How to get into your College Dance Dream Team- Preps, Tips and more

by Danielle Hernandez on September 27, 2018

Making it to your college dance Dream team could be your first step to having the best four years of your life. Go ahead and embrace it!

You were a star at high school dance team, or you were just an onlooker waiting for your turn. But now as you gear up for your dream college, you want to give a shot to be on college dance team. You want to give everything you have got to make it to the elite club of college dancers.

Let's Understand what Happens at College  

At college, many programs ask dance team aspirants to showcase their skills and style. There could be many different teams with their own set of requirements.

Let's understand what happens at college

So the first thing that happens is TRYOUTS 

Each year, every programmer or team will schedule a tryout. Usually held in spring. But some teams may hold pre-tryout prep classes or dance clinics to help you get ready for an upcoming audition. Keep an eye out for notices in this regard which should start appearing now.

Unlike high school, college dance team tryouts will have stiff competition. So there could be elimination rounds based on a video of your dance, submitted by you.

For college dance team tryouts, try to show a self-choreographed routine. Be prepared with at least one other backup routine on a different style of dance, just in case the selectors want to judge you based on two different routines. 

You might be asked to show specific turns, pirouettes, leaps, and jumps, and combinations across the floor to check your dancing prowess. Remember to carry your just in case.

After tryouts, comes the training and hard work – You will be required to attend college camps. Dancing on the sidelines and halftimes of football and basketball games are some of the most important parts of being on the college dance team. The trainers will also focus on training you to be interactive with the crowd, continue the college traditions. 

At these camps, you will also come face to face with talent from all over the country. The skill levels of the dancers at these camps are usually exceptional, and you will have significant exposure to different collegiate programs, their training practices and a lot more. 

Tryouts are also often followed by practice sessions. Unlike “after school” practices in high school, college dance teams will have different practice sessions to suit every team mate’s class schedule. If your team has to participate in a national competition, consider two-a-day practices a given, apart from conditioning practices, even weekend and holiday practices. 

Performances - In college, you will most likely have a specific spot in the stands to dance with your team. You will dance at halftimes or time-outs of games; you may also dance with the band at halftime of football games and basketball games. Compared to high school dances, there will be a much bigger crowd, and chances are, portions of your routines are also being televised. 

Dancing for college dance team is more of a responsibility and duty- like a job. It could get stressful, as many coaches will also require team members to obtain a certain grade point average to stay on the team, and skipping class will not be an option. You will have to be more responsible and organized yourself, no matter the hectic nature of your schedule. 

Now that you have an idea about the process let's figure out what it takes to make it to the coveted college dance team. 

How to get Selected on College Dance Team

How to get selected on college dance team

It's not really about the dance - Surprised? Don’t be! Seasoned high school dancers would like to give sky-high extensions and picture-perfect pirouettes. But that is not going to be enough- you will be judged on all fronts- technique class, improvisation, solo performances, and personal interviews. Your selectors would look for mature, committed dancers, who can align themselves with the program. 

  • On technique class- you will be judged by your confidence levels, your ability to connect with the audience, adapt to sudden changes, ability to use spiral and twist, precise transitions, and a sense of rhythm.
  • Improvisation is another aspect that you will be judged on, you should be able to apply corrections quickly and move on to show how much you enjoy dancing.
  • If you are asked to perform solo- you may be asked to perform in front of all applicants or with only the selectors present. It is your best chance to showcase your strengths. Remember, triple pirouettes is not necessary, but focus on showing your best.
  • Though practice and adequate rehearsals are mandatory, try to go beyond steps and technique and demonstrate your personality and maturity as a dancer.
  • You could also be asked to appear for interviews- where you might be asked to speak about dance or your relationship with dancing. This is another way of judging the personality of a dancer.
  • Carrying a portfolio of your photos could be a useful accessory during interviews. A photo showing you on pointe in the first arabesque speaks a thousand words for you.

So all you college dance team aspirants- its not only about the dance, and always standing in the back row at an audition is not going to work for you. You have to break the mold and not hesitate in letting your personality shine through. 

How should you Prepare for getting Selected 

How should you prepare for getting selected

Focus on your strengths - you are not a trickster performing at a circus. Focus on techniques you are 100% sure of. Don't do something you have just learned or not practiced enough. Play upon your strengths. Show off what you do best and what you can bring to the team

Choreograph well - You dance should be adaptable to all styles of music selections. Remember that what you are dancing should not be restricted to one particular dance form, you may be asked to perform on something else, so make sure you are prepared for impromptu performances on a few different songs. 

Focus on being YOU - Let your inner light shine through while auditions. You are not just there to show a complication of techniques – dancing is all about emoting, and you can't think of getting selected if you are looking like everyone else. Focus on balancing your skills and your techniques as a dancer. Retain your originality, find your space and then go on to conquer it!  

Rehearse and practice - Plan everything to the T. Will you dance in the center of the floor or run on? Where is the exit? If a step looks like it's not going to work, change it to suit the stage. Do a dress rehearsal to avoid last minute tear-ups, snags or malfunctions. Remember, you should feel confident and comfortable in what you wear. So focus on what you wear and give it a good run through before the D-Day!

Plan - Check out the team's skill requirements, find out about other important details like fees, weight limits, and audition day's event schedule so you could prepare yourself well. Speak to other members or watch old dance videos of the team you are auditioning for, if possible. Understand what their core focus is and plan well. 

Take classes at a studio - Now is the time to take those dance lessons. Many of these professional dancers would also be able to share how they made it to their college dance teams, and what you need to do. Focus on learning the styles that will best help you in your tryouts. While Jazz enables you to boost your precision and technique, ballet helps you in balancing and poise. Brushing up your skills at a professional studio is your best bet for making it to the dance team of your dreams. 

Get fit and healthy - Set a workout plan at least a few weeks before tryouts. Skills are essential, but so is stamina and flexibility. A combination of cardio balanced with stretching or yoga can help immensely. Watch what you eat as well. Getting into college must be a sure shot way of going to endless parties, late night outings, and fun, but this could drastically reduce your prospects of being fighting fit for the tryouts. Focus on eating a balanced diet, and take your protein intake seriously. Keep yourself hydrated and take a restful sleep. 

Remember and follow the dress code - Unless specified by the team, wear comfortable, stylish clothes for your dance tryouts. Make sure what you wear goes well with the dance style you wish to perform. For instance, try this Bloch Side Tie Singlet Tank Top-Youth along with this Gradient Style Legging. You want to create a lasting first impression, make sure you make one. If the team has a dress code, follow it precisely to get noticed. Pay attention to your hair and makeup too, its a known fact that the better you look, the better you’ll feel. 

Dance is the best way to make a grand entry into your college freshman year. If you are passionate about dancing, make sure you don't miss out on your chance to let your uniqueness shine through. Making it to your college dance Dream team could be your first step to having the best four years of your life. Go ahead and embrace it! 



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