Casserly Corner: Be Confident in Your Placement Audition
As the winter winds started blowing, we sat down with Jane Casserly McMonagle, Lundstrum’s Director of Dance. She offered us a peek behind the curtain of Lundstrum’s placement auditions and gave us advice on presenting your best self.
“The audition process tells us a lot about the individual,” Jane said, “here at Lundstrum we want to match students with the class where they can thrive." Placement auditions, Jane explains, are about more than a student’s technical skill. “It tells us about their ability and their skill level and also about their learning style. Are they spontaneous? How well do they focus? Are they creative? "
Lundstrum holds placement auditions to help students find the right class where they can thrive.
No one can train to be their best in an environment far above or below their skill level.
Lundstrum works to make these auditions as nonthreatening as possible. Jane wants new students to know it’s not about judging whether they’re good or bad, but placing them in a class where they can grow comfortably. No one can train to be their best in an environment far above or below their skill level. The audition is also a chance for students to experience Lundstrum’s studios and how it feels to be on-site.
After registering online, students are called in for a placement audition and, depending on the class, may be asked to sing, dance and read.
“Ideally for an audition, you want to have a song that you’re familiar with. You want to have a monologue that’s second nature,” Jane said, “If you're a dancer, you'll want to bring your entire dance bag. You never know what the choreographer is going to ask for.”
While these are standard expectations for any audition, Jane reassured that beginning students shouldn't worry. The Casserly sisters enjoy working with and auditioning students with no prior experience.
“We are prepared to help you,” Jane said, “If you’ve never had a cold reading as part of an audition, we will assist you and give you a script. Generally, it’s a monologue.”
Jane also shared what happens once students leave the room after their audition.
“Usually, we have two instructors in the audition: a choreographer and a vocal instructor. While each of us have different perspectives based on our area of expertise, we generally agree on placement.” The discussion involves not only the person’s skill, but also their age and temperament. The sisters discuss what kind of class environment is best for each student.
“There are some people who say 'I don’t care if I’m in a class with seven-year-olds, I just want a beginning ballet class,' but we generally want the best fit in an ensemble situation, where students can both support and challenge one another,” Jane said.
Be confident. Come in with a smile one your face.
When it comes to putting your best foot forward, Jane’s advice is simple: Be confident. Come in with a smile on your face.
She closed with, “Be willing to learn. Have a spirit that is willing to try something new. Those are the students we see rise to the top.”