Based at The Place, central London, London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) is considered as one of the top contemporary schools in the world. Offering a three year degree course, LCDS is the perfect place to kick-start your contemporary dance career. Find out more about the school HERE
Audition Quest spoke to Ellie, a LCDS first-year student (beginning Sept 2020) about all of her LCDS audition experiences, tips and advice.
THE AUDITION at a glance
- ROUNDS: First-round audition and Recall (usually happen within the same week)
- INVOLVING: Contemporary technique, ballet, creative tasks, improvisation, dance solo, physical screening and interview
- DIFFICULTY: Advanced, but nicely challenging and supportive
- SPACES: Up to 500 auditionees compete for 50 spaces
- RESPONSE TIME: 2 weeks
1.What did the audition day(s) involve?
My first-round audition started at 8:30AM, beginning with a small talk about the structure of the day and a bit of general information about the school.
The dance audition then began with a creative class. This was a chance to tune into your body and warm up whilst experiencing the different energies in the room.
This was followed by Contemporary class, that involved mainly Cunningham technique.
There was then a short break before each auditionee is asked to perform their solo one by one. Everyone gets the chance to perform their solo which is something I really loved about the audition.
You are then split into three groups, and get the chance to have a group discussion with the panel, a tour of the building, a chance to meet some current students, and finally a talk to ask any questions you would like too . The second part of the day is mainly for the audition panel to get to know you.
I was invited for a recall at the end of the same week as my first-round audition. The recall audition begins with a Ballet class, followed by a contemporary class.
You then have a longer improvisation class, where you are guided by key words and imagery.
In the afternoon you are then split into groups again to have your interview. This will be with two members of their facility and one student who’s already training at LCDS.
The day finishes with a physical screening and also a contextual class where you can get to meet the teachers who will teach you theory, costume design, lighting. Within two weeks of my recall I got a successful email congratulating me with a place!
2.What was the atmosphere like- did you feel relaxed and welcomed?
The atmosphere for the auditions were so extremely welcoming and relaxing. Of course everyone wanted to do their best, so the staff spread nothing but calmness and support, helping us all be in the right mindset to really dance to our full potential. Due to this, the audition room was filled with such positive energy which definitely encourage high quality movement!
Auditionees were able to ask questions and discuss material, so it felt like a normal class with a just a tiny bit more pressure!
LCDS’s atmosphere was something that I loved and will definitely remember. The entire audition was very much about working and focusing on yourself, there was no feeling of competition or comparing yourself to other dancers.
3.How difficult did you find the audition days?
The audition days were challenging because you are obviously going into the unknown. But the teachers were so supportive- for example, if you didn’t fully catch something, you could just ask for it to be repeated.
The movement material wasn’t extremely challenging, as their aim wasn’t to try and catch you out.
LCDS really want to see what you can bring to the choreography and how you can interpret it.
The recall was definitely more challenging than the first-round, as it stretched us further, but this was still in a supportive manner. In the recall, dance phrases were taught faster, to test our ability to pick up material, but we were always welcomed to ask questions.
4.How many other dancers did you audition with?
In the first-round audition, there just over 40 auditionees, but we were split into two studios, with 20 in each. For the recall there were 40 auditionees again, but this time we all stayed in the same studio with a much larger panel sat in front of us.
5.What would you suggest you should wear to the audition?
Before my auditions I used to panic about what to wear, because I was trying to think what the panel would like to see me in. However I really learnt that it doesn’t matter as long as you are comfortable.
Think about what really allows you to dance well in- you definitely don’t want something you have to keep pulling up/down!
It’s always a good idea to cover your knees and shoulders for floor work within the contemporary class. I would also always suggest wearing a colour that makes you feel confident and energised. Always aim to look professional and presentable as first impression do count…. but most importantly it’s about your dancing – so just be CONFIDENT in what you wear.
6.What were you asked to prepare before the audition day?
The only thing I was asked to prepare was my one minute solo and my music. I took a CD and also had it on my phone just in case for a backup. I would also definitely recommend that you do your research about LCDS, to prepare for the interviews.
7.Are there any other tips and advice that you would give future auditionees?
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason so my top bit of advice is to really ENJOY your auditions. Use these experiences to meet new dancers and hear about their training, use it to learn about the schools and staff teaching you. Remember that auditions are for you too- their not just the school- so really get a feel for the place as you could be spending the next three years there.
Ask all of the questions you need and just enjoy the process- it can be hard sometimes, but really try and have the mentality of treating an audition like a workshop. When you can reduce the feeling of anxiety, you can allow yourself to be more present and in the moment. Give yourself the best chance before you even start to dance, use your nerves as excitement to fuel you. Auditions really do go by in a flash so you really want to be able to come out of the room knowing you’ve done your absolute best because that’s all you physically can do.
The worst bit I found from auditioning was the wait before receiving an email with the outcome. I would check my email multiple times a day….everyday! However, trying to anticipate the answer did not help, regardless of how many times I checked or thought about the audition, it wasn’t going to change the outcome. So definitely just trust the process as everything happens for a reason- you will end where you belong in the end!
To find out more information about London Contemporary Dance School, please click here
A massive thank you goes to Ellie, for being such a wonderful contributor for this blog. Audition Quest wishes Ellie the best of luck with her training beginning at London Contemporary Dance School in September. To visit Ellie’s Instagram page, please click here.