As I near the end of my audition photo season and you all start auditions in earnest, I wanted to take a moment to talk about something that we see here in my photography studio often. Take this audition tip to heart in the next few months, it will help you a lot.
Inevitably, during a dance audition photo shoot, we get to working on a particular movement or pose, and once we have it technically, we want to start working on the projection and the energy that you are want to show your audience. The way you want to use your whole body – your whole self – to communicate through dance. This is super helpful for most dancers because you can see on the screen immediate feedback to determine whether you were effective or not.
Dancer: Emma Harris, Photo Rachel Neville
Usually, we need even more energy or expression to come through so we push it until we get it. Occasionally, though, we find that we are seeing too much, or that the facial expression doesn’t match what the dancer wants to communicate.
You would be surprised at how often what a dancer thinks is coming through on her face is not. Or how it reads quite differently than expected!
Dancer: Laura Anne Wallace, Photo Rachel Neville
More and more, I find myself reminding dancers to practice facial expressions in front of a mirror. Yes, it makes you feel a little silly in the moment. Yes, it’s worth it to get over it!
This is how the high fashion models who make really good money with their faces have honed their craft.
Tips for Improving Your Facial Expression and Communication in Dance Audition Photos
Look for the differences in your smiles
When I shoot headshots we test this out so that we know where we want your expressions to land
Determine what you look like with different emotions and feelings coming through
Practice a variety of expressions and monitor yourself in the mirror
Take this knowledge to class
Consider attending a class below your level and focus fully on your face for the duration of the class.
Practice different facial expressions
Continue the exercise of working on your facial expressions and improving your awareness of your energy and how you communicate it.