Renowned as one of the most prestigious contemporary dance conservatoires in the whole of Europe, Northern School of Contemporary Dance is a stellar place to study for a dance degree. Offering a wide range of different courses, NSCD has a goal of unlocking potential in dancers, subsequently equipping them for employment within the dance industry.
I was extremely lucky to have the chance to speak to Samantha, a second year NSDC undergraduate, about her audition via Instagram. Unsurprisingly, Samantha is thoroughly enjoying the course and is very grateful for being able to study at such a wonderful school.
Auditions for NSCD are competitive. Due to its highly-acclaimed training platform, large amounts of applicants apply to audition every year, meaning that places on the course are limited. Despite this, the audition is definitely not something to be feared. Samantha talked about how she was welcomed in a friendly manner and that auditionees took part in an initial ice-breaker to eliminate any uncertainties that they may have had. There were also two current NSCD students attending the day, meaning that they were available to answer any queries that the auditionees may have had.
NSCD is home to a range of cutting-edge facilities. With the onsite Riley Theatre, plus a selection of fully equipped studios, it fully facilitates students’ contemporary dance training. Samantha’s audition was held in Studio 7 – a studio boasting ceiling windows and a ‘gorgeous view’.
The audition itself lasted an entire day. Beginning with a creative task, auditionees used their voices and bodies to move across the space- there is definitely a focus upon personality and creativity. This was followed with a ballet class, allowing auditionees to show off their technical abilities. Following this was an hour-long class of contemporary, whereby Samantha mentioned how ‘extremely tough’ the competition was. After the audition classes are completed, auditionees are asked to perform their 1 minute-long solos, which are prepared before the audition.
After the solos, a selection of successful candidates are asked to remain for the rest of the audition. The rest of the afternoon is spent doing a ‘creative task in small groups and improvising to create choreography’.
Following this, remaining auditionees partake in a ‘group decision’ task. This involves problem solving and responding to what you would do in certain situations.
After the audition day, auditionees are given two week to submit a ‘short reflection of the audition day at the school’. This is expected to be roughly 500 words in length.
It then took 2 weeks for Samantha to find out that she had been successful.
- NSCD also offers a foundation year course, which you can apply/audition for at the same time as the BA (hons) course. This allows dancers access into the school, even if they require an extra year of training before acceptance onto the degree course.
- NSCD has a very impressive alumni, including choreographers such as Akram Khan.
- Samantha said that the best advice she can give is to prepare yourself mentally for the audition. The panel are looking for self-assured, confident dancers, who respond to tasks well, even when under pressure.
- She also mentioned that you are being assessed at all times– even when you’re not dancing, the panel are looking at how you are responding to tasks and taking opportunities to practise material and ask questions.
- It is really important that you respond to feedback and corrections too. If you are given corrections during the audition, take this as an opportunity to showcase how well you take onboard feedback.
A massive thank you goes to Samantha for being such a wonderful contributor for this week’s audition post. Audition Quest are extremely grateful for the time she took to answer questions, in such an eloquent manner. Samantha has a wonderful Instagram profile, showcasing some of her dancing @samantha_mould