You may have seen horses with blinders on, or heard the phrase, “It’s like he had blinders on.” Blinders are a small piece of leather placed over part of the horse’s eye and do not blind the horse, but narrow its view to the road or track ahead. Often racehorses wear blinders to keep their focus on the track rather than distractions around it. When referring to people with blinders on, the image is used as a metaphor for a person who isn’t seeing everything that’s around them, or maybe has a narrow point of view.
When it comes to auditions, a narrow semi-blind point of view is exactly what you want.
Like horses, dancers have eyes that wander; you look at the other dancers in your audition as well as the artistic panel watching you. While this is completely normal, it’s also totally distracting and can negatively affect your experience.
The most common pitfall is that looking at others can cause a collapse in your self-confidence. There *will* be dancers who are more technically advanced than you, more flexible, and taller/shorter/stronger/weaker. None of those facts needs to have any impact on how you perform at the audition, but it will if you let your confidence erode at the sight of your competition.
A second pitfall is that dancers are so focused on seeing how they measure up that they miss nuances in the combinations. The result can be that you dance like someone who doesn’t pay attention to details. Not good.
Finally, if you are distracted, you will look distracted. Directors are looking for focused, serious dancers who are “in the room” mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. If you check out whether from loss of confidence or distraction, it will show.
Don’t let this happen to you. Know your habits. Prepare for potential distractions. Start putting your blinders on today, and practicing what it’s like to turn your focus to your teacher and yourself, blocking out anything and anyone that interferes with that.
Because like a horse in race, a dancer in an audition experiences nerves, excitement, and many distractions – you might as well be ready for it.