Dance Audition Photo Shoot Lessons from Dancer Laura Anne Wallace

Recently, Laura Anne Wallace came into the Long Island City studio for dance audition photos.  We had a great photo shoot and afterwards had the chance to talk about what the dance audition photo shoot experience was like for Laura Anne, what her dance goals are, and what advice she has to share with her fellow dancers in NYC and beyond

Where are you headed next in your career?

I’m looking to find a company where I can contribute as an artist in a meaningful way. My goal has always been to be the best dancer I can be, for myself, but more importantly, for the company and the audience. I feel over the last several years I have challenged myself to acquire the fearless qualities that allow an artist to push their limits and [I] desire the opportunity to dance with a company whose mission incorporates such endeavors.

rachel neville nyc dance photographer photo shoot laura anne wallace

Laura Anne Wallace, Photo Rachel Neville

What is the biggest challenge for you when you prepare for a photo shoot?

The biggest challenge in preparing for a photo shoot is taming my nervousness about “getting it right.”  Ironically, I am more apt to have a successful shoot if I simply trust my dancing and let my authentic self shine. All I have to do is drop my wall of protection and dare greatly.

What was the biggest challenge for you during the photo shoot?

My biggest challenge was giving myself some grace during the beginning of the shoot when I wasn’t warmed up and in the zone quite yet. I had to trust my dancing and believe I would learn the correct angles that show best. I realized the need to keep pushing and as long as I kept fear from holding me back that magical shot would come, often earlier than expected.

dance audition tips face photos dancer facial expressions for auditions

Laura Anne Wallace, Photo Rachel Neville

During the dance photo shoot, did you discover anything that you will bring back with you to the dance studio (new angles, notes on facial expression, etc.)?

What’s your look? What’s your vibe? What’s your dancing personality? What creates that magical moment for you? These were all questions that were fully answered through my experience of shooting with Rachel Neville.

It’s really important that you know your body and what angles show it off best. The beautiful lines of a dancer aren’t always straightforward to photograph, so you have to learn what works best for you. I will take what I discovered in this arena to every shoot I do in the future. This will be especially helpful for collaborations with photographers that are less familiar with dance [than Rachel is].

We all know a dancer is assessed in a quick once-over. Facial expression and body language aren’t always discussed but are vital to the message you are sending through energy in your pictures as well as in person, while auditioning or taking class.  It was interesting to me how my facial expression didn’t always match the emotion I was feeling or it would read differently than I expected it too. Receiving immediate feedback with the photos was helpful in practicing whole body presence and projecting an energy congruent with what I was feeling inside.

I also discovered what “lit the fire” within me; what I need to tell myself to obtain that magical shot. This is priceless knowledge. A photo could often be technically beautiful, but would fall flat because I would be thinking too much. This is when you have to get out of your head, stop trying to control, and just let go. I had to tap into “that mindset” that makes me unleash and shine on stage. This information is so key and will be relied upon again and again in the future.

What did you enjoy most during your Rachel Neville Photography dance photoshoot?

I don’t think dancers get enough moments to stand back and appreciate their art. We work so hard and focus on all the details that need fixing, to a fault sometimes. This is a great opportunity to love yourself a bit.

Secondly, I don’t think there is a much better feeling than being utterly and completely yourself, knowing that it’s unequally spectacular, and capturing that for a memory. Often the expression can be, “This is me, I’m different, I’ll make the changes I need.”  Instead, the photo session was all about, “This is me, I’m different, look at me and love it.”  What a confidence booster!

conceptual dance audition photo Rachel Neivlle

Laura Anne Wallace, Photo Rachel Neville

How would you describe the experience shooting with Rachel?

Shooting with Rachel was such a gift. Her knowledge, her spunk and her passion to capture “YOU” makes for an incredible experience. I went in a little nervous, just desiring to “get it right” and I basically skipped out, so confident in who I was as a dancer and as a person and where I was headed.

How do you feel about your audition process now that you have had this audition photo shoot experience?

My photo shoot experience was the perfect catapult into audition season. I not only have beautiful pictures to send out, but also a new knowledge of myself and greater confidence to go along with it. I love having such a clear picture of who I am as an artist and what I can offer a company. Eliminating any doubt in this arena will be so essential in presenting a confident energy in an audition. If I know who I am and what I can offer, a company can be confident in who they are hiring.

What would you tell others about how to prepare for dance audition photo shoots?

Get out of your head, stop thinking so much and unleash yourself. This is so essential for getting a stunning photo as well as having fun.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ron Malcolm says:

    Enjoyed photos of LauraAnne Wallace. Wondering why she is barefoot in last picture.

    1. rachelneville says:

      We shoot a wide variety of images in a dance photo shoot, both in shoes and without, depending on what type of company we are targeting.

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