Top 10 Terrible Audition Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make!

Notes from GeNienne

The main goal and purpose of Sideline Prep is to help our “Lovelies” feel prepared,polished, and confident for pro and semi-pro cheer and dance auditions. While our programs and services help those that we work with on so many other levels… the most desired outcome is to walk into auditions with confidence and then feel great about their overall performance as they leave.

Since I have withstood 11 professional cheer auditions personally, have served as a judge for over 20 years, and am now the owner of a professional cheer “P.R.E.P.” company… I have experienced, been through, and witnessed numerous audition “fails”. Some have been recoverable… and some have been terribly horrible. However, all of them are 100% AVOIDABLE.

So in this blog post, I wanted to discuss the “Top 10 Terrible Audition Mistakes” that Pro Cheer Potentials make…and also include a FREE gift to you… An Audition Success Cheat Sheet” of how to avoid these mistakes and an Audition Success “Action Sheet” to ensure you avoid them!

But let’s discuss the “Top 10 Terrible Audition Mistakes” first…

So here’s the Top 10 List… but in no particular order. All of them are equally important and tied to one another.

1. Lack of Proper Preparation BEFORE Prep Classes & the Day of Auditions

Until you actually have been through a professional cheerleading audition, you would not really know all the work that goes into the preparation process. A lot of people walk in and think that it will be similar to their high school or college dance or cheer team audition and then quickly realize that it is definitely not the same. You have to start researching, dancing, working out, eating right, getting fit, planning, scheduling, making appointments, etc. weeks and even months before the “big” day. When in doubt, start yesterday! … or since yesterday has already passed, start NOW!

2. Not Showing Up to Pro Cheer Events, Workshops, Prep Classes, etc. BEFORE Auditions

The best way to learn about the expectations, requirements, the look, dance style, and “all of the above” is to attend dance classes, prep classes, workshops, clinics and boot camps of the team that you plan to audition for. Show your face, look your best, be present, be seen, and get noticed at these events. Make a great first impression by “showing up” and showing that you are dedicated and committed to the process. But keep in mind that this could hurt you too…. Especially if you arrive late, look a mess, perform horribly, talk too much, etc. So make sure you are your “best you” when you are in the presence of others from the cheer/dance organization. Show them why they should want you on their team!

Now just as a reminder, and I know this goes without saying, but when you arrive at these events be sure to give equal respect to everyone you meet and be friendly.You need to make sure that you are friendly, polite, and kind to everyone you come in contact with. Don’t assume that the person opening the door or the person behind the registration table is not important. Make sure that you are your “best you” and that you’re friendly to everyone. People talk. Word gets around.

3. NOT Doing Thorough Research on the Dance/Cheer Team

Research? Research? What do I need to research? Don’t I just need to perform and look my best? No… actually, there’s so much more to the process. You have to look at an audition as a job interview. Because, in actuality… it is. When you make the team, you will likely become a 1099/contractor/part-time employee of that team, in most cases. If you were applying for a new job, wouldn’t you research the company, its mission/vision, the job requirements, etc. of the company BEFORE the interview? Of course you would! (I hope.) Well, you have to do the same BEFORE pro cheer auditions too.

What should you research? Great question. I’m glad you asked. Let me count
the ways:

  • Time Commitment for the Audition Process & and Making the Team (Schedules for Practices, Games, Appearances, etc.) – Can You Meet these Commitments?
  • Workshop/Prep Class Details (Dates, time, format, location, etc.)
  • Audition Requirements (Age, Employment, Transportation, etc.)
  • Dance Style & Technique requirements
  • Application & picture submission requirements
  • “The Look” of the team, Etc. Etc. Etc.

Let me put it to you this way… as part of our Sideline P.R.E.P. virtual prep session, there’s a list of over 100 items to research!! Yes 100+!

4. NOT Taking the Application & Interview Processes Seriously

In some cases, your application is the first impression that you give to the organization, the coaches, or the judges. So you definitely want to put your best foot forward when it comes to filling out the application. Think about all of your attributes, your strengths, accomplishments, etc. and figure out a way to showcase these within the application. Take your time filling out and answering the questions on the application. Have someone review your answers before you turn it in. And if a recent photo is required, make sure you follow the instructions for
submission and be sure to submit the best picture possible. In most cases, a professional picture is NOT required, but it definitely does not hurt! Below is an example of a great picture to submit… But be sure you know what size picture it should be, what you should be wearing, if you can submit a collage, etc.

