The Rock School Audition

Just over a week ago I auditioned for the Rock School for Dance Education and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

The Rock School audition tag

You might be wondering why I chose to audition at the Rock School. I decided to audition there after my friend Siobhan (in the image below) told me about her Rock School summer intensive experience and made an offer for me to come to one of their auditions with her. It may not sound like being offered to go with her was a big deal, but it was. One of the annoying parts of auditioning for the Rock School is that they don’t vary in audition sites very much, so to be presented with a way to get to one was great.

After deciding to go to the audition with my friend, I prepared. I had to take three audition photos, the usual arabesque and headshot along with a picture in second. The extra picture isn’t a nuisance unless you hire a professional photographer that charges per photo. Once photos were taken, I pre-registered for the Rock School audition in Chicago. There pre-registration process is very easy and one thing I really liked about it was that it was up for a very long time before the audition.

I chose to audition in Chicago because it would be the easiest to make happen. I was lucky to have a brother to stay with and a very affordable plane ticket. The audition in Chicago was held at Ballet Chicago. The location was beautiful. The studios were on the nineteenth story and had big windows looking out over the city. It was a very nice place to audition.

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View overlooking clouds

Now the audition itself. I arrived at Ballet Chicago about an hour before the audition and registration hadn’t started. All the studios were open for us to warm up and stretch in. About a half hour before the audition registration was open. I got my tag and went into the audition ten minutes later.

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Siobhan and I after the audition in Ballet Chicago’s nice dressing rooms.

The audition began. It was taught by Jody Anderson, a ballet master for the Rock School. The audition was going at a nice pace and to my surprise not overflowing with people. Whether or not the Rock School had anything to do with that I don’t know, but it is nice to be an audition where you don’t feel suffocated by other dancers. As the audition went on Ms. Anderson was very kind. She gave combinations just at the right level for the varying age group. Throughout the whole audition I felt comfortable, which is not typical. I really appreciate that Ms. Anderson treated it as class by giving us corrections and telling us not to stress. When the audition was through Ms. Anderson was sure to make us all feel at ease before giving us our results. That was definitely a highlight of the Rock School audition, that they give your results and placement at the end of the audition. Overall it was a great audition experience, even if you don’t want to attend the Rock School for year round or summer training, I highly recommend you audition there if you want audition practice.

Summer Intensive Reality

          Summer intensives, one of the most exciting things to do as a young dancer. You get to experience new schools, teachers, styles, choreography, and cities. It is a great way to make new connections in the world of ballet and is a priceless experience you will cherish even after you have finished dancing. In honor of auditions for the tremendous programs beginning I thought it would be only right to talk about theses programs in a more honest tone. While I most definitely agree with what was said at the beginning of this post, there is so much more to summer intensives that are not discussed. Let’s start with the obvious, pressure. There is immense pressure to go to these programs, especially if you want to dance professionally. With ballet becoming increasingly more competitive it is seen that attending summer programs is a must. It is true that you should continue to train in the summer, so you don’t lose what you have worked so hard to achieve, but are big name programs essential. I know from my own personal experience that it feels as if you’re even less likely to make it as a dancer if you don’t attend one of these programs. That just isn’t right. As a young teenager, no one should feel as if they need to attend a program once a year because their future depends on it.

          The second reason why summer intensives are just plain stressful, cost. The cost of these programs is overwhelming. It gives me anxiety to think that for me to attend one of the smaller lesser known intensives it would still cost up to over a thousand dollars to have decent summer training. Yes, scholarships are offered, but that only covers tuition and not the most expensive aspect, room and board. Scholarships are also very scarce making it not even a factor for dancers like me. I work my butt off to be where I am as a dancer and I do well, but I know that I am not the best and I know it is unlikely I will receive a scholarship. Whether scholarships are based off of merit or financial aid, it is unlikely you will receive one that can help you out the way you may need. In addition there are an abundance of other expenses. You must pay for pointe shoes, audition fees, travel, and activity fees for whatever intensive you choose. Some may wonder why you don’t just get a job to pay for it, but that is just near impossible. As ballet dancers, we spend all of our time dancing and have no time to work. The stress of money is extreme unless you are very wealthy or one of the lucky few that get a scholarship.

         Don’t get me wrong I love summer intensives. Some of my most cherished ballet memories have happened at summer intensives. They have provided me with new views and appreciations for the art form. It has been at summer intensives, that I have had ah-ha moments about my ballet career. I just want people that can’t go and feel like they are the only ones, to know that they aren’t. This year I will probably do a very small program because I just can’t afford to go to a bigger program this year. That isn’t the ideal situation, but that is real life because not all of us are the next Dusty Button or can afford it. So if you feel defeated or frustrated about summer intensives this year, for any reason, know that you are in the majority and there are other people going through it too despite what you see on media. Keep working and giving your best effort because that is what will really help you succeed.


This is not a bash on summer intensives, just an honest perspective on them. If you can go to one this summer, congratulations and have fun!