Today you’ll be getting some top tips on auditions and dance calls from Hannah Flynn!
Hannah graduated in Musical Theatre from the Urdang Academy, and went onto train extensively in Lindy Hop/Swing, Charleston and dances from 1920-50s.
She recently performed and choreographed for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. Last year’s series saw her choreographing Jake and Jeanette’s Charleston as well as performing the Lindy Hop.
You can watch the performance here: Jake Wood & Jannette / BBC Strictly Come DancingIn 2014
Hannah travelled to USA to perform in the New York production of Love, Loss and Laughter. Once back in the UK, she went on to film Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron and The Imitation Game before returning for her 10th season in the West End production of The Snowman.
2014 also saw her choreographing her first feature film – A Royal Night Out which opened in cinemas in May 2015. The summer of last year saw Hannah working with English National Opera in their production of Carmen at The London Coliseum.
You can also find her showreels available on youtube including choreography reel, dance reel, BBC Strictly reel and many more!
As promised, Hannah has kindly answered some questions below on dance calls. Read on below and make sure to check her out on youtube and on her website http://hannahflynn.co.uk.
1. What should every dancer always bring to a dance call?
In my bag for a dance call you would find –
-Jumper/Trackies for warming up and keeping warm between rounds (hopefully!)
-Mints/Banana/Nuts for energy
-Comfy shoes/uggs to wear after the call
-Spare hair ties and grips
-Rep Folder (I’ve been caught out with this before, just bring it!)
-CV and headshot
-Any shoes/clothing you’ve been asked to bring in the call out. If in doubt bring all your shoes..!
2. What is best to wear for a dance call (Men & Women)?Women
For some calls you are asked to wear something specific – tight fitting and heels/no baggy clothes, etc.
If there are no instructions in the call out then think about the style and era of show you are auditioning for, can you add an element of this to the way you are dressed?
Chicago, for example would be all black, tight fitting, hair back and heels. Whereas Thriller would be much more commercial and Phantom would be completely different again. There is no right or wrong, the main thing is you feel comfortable and self-assured and dress to suit your body. An uncomfortable outfit or wearing something you do not feel confident in can add an unneeded element of stress to the day. A nod to the style of the show will suffice, you don’t need to turn up to a Charlie call with an orange face and green hair…!
Again for some calls you are asked to wear something specific however if this is not the case then generally men wear shorts/tracksuit bottoms, vests/tees and trainers/taps. Depending on the show you can tailor your style to suit but mainly the ‘audition look’ for men is more generic across the board. Make sure you are comfortable dancing in what you wear and that you look good.
Clothing or Skill:
3. Best advice in general for standing out for all the right reasons?
What looks good on the person next to you may not necessarily flatter your body shape and vise versa. Wearing something you feel confident in is paramount.
I was always told the audition starts from the moment you walk into the room, not when they call your name to perform the combination. In an audition situation someone who stands out for me is the person who listens to what the choreographer/DC is telling you, takes on board any particular notes and tries to implement them. As a choreographer I want to see if you can take direction and pick up my style of choreography. I would rather someone threw themselves into it and made mistakes than held back and played it safe. Focus and listen but also try to enjoy the process.
If you forget your next move:
4. What would you suggest to a dancer that tends to go blank in the middle of a routine?
Try to keep going, pick it up from the other people auditioning in your group, chances are I’m writing something at the time and might not have noticed, or, if you went full out with the music whilst you were learning the routine earlier I may have already seen you get through without blanking. If you really can’t keep going just stop and look at the others and try to pick it up as soon as you can. This is why it’s important to go full out in the run throughs before the audition groups. However also remember if we end up working together we will have rehearsal time so this is not a memory test.
Make it up yourself:
5. If you are given 6 to 12 beats freestyle in an audition piece, what do you suggest is the best use of that time? (Trickys, flexibility, turns, etc)
It depends again on the style of the show. Look at the rest of the choreography you have been taught. Are there flips and tricks in any scenes of the show? Backflips don’t really feature in Phantom whereas fouettes en pointe wouldn’t really show off your suitability for Grease.
6. What was your best audition in history and why?
My best audition experience was for a role where actually I didn’t end up booking the job! It was for a big show in town but the reason it sticks in my mind was that the routines in all the rounds were fairly short, just enough to see if your energy and style matched what the choreographer was looking for. It wasn’t a memory test and I was able to perform the routines as opposed to trying to remember what came next.
7. And for fun, what has been your favorite job and why?
I have a couple that stand out..-Working with The Muppets was incredible..they’re amazing-I had a very jammy gig at the beginning of this year out in the Middle East, we were looked after so well, had a lot of free time, wonderful weather and fabulous people. I definitely wanted the job to last longer than 5 weeks!
Being on set and teaching Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch the Lindy Hop and Charleston or two was a lot of fun!
8. Any other key tips you would like to contribute?
Do the best with what you have on the day, stay positive and focused and try to take the fear out of auditioning. Keep learning, go to class and grow as a performer. Know what suits you and what doesn’t. If you look young and have a low playing age then own it, don’t fight it.
This is TRUE: Everyone on the panel is on your side. Believe in yourself and never give up. Good Luck!
Hannah is represented by the fabulous Williamson & Holmes management.