This month, Company Dancer, Noriko Zaragoza, shares the benefits of taking intensive training programs and some tips on what most companies are looking for in young dancers.

San Diego Ballet has decided to do a Trainee Audition Program this year. It is a new program and I’m happy to be organizing it. I was thinking about trying to bring back a Summer Intensive Program we used to have for pre-professionals dancers every August. However, this year we have decided to make it a one week program in June. We are looking for classically trained dancers with performance experience in a professional or pre-professional company or school.

Most of the pre-professional programs at other companies are looking for dancers to be in their second company as a trainee for the next season. As the director of this program, I will be looking for dancers that are classically trained in ballet with the potential to be a professional ballet dancer. This is the key for me. As long as they have a solid foundation I can train them however we need and get them ready for the stage.

It is very beneficial for dancers to learn from teachers that are different than what they are typically used to. Most likely, dancers will not have the same teacher for company class every day, so it is a very good experience for them. They may also get to learn some of the company repertoire. I think it is very exciting for dancers to learn the company’s taste and what are we are actually performing. Our “Trainee Audition Program” will give dancers a chance to learn from our very own Artistic Director and Choreographer, Javier Velasco, and I am very excited to see how they do.

Some tips to make your audition and program a success:
• Simple leotard that shows your lines well, two of my favorites are from Audition Dancewear in Peach or Black
• Pink tights
• Pointe shoes, have several pairs
• Pink or nude ballet flats
• Simple ballet skirt that shows your legs in a nice way, I like this skirt from Audition Dancewear
• Practice tutu and character skirt just in case
• Avoid jewelry, simple and clean is the best
• Put on some everyday make up (you never know when a Company Director may show up to watch class)
A final note, make sure you have plenty of pointe shoes. You will be wearing them every few hours. My shoes would die in one day if I wore the same pair all day long. I like to have a few pairs ready and alternate every few hours. This way you don’t need to wear brand new shoes every time a pair of your shoes dies. I recently changed to Bloch Axiom HRD and I really like the way they fit and look on my feet. I can’t believe that I am still looking for better shoes during my last season, but that’s what ballet dancers do.