Forum: Ballet / Ballet Intensives

Audition pictures-which is better?
By ballerina_bella1
On Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:59 AM

I know they aren't the best, and they probably won't get me into any summer intensive a anyway, but which of these is the better one? Or should I go back to the studio and retake some, and if so, what should I improve in my arabesque? Thank you! ☺️

15 Replies to Audition pictures-which is better?

re: Audition pictures-which is better? (karma: 1)
By Spiorad
On Sun Dec 28, 2014 03:45 PM
You have a lovely arabesque! And since you asked for suggestions on improving them, especially for audition purposes, here is what I noticed.

* You look VERY stiff, uncomfortable and strained front your neck up. It almost looks as though you are holding your breath and gripping in your neck. This is causing your head to tilt back. Work on relaxing your neck and face muscles so you can achieve the "effortless" look.

*Something about the second picture is off the longer I look at it. You have beautiful arches, amazing lines, but it is almost as though the picture was snapped right before you hit the "top" of your arabesque (this is more apparent in the first picture). Also, in the second picture, and I am 98% sure this is due to the angle the picture was taken and the bars in the background causing a cut in the lines of the photo, but it looks like your upper body is twisting and your working leg is about to swing around and come forward. Like I said, I'm almost positive this is due to the angle of the photo.

It is always tricky taking pictures of yourself dancing. You might try setting a camera to "burst" so it will take several pictures in quick succession.
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Dec 28, 2014 03:53 PM
Out of those two, the first one. If you can retake it, you should (it's not bad, it just could be better). Try to relax your neck.
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By SandraLAVixenmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:21 PM
This is just a comment about proportions, what looks really off, is that the subject looks center-heavy. As if a very short lens was used (32mm or less?)

If you can, try using a longer lens, 100 to 150mm is what most pro dance photographers use. Put the camera farther away, this will make you look thinner.

Technique-wise, hip looks slightly lifted, shoulders look stressed. It doesn’t look "comfortable". Can you take the picture at the barre instead of en pointe or does the school or company require a still en pointe? The standing leg isn't showing much turnout capability (which is important as well).
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:20 AM
Most intensives require a still, en pointe, usually in arabesque. Some require more.
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Dec 29, 2014 07:09 AM
Serendipity42 wrote:

Most intensives require a still, en pointe, usually in arabesque. Some require more.


Exactly. Positions are always shown unsupported.

In terms of general corrections, I like what Spiorad said. In addition to that, I'd like to mention one more thing ... well, maybe two ... or three. :P

The first is that there are a few thousand rules in ballet. One of them is that you never shorten your neck. That's in never. That's what you're doing when you're tucking in your chin and pulling back like that. The neck from under the chin to your torso has to have one smooth, gorgeous line and that's not what you're showing.

In terms of why that chin is so unnaturally tense, I believe a lot of it has to do with you flipping over to your supporting side. Your body is forced to compensate for this and keep you from not falling over so tension is created in places where you shouldn't have any ... like your chin and neck. It also keeps your supporting leg from turning out. That heel is forward, forward, forward. And your left arm should not be that far back. Again, it's compensating.

The other thing is that you're looking down. This creates havoc with a position. You should be gazing at least forward. Most gaze over their hand so it depends on the height of your arm, but the focus is never down. Down right away means that you're creating tension in that chin. Even if you sit and gaze forward, your neck is relaxed, but now look all the way down. The jaw tightens up.

Just try not to flip over on that supporting side. Oh, and another rule, and this is a biggie: In a successful ballet position, if you cover up the photo from the waist down, the upper body should look as if the dancer is standing at the barre. I'll post a link to a photo that exemplifies that. If you cover her from the waist down, you'd never know what her legs are doing. She just looks as though she's standing at the barre with two feet on the ground. And notice that even though the photo is taken in silhouette, you just know the dancer's gaze is up, up, up - naturally following that arm and crowning the position. In fact, that's a good way to think about your head. It crowns any position. It's also a great example of how to lengthen that neck. Look at that gorgeous line under her chin to torso. It should inspire you because you can do this.

Like Spiorad said, you actually have lovely lines. You just need a few tweaks and a little more confidence in what you're doing. :)

Oh, and I'd use the first photo and delete the second one out of existence, but my real choice is to take the photo over incorporating the suggestions given as best you can.