Now… if you make it to the interview round and/or have to give a brief introduction of yourself, you MUST prepare for this. For your intro, you should share interesting, fun, impressive things about yourself… things that will get you remembered (in a good way, of course), or make the judges laugh. Be humorous, be fun, be intelligent, be friendly. Same thing goes for the interview. You want to be remembered. Prepare ahead of time…. Craft responses to potential questions like, “Why do want to be a cheerleader on our team?” or “Who is your favorite player and Why?” Jot down the most impressive things about yourself, your career, your hobbies, your community outreach, your passions, etc. Then figure out how to weave some of these “highlights” into your interview question and intro speech. Dress the part, make eye contact, shake your interviewers hand, etc. All the basic interview Do’s and Don’ts of interviews apply! Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of nailing your intro speech
and interview. This is your time to tell your story, to shine and show the judges that you are intelligent, witty, and fun!

Let me underscore this a bit more… as part of our Sideline Interview virtual training, there’s a list of over 120 potential interview questions that myself and our Coaches have either been asked or have asked candidates as judges. You MUST prepare for anything that might be thrown at you!!

Collage Emily (1)

Alright… we’re half way there… let’s move to #5.

5. Being Late for Workshops, Prep Classes, Auditions, Interviews, etc.

I don’t really think that I need to explain this one. You already know being late is NOT acceptable. You MUST be on time. When I was a cheerleader for the Redskins, “on time” was 15 minutes EARLY! If you are a “pro cheer potential”
and can’t make it to events on time, what are you telling the Coaches and Directors? This is a STRONG indicator that you could be a “problem child” during the season. Punctuality, just like with any job, is imperative. Plus if you arrive early, it gives you more time to polish your look, stretch, practice your routines, and mingle.

6. NOT Having “The Look” of the Team

So what does “the look” actually mean? You basically should resemble the current ladies on the team while showing your “unique you” at the same time. You need to look as though you can stand next to a current veteran but you also
want to stand out to the judges. There is definitely a fine line here. When you attend prep classes or watch videos, try to mimic those who look confident and who are nailing the style of the dance. Find the strengths in those dancing around you and add their style to your repertoire. It’s okay to borrow… and make it your own! You also need to keep in mind that having “the look” is not just about your hair or your make up or your audition outfit or dance shoes. It’s also about your overall fitness level, “tone-ness” (that’s definitely not a word but you know what I mean!), stamina, and physique. So you need to get fit, get in shape, and get “fab.”And most importantly it’s about how you carry yourself, your poise, and your overall confidence during the audition process.

7. NOT Focusing on Dance Requirements & Style of the Team – Can’t Pick Up Choreography

In some cases, ladies fail to practice the dance style and the basic dance technique requirements of the team… especially ladies with a strong dance background.They think they can just “wing it” during the audition process. However, it is very helpful to practice the dance style of the team prior to prep classes and auditions.You can do this by attending a game (and record a few dances) or searching for dances of the team online and then simply teaching yourself the dance. There are so many resources online these days. You also need to attend as many dance
classes as you can, in general (this obviously includes pro cheer prep classes and workshops… see #2 above!) The more that you dance, the easier it will be for you to pick up the choreography during auditions.

8. Lack of Eye Contact, Smiling, & Connection with Judges while Performing

I’m not sure if it is nervousness for just a lack of knowledge, but many ladies do not make eye contact with the judges while they are performing during various rounds of the audition process. This is a HUGE mistake. During auditions you definitely want to attempt to “connect” with the judges… You can do this by making eye contact and smiling at them. If looking into their eyes will make you too nervous, look at one of their ears or the top of their head… LOL! This may seem like something kind of small, but it really does make an impression. If there are mirrors behind the judges, try really hard to NOT look at yourself in the mirror. You already know that you look fabulous… so focus on the judges instead! Perform and connect with them!

9. Concerned More with Getting the Dance Perfect Rather than Performing

I get it, I get it. We all think that if we execute the routine with no mistakes whatsoever, then we will definitely advanced to the next round. But getting the routine right is more than just about hitting the moves correctly. It’s ALSO about performing the dance, connecting with the audience, having fun, and showingthem that you can fit in the with current team. Yes, you want to execute the dance correctly. But most judges understand that you will make a mistake. So it’s just as important to recover from your mistakes quickly, jump back into the routine, and just perform your heart out. Have fun!

10. Lack of (or too Much) Confidence during the Audition Process

As I discussed in number six above, part of your overall look is the confidence that you exude during the audition process. This confidence comes out in how you walk, how you stand, how you talk, and definitely how you perform. If you ensure that you do not make the above audition mistakes and if you are properly prepared for auditions, you will walk in with CONFIDENCE. This confidence will help you preform your best and leave feeling great!! If you are still struggling in this area some, practice positive self-talk, visualization, affirmations, etc.

Now, on the flip side… over confidence can hurt you too. You don’t want to come across as cocky, conceited, or entitled. You also don’t want this confidence to make you feel like you don’t need to properly prepare for auditions. EVERYONE has something to improve!!

