home from teaching tonight...
Heard from a voice student who is a veteran dancer in this business...we had been discussing shoes last week, and her most recent audition experience brought this up again so I decided it was time to address it...
Dancers - BRING ALL YOUR DANCE SHOES to a call! You never know what will be asked for and you need to be ready for all possibilities! And I mean your heels too...ESPECIALLY your heels!!! YOU ARE A DANCER! If you don't know the drill, then LEARN.
Which brings me to music theatre singer/actors and heels - ladies I am speaking to you, unless gentlemen are auditioning for a drag show...and in that case, some of you can probably teach some of your female counterparts a thing or two about heels!!
I have heard numerous casting directors over the last year say this "If I see ballet flats/flip flops in an audition again, I am gonna scream!"
Flip flops?!?!? are you KIDDING ME!? Girls, there is NO EXCUSE for this!! Do you realize you could be completely sabotaging your own audition by the footwear you are wearing into the room????
YOU MUST LEARN HOW TO WORK IN HEELS. Simple. Unless you are auditioning for a child's part in a children's show and want legs that look like pipes - leave your flats in your bag and CHANGE YOUR SHOES IN THE HALLWAY!!!
Don't wear your heels to the call - bring them with you! Work in them, practice in them, walk in them, balance in them. Get somebody to critique you who KNOWS how to walk in heels!
First, heels gives you line - and it shapes your leg. You hold yourself differently. You walk differently. It gives you a different energy. Learn how to use heels to your advantage - and not just character shoes! Do not use character shoes to audition in unless you are dancing! If you are doing a singing audition/acting audition, find the heels that you are comfortable in that are performance shoes. Only you can decide on that. The only way you will know is if you LEARN and TRY. Do not say "I don't wear heels" and throw out the idea! What if the character you are being considered for actually wears heels? Still not gonna do it?!??
Heels do not mean 5 inch club wear! A simple kitten heel can be elegant and dressed up. If you aren't used to heels regularly, a wedge heel might be more comfortable to walk and stand in. You have so many options - think of your boundaries being: no flats and no clear hooker heels! (unless you are going for a specific role that demands either!!!) Otherwise, any height is acceptable if it makes sense for your type and your ability to move/walk/support!
Some of my pet peeves:
1. walking on your toes in heels - a big no-no. Learn how to balance your body through your hip joints and walk from your HEEL.
2. walking taking long strides - or too short of a stride. Stride should be 2 "feet" lengths apart - ish! NO MORE!
3. Open toe shoes that don't fit - if your toes hang over - those shoes do not fit! Your feet have to fit INSIDE those shoes! If you have toes that don't, then wear closed-toe mules or something that doesn't distract from your singing and presentation!
4. Open toe shoes that show an un-pedicured foot!!! Look after those toes!!! AND those heels!!
These are a few - but important ones...
No one can go wrong with a great pair of pumps that have a heel height that is comfortable to move in/walk in and ties in an outfit and a type. A great pair of pumps in a great color can also be an outstanding addition to an outfit!! And why not be the ingenue with "the great red pumps" and be remembered that way, instead of another ingenue in flats?
Have those dance shoes and those audition shoes ready to go! Know they are there and reliable no matter what! Check for scuffs and secure heels. Create the package you wish to create and present it fully - with confidence and poise!
Guys - your shoes are important too. They are part of your outfit, and your persona. Don't neglect them!! Know how to walk in them - and keep them polished if they are leather. Otherwise, keep them CLEAN! No flip-flops for you either!!!
Your footwear matters - and it is up to YOU to find what works best for your body, your feet, and your type. Remember the audition is a JOB INTERVIEW! And you are not interviewing to be a lifeguard - you are an ACTOR/DANCER/SINGER - you are an opera singer - are you an ARTIST! Interview accordingly!!
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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