Tryout requirements may vary between teams. The following tips are meant to be a general guideline only. For best results, you should contact the director of the team you are auditioning for in advance and get the specific requirements for that particular team. Requirements for line tryouts may include previous dance or drill team experience, passing the "hat test" (being able to kick the rim of your hat with proper form), good posture, weight limitations, grades and relocation among other qualifications. Be sure to also find out about the time span of the tryouts. Is it two weeks or two days? Are there any special events you should be aware of during the tryouts like model night or a tea? If so, what would be the appropriate dress? This list will grow as others submit their input, so check back often for the latest updates. Don't miss our Dance Studios & Prep Classes category in our Directory of Spirit Shopping for national listings of Studios and specialists that offer prep classes for dance and drill team. You may also benefit from our Dance Drill Technique section, coming soon.
Please be sure to email us if you have any input and articles to add to the Spirit Library. We look forward to hearing from you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: dTe does not condone the use by teams of weight limits or other requirements which place emphasis on appearance as well as talent. However the sad reality is that such teams and requirements do exist, and dancers are still interested in auditioning for these teams, so the topic is still addressed here for those needing advice in those areas. We apologize if this offends anyone, but we are here to address the needs of everyone and not just a certain segment of the population.
Always remember, knowledge is power! For best results, educate yourself on the team you are trying out for. Know their requirements, their tryout curricula, their dance style, any difficult moves you should be learning, their costs, any orientation activities, grade requirements, weight limits, etc. so that you can prepare accordingly.
Look sharp! Find out any requirements for dress so that you come equipped with the appropriate attire. Do they wear leotards? Shorts and tees? Tights or socks? Any particular colors? Some college teams have special events like teas and model night. Find out the appropriate dress for these events and DON"T try to make a fashion statement!!! Stick with simple classic flattering styles and basic solid colors like black or navy or dark gray unless they specify specific colors. This includes your shoes. Try not to wear colorful tennis shoes or wear bulky jogging shoes which don't look nice when you are trying to gracefully point your toes. Don't wait to plan your wardrobe the night before tryouts!!! Lay your outfits out a few weeks before and try them on to make sure that they look nice together from head to toe. Make sure you can stretch, kick and bend comfortably in them. They should be clean, neat, wrinkle-free and free of any damages or stains. ALWAYS wear proper undergarments or sportbra and NEVER wear inappropriate clothing like cutoffs or halters.
Hair should be neat and pulled away from your face fastened securely with a simple hair-tie. Jerk your head around to make sure it won't fall down. Wear no jewelry and keep hair accessories simple (preferably the color of your hair). Don't ever chew gum.
Makeup should be minimal and natural looking. If you wear foundation, make sure it matches your skin tone perfectly. If your makeup is too heavy in any way, it will look really tacky if it starts streaking when you break a sweat. Some drill teams require that you wear no makeup for tryouts, so be sure to check on the policies.
Practice having good posture when you stand, walk, sit and kneel. Hold your head up, stomach in, shoulders slightly back but not stiff, relax your rib cage, and most important, relax and look natural. Try walking with a book on your head. This may take some practice, so watch yourself in front of a mirror and ask a friend or relative to critique you.
Eat nutritiously and bear in mind that many teams require that your weight be in proportion with your height.
Start a rigid "training program" a few months in advance in order to be physically prepared for tryouts. Concentrate on the required dance, performance, kick or acrobatic skills that are required by the team your are auditioning for. Do aerobic, flexibility and strength training to build your stamina and conditioning in order to be able to execute the more physically demanding tasks like high kicks and leaps with apparent ease.
Seek out a mentor from the team you are trying out for. Most people would be honored and flattered that you are asking for their help. Try learning an old routine or at least some dance moves of theirs so that you can get a sense of their style and moves. If you can't get a mentor, then try to attend their performances and take note of what you need to work on. Do they concentrate more on kicks? On complicated dance moves and leaps? What types of entrances and exits do they use? What type of music do they perform to?
If you are requi and how good you feel about yourself to help avert nervousness.
Don't ever lose your "professionalism" by stopping to fix your hair, scratch an itch or smile at a friend in the audience.
If you make a mistake, don't panic and stiffen up. Show your leadership abilities by handling any mistakes graciously and with confidence. Use your best judgment and think quickly. If you get offbeat, jump back in right away. Then show 'em what you got and charm them to death!
Never say you "can't" do something. Never cut yourself down or say you won't make it. Coaches and judges don't like negative attitudes and this is no place for low self-esteem.
When performing with others, keep in mind that precision and teamwork are important factors in dance drill. Movements should be clean, sharp, strong and on count. Don't try to outperform your linemembers. Concentrate on executing the routine with grace, poise, style, showmanship, skill and proper technique, yet not standing out from the team.
When performing in a kickline, do not pull on the shoulders of those next to you. If you feel the need to pull, then you need to work more on building your stamina and flexibility. To improve your kick technique, Leslie's Best sells an illustrated booklet called Kick the Hat Test.
Perform as if you are at a game or competition, concentrating on your best showmanship, poise, technique and execution. Enjoy yourself and SPARKLE!
College teams' dance styles vary. If you are used to executing sharp poppy movements in high school, and the college you are considering has more of a smooth flowing style, then be sure to practice that new style so that you feel comfortable with it. Concentrate on precision and reaching your positions on count when learning a smoother dance style. Most likely a college team will have more difficult leaps and dance moves, so be sure to prepare yourself accordingly.
Tips Courtesy of Leslie's Best Dance Drill Services. Visit her Listing in the Consultants & Specialists and Dance Studios & Prep Classes categories of the Directory of Spirit Shopping.
Officers Tryouts & Directors' Tips
Check back soon for the upcoming officer tryout tips. Meanwhile be sure to read the interview guidelines article which is sure to benefit officer candidates and directors alike.
Click here to read The Interview: Guidelines for Judging Team Leaders
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