Sweat was already dripping down my forehead as I walked into my first Disney audition. It was a hot Florida Spring day. The room was full of other sweaty dancers and performers like me, warming up as they sat next to their bag full of dance shoes.
I decided to go to the audition on a whim. I was home in Orlando on Spring break from my freshman year of college and had just turned 19. Having grown up in Orlando, I always wondered what a Disney audition would be like.
In many ways, it fulfilled what I imagined—a room full of dancers stretching, chatting and pinning numbers to their tops. In other ways, it was not what I expected—friends wishing each other luck as they went back into the audition room, an emboldening sense of camaraderie among the 400+ people there.
I did not expect to feel a part of a community. I thought competition would be fierce and it would be a room full of whispers and side-eyes. But there I was in a hot holding room wanting the same thing everyone else did. It was more than the circumstances alone that brought us together. It was the passion and desire to do what we love—dance.
But wait, let’s back up. How did I get to that sweaty audition on that humid day?
Where Can I Find Disney Auditions?
I didn’t just stumble in there. I researched and found the posting myself on www.DisneyAuditions.com. Audition notices for all Disney Parks are posted here, and not just for dancers but for singers, musicians, stunt-artists, and acrobats too.
The call I attended was for “Parade Performers,” which I later learned was different than a call for “Dancers.” Parade Performers do just that, dance in parades. Their department is in the same family as character “look-a-likes” and the performers often do both. A dancer call will have you auditioning for Disney’s stage productions like “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire.”
Regardless, both auditions are run similarly and are a great opportunity to get seen by Casting.
What Should I Expect At A Disney Audition?
First, there is a type-out. Disney auditions often garner over 400 dancers at one call, so narrowing down the pool of eligible applicants is essential. A type-out involves a basic dance routine that demonstrates classical technique. It typically involves a battement and/or a pirouette. These type-out combinations are rarely more than two 8-counts and involve moving across the floor. They serve to eliminate the novice from the experienced dancer.
Once through the type-out, you proceed on to the next level of the audition. This involves a more challenging combo and further rounds of eliminations.
What Do Casting Directors Look For In A Performer?
Disney casting directors, and most casting directors in general, are looking for someone who embodies the show’s style and story. They are looking beyond the dance moves and watching how you connect to the show’s narrative. Nearly all of Disney’s shows revolve around a beloved tale. Being able to embody that story and share it with the audience is a vital skill. Too often many dancers forget about selling their performance in the audition room and plaster a look of fierce concentration on their face. Technique is important, but so is acting and performing.
How Can I Audition For Disney?
Disney auditions are ongoing, and their audition site often updates as they seek new performers to fill open roles. Keep a keen eye out for calls that suit you. Most breakdowns have a height range requirement, as well as an overall look that casting directors are searching for. For example, Disney’s Festival of the Lion King seeks “Dancers with excellent ballet technique” while their Halloween Spectacular looks for “Dancers with hip-hop skills.” Know your assets and attend auditions accordingly.
Disney auditions are one of the most approachable auditions to attend. The atmosphere is welcoming, and everyone gets a chance to dance. That hot spring day I booked my first job as an entertainer. I returned from college and worked full-time through the Summer. It was an educational experience that immersed me in the Entertainment field and inspired me to pursue a career in the Performing Arts.
Whether your career begins at Disney, like mine did, or on another stage—remember to work hard and learn from your talented peers. As performers, we are life-long students.
Kelsey is a classically trained dancer and Actor’s Equity performer. She has performed for companies such as Central Florida Ballet, Tokyo Disney, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and at sea with leading luxury cruise lines. A dancer by day and a writer by night, when Kelsey is not performing she shares her love of dance, travel, and finding a good cup of coffee on her blog Wend Away Travels. Find her full performance bio and show gallery at www.kelseyannglennon.com.
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