless, don’t shirk the responsibility you have to your body. It isn’t worth the risk of injury, and you’ll probably work out some of the kinks and lingering nervous energy.
  • Take a few minutes to roll out, stretch, and condition your body even after an audition.
  • Check out this quick but effective exercise duo courtesy of Tanya Tombly of Bulletproof Ballerina (@bulletproof_ballerina) to warm up your hips in a pinch.

Get Sleep

  • Stress + travel create the perfect storm for poor sleep and a weak immune system. Even if you aren’t traveling all over to dance and be seen, the pressure you may feel is enough to take a hit on your health. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Take the opportunity for a short nap if time allows, and make rest a priority.
  • You might also consider drinking chamomile tea before bed to soothe your muscles and even help digestion. Additionally, magnesium, calcium, and B6-rich foods get converted into melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep.


  • Your hours might vary, nerves might disrupt digestion, and not everything meal-prepped can travel. Just like sleep, try to maintain a consistent eating schedule and regimen that works for you. Nutrition is an individual practice. Don’t rely on what others do to get you through.
  • Consider increasing your protein intake for the boost it provides in strength and immunity.
  • Stay hydrated!
  • If you are in need of more in-depth nutritional guidance, feel free to shoot us an email or reach out through social media, and we can refer you to external resources who are professionals in the field.

Be mindful

  • Staying positive, realistic, and rational is an individual practice. Identify what calms you and keeps you focused.
  • Seek out support from someone who understands what you are going through and can be a listening ear and a source of stability. Understand that it’s okay to be vulnerable and affected by stress. A support system is crucial for keeping everything in perspective.
  • The key is finding your source of optimism with ways to stay on track with your goals before, throughout, and after auditions are over.
  • Recognize how you react to high stress situations and how to handle the nerves, no matter how they might manifest.
  • Be on the lookout for the newest addition to our video series all about preparing for auditions!

Be prepared

  • Have a sewing kit on hand
  • Choose 2-3 leotards that make you look and feel good. Always have options.
  • Have extra tights, hairspray, bobby pins, tape, etc.
  • Bring multiple pairs of any type of shoe you might be expected to wear during the audition. Make sure they are sewn, broken in, and ready to go.
  • Make a habit of keeping extra copies of your resume, headshots, and full body shots on hand

I think it’s important to stay open-minded and willing to challenge yourself. You want to feel and perform with confidence. All of this starts with making sure your body and mind feel revved and ready to go.

We are our instrument, so in order to succeed, we need to treat our bodies and minds with respect and care. Though the above might sound like a broken record, this time of year is a great opportunity for a gentle reminder to be thoughtful as artists. If you do this, you will gear yourself up for a successful audition season!


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