If you have ever considered being a professional dancer, working for the Walt Disney Company has probably crossed your mind…and how could it not? Disney now has seven resorts worldwide, and four ships in the fleet, so they are ALWAYS in search of people willing and ready to bring the magic to life!
I made the decision to attend my first Disney audition after a last minute trip to Paris… and what’s a trip to Paris without a visit to Disneyland? It was my first trip to a Disney resort as an adult and by the end of the day, I believed in magic. That night I went back to our cheap hotel and straight to the Disney audition website. Now four years and FIVE auditions later I am working a dream job at Tokyo Disney Resort. I hope with all of my experience I can give you a little bit of insight into what a typical dance audition might consist of, as well as a few tips to help you be successful!
The Standard Disney Audition
A typical Disney audition will usually start with a short ballet combination that is meant give dancers an opportunity to demonstrate their technique. The choreography is not meant to be difficult, but the casting directors will be looking for dancers who not only nail that double pirouette, but do so with grace and of course a smile!
The second round is often a jazz combination… but more specifically A SUPER SASSY DISNEY JAZZ combination. If you made it this far the casting directors have already seen that you can be elegant and have beautiful port de bras. Now they will be looking for something else. Here is your chance to show how diverse you can be as a performer, so don’t be afraid to give it some spirit.
The final part of the audition will always vary depending on which park and which show you’re auditioning for. It is best to go in expecting anything… and I do mean anything! You may be asked to sing, lip sing, tap dance, tumble, demonstrate partner work, read lines in an unfamiliar language, or participate in a strength test.
Park to Park and Ship to Ship
Every park and ship has very specific needs and roles to fill, and it is better to have an understanding of certain requirements before heading into your audition so you can be more prepared.
Tokyo Disney Resort
A TDR dance audition is slightly unique to those of other parks, because in two out of three of the current stage shows, dancers portray Disney characters; meaning, you may not only be judged on your performance but also on your ability to look the part of a particular hero or heroine.
Since it is a Japanese park you may also be expected to lip sing or learn dialogue in Japanese, but don’t be too intimidated! The casting directors understand that this is probably new to everyone and will not be expecting perfection.
Disney Cruise Line
In recent years Disney Cruise Line has created new musical main stage shows, so being able to sing is definitely an advantage; though, not necessarily a requirement. Versatility is also an asset when auditioning for DCL because dancers have to perform in a variety of different shows every cruise.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort
These two parks both have plenty of opportunity for both equity and non-equity dancers! However, you must already be eligible to work in the United States in order to be considered for employment.
Disneyland Paris is usually looking for Parade performers that can exhibit basic dance and movement skill. They do hire classically trained dancers for seasonal positions, though most of these auditions take place throughout Europe.
Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland
Both of theses parks are currently only casting local classically trained dancers, but they are hiring character performers, and singers from overseas.
Aulani Resort and Spa
This Disney resort hires performers specifically with a Hawaiian dance background.
THREE DON’TS AT A DISNEY DANCE CALL
1. Don’t Just Smile
Like any audition you go to it’s a good idea to smile and make a good first impression, but Disney is not your average company! From the moment you walk into the room resonate happiness. Try not to be too in the zone beforehand that you come across as unapproachable, and instead try to make friends with the people around you.
When performing the combinations remember that with every performance Disney is making dreams a reality, so plastering a fake smile on your face just won’t cut it. Use your imagination as a performer and feel like Cinderella as you balancé from side to side, or like a child on Christmas morning as you strut down the room in the jazz combo!
2. Don’t forget to do your Research
By looking on the audition website you can usually get a bit of a heads up as to what show they are currently casting for, so do your research and come prepared. If you know they are looking to cast a particular role, watch that character’s movie and take notes so you can feel more confident!
If the call is for multiple shows/roles, it can be difficult to predict where you might fit in the eyes of casting, so bring lots of shoes and be ready for anything.
3. Don’t Sweat It
As I mentioned earlier I auditioned for the company five times before landing my current job, and that’s because with every Disney audition the casting directors will be looking for something different. Some positions will be strict on height requirements, some need immediate availability, and some may even be looking for specific facial structure, so if you didn’t fit the role this time, don’t sweat it!
Even if you completely blew it at your first audition, different resorts often have different casting directors so you can usually have a second chance to make a good first impression.
Below is a link to the Disney Auditions website, which lists its upcoming audition calendar. Be sure to read each post carefully, and double check if any pre-registration is required! Comment about your own Disney audition experience, or feel free to ask any questions in the section below. MERDE!