Drama School Audition Prep with Elissa Hicken and Steven Luke Walker- 06/12/20

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Postponed …

Finally the time had come where we could work with Elissa and special guest Steven after a 10 month wait due to the Corona Virus. Because of this, we had limited spaces but with only 6 attendees, they certainly got their moneys worth. With so much knowledge of drama schools, how they work and the industry currently, the Squad needed to soak in every last drop of what Elissa and Steven had to offer. We started the session dead informal. Having known/worked with every single attendee before as well as a heightened awareness of the current climate and what that means for our young performers, we decided to approach the session slightly different. Usually our audition prep workshops are held just like the real thing with little movement for discussion. However we decided to take things a little slower and provide clear opportunities for our Squad to discuss the process before having a go, giving them a little more knowledge before entering the practise situation. Of course, even though this was only a practise the nerves were already well imbedded which only shows how much the Squad care about wanting to do well in their chosen field. With that being said it was ready for the panel to form and the dance session to begin.

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Looking even on the warm up!

With the panel assembled, Elissa started with almost a routine in itself. The first few warm up tracks comprised of technical and strengthening exercises which Elissa ran through quickly before asking the Squad to perform. Steven reminded the group that the panel are always watching even through the warm up and looking at technique as well as who is taking direction and applying themselves. Lots of notes were made about each individual ready to give to them at the end which is always something that the Squad find useful. During any of our audition workshops, the panel make notes on the Squad in order to give them at the end as this isn’t something that happens in real auditions and can be quite disheartening never understanding where you can improve. We detail everything from technique to performance quality and especially etiquette. This is something that we are hot on at NPS as in any industry, your reputation proceeds itself and that isn’t necessarily based on your ability to do the job. More so your ability to work within a company, take direction and apply yourself at all times.

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Dance Routine …

After some corner work, it was time to learn the routine. At all of our audition workshops we try and teach the routines fast and with little direction. This is so that the performers start to take responsibility over their own work. We never sugar coat and we never spoon feed here at NPS, simply give you the tools to then apply for yourself. After all we can’t follow every single Squad member to Drama school. It was so nice to see such focus and dedication during the routine. Because we have worked with all of this weeks masterclass attendees before, myself and Jess were loving watching those that usually hide at the back, come to the front. As well as applying corrections/notes that we have made before and finally having the confidence in themselves. It was also interesting for us to hear Stevens thoughts and comments on the Squad, wether that be commenting on something that previously they struggled with or reiterating something that we have been banging on to them about for months. Either way, all of the attendees were living our motto this week, practise makes permanent!

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After the dance section we let the Squad take a little break whilst Steven walked us through some etiquette. From how to talk and direct an accompanist, to how to present yourself and stay present whilst others are performing. All of these little things often get lost in a world of what to wear, sing of say in your audition but can often tell a panel more about you than your winged liner and pirouettes. Like we mentioned earlier, drama schools are not only looking for potential but someone that they can work with as a company member. Steven gave us so much knowledge in such a short space of time that the Squad could have easily been overwhelmed but they all listened intently, soaking up every last drop of insight.

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Singing …

After a warm up with Steven it was time for the attendees to show their prepared song which some will be showing to panels in the not too distant future. It was so nice again to see the progression of the Squad from our associates auditions in July or even our October Intensive. It was clear to see the critiques that they have taken on board and applied in their own time which is fabulous to see and made us so proud. Elissa had each attendee approach one at a time to direct the accompanist, explain their sheet music and then introduce their song before singing. Once each Squad member had sung, Elissa took time to ask them about their acting choices and work on a section of their song in order to strengthen their performance. To take direction so quickly and apply it in a situation where you are already nervous is hard but our Squad made it look easy. A lot of young performers aren’t used to performing in front of each other, however a lot of auditions are designed this way mainly to save time and money. For some of the Squad this is a new concept but they all dealt with it so well which will only drive them moving forward.

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Thank you’s …

Thank you so much to all of the Squad that attended todays Drama School Audition prep class. You must have soaked up so much knowledge which we really hope lends itself well to your auditions.

Special thanks to our wonderful guest teachers Elissa and Steven for joining us this Sunday. Your knowledge and expertise was invaluable and we can not wait to work with you again. We would also like to thank the staff at Excel Dance for being fabulous hosts yet again, we absolutely love it here especially now there’s Christmas decor everywhere.

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“We hope to see you all again soon”

Keep learning from as many people as you can, working hard and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. After all remember … practise makes permanent!

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Love Jourdan & Jess

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