So… if you’re still reading this post RIGHT NOW, then you’re in a unique position to catch wind of these mistakes and uncover an approach to AVOID the mistakes before you walk into prep classes or auditions, and in doing so, increase your confidence going into auditions and also potentially claim your spot on a pro or semi-pro dance team.
Aren’t’ you excited?

So chances are that even if your “competition” already knows some of this information, you can gain a competitive advantage by developing a plan of action to avoid the “Top 10 Terrible Audition Mistakes” using the strategies that I’m about to share with you. You can take steps to be proactive with getting prepared, polished, and confident going into your big audition. But this is the KEY point… you have to take the steps to avoid these mistakes; meaning you have to TAKE ACTION!! Reading this is not enough. You must act on it!

Keep reading . . . now that you know the Top 10 Terrible Audition Mistakes, I’ve created a detailed, FREE Audition Success Cheat Sheet and Action Sheet to help you with your first (or next!) audition.

My wish for you is to sidestep the countless traps and mistakes that make most auditions epic disasters, and instead learn how to “perform like a pro”. I’ve gone through 11 successful pro cheer auditions and I’ve been helping others “go pro” for almost a decade now and I’ve seen MANY mistakes along the way. You don’t need to make the same mistakes! I created a FREE gift for you… An Audition Success Cheat Sheet” of how to avoid these mistakes and an Audition Success “Action Sheet” to ensure you avoid them!

Top 10 Tips to Put into Practice at Your Next Audition

Notes from GeNienne

I hope you are having an amazing 2016 so far!  I can’t believe it is already February.  The start of a new year means resolutions, goals, Super Bowl, Pro Bowl… and our annual Pro Cheer Workshop, of course!!  … and how could I forget… it’s also audition season!!

With the cold weather… comes NFL professional cheer and a few semi professional cheer team auditions.  So NOW is the time to start preparing.  Don’t make the same mistakes most ladies make… waiting until the last minute to get Prepared, Polished, and Confident for auditions!!

If you had the opportunity to join us at the Pro & Semi Pro Cheer/Dance Audition Prep Workshop, you know that we danced our booties off!!  It was such an amazing experience… with over 100 ladies all in the same place with the same goal!!

Here’s a fun pic of our Lovelies at the event:

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These ladies danced their hearts out and I was overjoyed to see the determination and drive of everyone there.  And it did not go unnoticed by the Coaches & Directors.

Day 2 was our Mock Audition, where 35 ladies performed in three rounds of audition and received one-on-one feedback from our judges.

We had a judge representing the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders, Washington Redskins Cheerleaders, and Washington Wizard Girls.

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So… this week I wanted to address a question from one our Lovelies that attended the

Mock Audition.

Here is this week’s Q&A Hump Day Question…

“In years past, during mock auditions I have been highlighted at the end for standing out choreography/freestyle. I know that sometimes in life you win some and sometimes you learn. I did not get recognized this year. I did want to ask… where did I need to improve at some point during the process, and/or asked to demonstrate for this year… where I could tweak things to make sure I do stand out?” 

A: Here are your “Top 10 Tips to Put into Practice at Your Next Audition”

1. Do your research and have “The Look” on audition day.

2. Focus on your Fitness Level and ensure you have a tight, tone body.

3. Make a great first impression when you enter the audition room and stay in the

moment even as you exit.

4. Poise & Presence are everything. Be mindful of your body language, your stance,

your aura, and your spirit.

5. Practice your public speaking… nail your introduction speech or interview.

6. Nail Your “Chance in the Spotlight”… show off your unique skills.

7. Make Eye Contact with the judges… as you enter, while you talk, when you

dance, when are you standing there waiting, as you exit.

8. Be comfortable with the choreography and technical skills, but if you mess up…

9. Recover Quickly. Don’t let it show on your face.

10. Dance full out and nail your performance and just Have FUN !!

Tip: Remember that your mindset controls most things in your life… from your mood, to your words, to your drive, to your motivation. Get in the right mindset BEFORE you walk into your next audition.
Check out this video for more in depth answers:

Be sure to stay tune to the end of the video for a few bloopers… LOL!!

CONGRATS again to all the Lovelies that attended the Pro Cheer Workshop.  Now it’s time to get moving and become prepared for auditions!!

If you have a question that you want answered as part of our Q&A Hump Day! ASK!! That’s what we are here for! Email us at info@sidelineprep.com.

NOTE: All advice, suggestions, and thoughts during Q&A Hump Day are based on our Coaches’ personal experiences in the professional and semi professional cheer and dance industry.  It does not represent the views from or for all dance or cheer teams