Image hotlink - 'https://balletclassroom.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/ballet-arabesque-1.jpg'
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By SandraLAVixenmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:54 PM
Hmmm, I'm looking at the audition requirements for a couple of schools here (not SI's though), most want two photos; one in pointe tendu seconde and first arabesque aterre.

Maybe SI's are different because they want to see a dancer in action, but the problem is that taking a high ISO frame en pointe requires a photographer with at least some knowledge, it's not something just anyone unfamiliar with a pro camera can do.

But if that's what they want, then I would suggest (actually this came from another DDN member a while ago, not me) is to have someone hold you en pointe in first arabesque, usually by just the front arabesque arm slightly off frame) then quickly run off and have the photographer (or timer) take the frame.
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Tue Dec 30, 2014 03:02 AM
They don't need it to be professional looking. They only need to see the line. The suggestion of someone holding is a good one - I often do that for the young folk who are auditioning.

Different SIs do require a variable set of photos but the majority want an en pointe arabesque included.
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By emilym5577
On Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:44 AM
They are both lovely pictures! Great arabesque!! I don't know what it is, but I prefer the first picture. You look more relaxed. I agree that the second picture doesn't look as good due to the angle of the camera and the bars in the background. You have a fabulous arch and if you do end up wanting to retake your pictures (which you don't have to because these are absolutely gorgeous!), but if you decide that, maybe try to turn out your standing leg more and just relax! You look beautiful in these pictures so just think about something you love (whether it's ballet or shopping or your favorite food) and it will help you relax into the step and make it look like second nature to you. Good luck on auditions! :)
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By SandraLAVixenmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Dec 30, 2014 02:17 PM
I think just that the side arm needs to be more side (technically correct) and the shoulders more squared off (they looked a bit pressed out). Head/shoulder expression does look a bit stressed, I agree.

The baseboard curving suggests a lens distortion (possible short lens, or maybe bad building construction). If it's a short lens, then it can make the subject "center-heavier" than it really is.

Humans are highly visual creatures and, psychologically, are influenced by "artifacts" and other attributes in a photo in the judgement of the main subject in a photo.

But overall I think this photo is okay for an audition.
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By ballerina_bella1
On Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:29 PM
Thank you for all the advice! You have all been so helpful! I tried my best to apply the corrections you all gave me, and re took the photo. I'm not entirely satisfied with it, but I think it's at least a little better than the originals, but please tell me if the first is better than this because I'm not so sure haha
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:46 PM
ballerina_bella1 wrote:

Thank you for all the advice! You have all been so helpful! I tried my best to apply the corrections you all gave me, and re took the photo. I'm not entirely satisfied with it, but I think it's at least a little better than the originals, but please tell me if the first is better than this because I'm not so sure haha


Oh, my gosh!!!

This is so much better, honey! You look properly placed and confident and you're such a doll to have incorporated all those corrections in such a short amount of time! That's also the sign of a very good dancer!

Definitely use this one. :)
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 01, 2015 01:56 PM
ballerina_bella1 wrote:

Thank you for all the advice! You have all been so helpful! I tried my best to apply the corrections you all gave me, and re took the photo. I'm not entirely satisfied with it, but I think it's at least a little better than the originals, but please tell me if the first is better than this because I'm not so sure haha


Much better.
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Thu Jan 01, 2015 03:25 PM
MUCH better!
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By ballerina_bella1
On Thu Jan 01, 2015 04:03 PM
Thanks for replying everybody!! And thanks so much again for all the corrections, they will definitely help me this audition season! I'm soooo nervous my first audition is this Saturday (ABT in NYC!!!) so it's good that I have a better audition picture now, I couldn't have had a better picture without everybody's advice! :) :)
re: Audition pictures-which is better?
By nycsylphmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 01, 2015 04:51 PM
ballerina_bella1 wrote:

I'm soooo nervous my first audition is this Saturday (ABT in NYC!!!)


ABT in NY? That is exciting! I have my fingers crossed for you.

Just remember that you've worked just as hard as everyone else and have a perfect right to be there. You have gorgeous legs and feet and I insist that you carry that same air of confidence you're wearing in this second photo with you into that audition! Oh, and I command you not to look at the floor! :P

I know you'll do well. And just remember that it's not about being good or bad. You're obviously a good dancer since you look like you could stay in arabesque for a couple of hours. Instead, it's about this:

"You will get the things that are right for you."

Enjoy. You'll do fine. :)

And please let us know how it went.

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