6 Essential Things to Know about SAB Summer Auditions

So, you’ve already signed up for a summer program audition this January, or maybe you’re planning to sign up over the holidays. What comes next? You may have some questions about what to bring or wear to the audition, or what the audition is like. In this post, we address some of these common questions about our summer audition process to help you know exactly what to expect once you arrive at the audition site. We know auditions can be a source of anxiety for students, but hopefully we can eliminate some of the mystery and help you plan for an enjoyable audition experience. Read on for 6 essential things to know about SAB’s summer auditions. We can’t wait to see you this January!

Audition Class, students in fifth position

What To Bring to the Audition

You don’t need to bring much to the audition outside of what you normally have in your dance bag. Below, we break down a check-list of items to bring, along with the audition dress code and pointe shoe requirements.


    • Proof of age – this includes any official document with a birthdate – Passport (preferred), Birth Certificate, Government ID. Digital copies/photos presented on a phone or photo copies are acceptable. (This will be shown to the administrator but we do NOT need to keep a copy.)
    • $50 payable in cash or credit card (If you did not pre-register online – Tour cities only)
    • Pointe Shoes – applies to all students applying to the girls training track for Summer Course, and those with previous experience on pointe applying to the NY Junior Session. (Note: It is not necessary to have previous experience on pointe to apply for NY Junior.)
    • A copy of your audition registration confirmation email – This is not 100% necessary but it is helpful in the event the onsite administrator has difficulty locating your registration information.  (It’s not always possible for us to look it up on the spot.)
    • A water bottle – you may bring a water bottle into the studio during the audition


  • Headshots, dance photos, resumes (We don’t accept these)
  • An audience ;-). Parents and guardians are, of course, welcome to accompany their student to the audition and wait onsite but there is NO observation of the audition itself.


Students auditioning for the girls training track:
A solid color leotard (pick your favorite – it doesn’t have to be black!), pink or fleshtone tights, and pink or fleshtone ballet slippers/pointe shoes.

Students auditioning for the boys training track:
A solid color t-shirt without words or pictures, black or grey tights, white or black ankle socks, and white or black ballet slippers

No skirts, legwarmers or other warm ups are allowed in class.

WHEN TO WEAR YOUR POINTE SHOES: (Girls training track applicants only)
All students 14 years old and under who are applying to the 5-week Summer Course should begin the audition class in ballet slippers and bring their pointe shoes into the audition studio. Students will be instructed to put on their pointe shoes towards the end of the class and will be given some exercises on pointe. Students applying for the NY Junior Session who have not had previous experience on pointe do not need to bring pointe shoes and are not expected to participate in any exercises on pointe.

Students 15 and above should wear their pointe shoes into the audition studio. They are expected to take the full audition class on pointe.

What Age Group to Audition With

A lot of our applicants question which audition age group they should attend especially if their age is different at the audition than it will be during the summer programs. You should audition in the age group that corresponds with your age at the time of the audition and not the age you’ll be for our summer programs. (If they’re different). So, a 12-year-old turning 13 in March should audition in the age group designated for 12 year olds. The exception to this rule is a 9 year old who is eligible for our NY Junior Session (turning 10 by July 31) – he/she should audition in the group designated for 10 year olds. It is important to note that our faculty evaluators have every student’s current age and birthdate as it was submitted on the application form right in front of them throughout the audition. They know what age students will be during the summer programs and what is expected for the programs they are applying. Some of our NYC auditions have a broad age range and faculty will rely on the age information from the application form to evaluate accordingly.

What To Expect at the Audition Itself

You should arrive between 30 minutes to an hour before your designated audition time. (Check your audition city page for details about your specific audition.) Applicants who pre-registered will check-in, show proof of birth and receive their audition number. Those applying on site (Tour cities only) should pick up and complete a paper application from the administrator before they check-in. On site applicants will need to pay the $50 audition fee via cash or credit card when they check in. It’s important to arrive early to the audition as there is often a line to check-in – even if you’ve pre-registered. Additionally, depending on the number of applicants we are expecting, faculty may elect to begin class early to optimize timing throughout the day. Once checked in, you will have the opportunity to warm up nearby. When class is about to begin, the onsite administrator will announce the numbers for the next audition group and line students up in number order. You can help facilitate a smooth transition into the studio by paying attention to your audition number in relation to the group and try to find your place in line. Typically, just before the audition begins after students are lined up, the administrator will take a photo of every applicant in groups of 3-4 students. This is for our records and for faculty to reference after the audition if necessary.

The audition itself is a typical ballet technique class taught by one or more of SAB’s faculty. It includes barre, center and across-the-floor exercises. All genders audition together. Students auditioning for the girls training track will have pointe work (with the exception of NY Junior applicants who do not yet have experience on pointe), and students auditioning for the boys training track will be given some center jump exercises including battu and air turns for those advanced enough.

On the National Audition Tour, class sizes can range from 20-40+ students depending on the studio space and the number of students signed up for the given age grouping. Classes can run from 1-2 hrs depending on size. We make every attempt to schedule plenty of time for each age group based on anticipated applicant numbers and we do our best to adhere to the published schedule throughout the day. In some cases, the administrator and faculty member may elect to divide an age group into two sections for abbreviated classes with fewer students – most often in cases where space is limited.  However, we do make every attempt to end the second group by the end-time published in our schedule. We very much appreciate everyone’s flexibility and patience throughout the day!

At SAB, all audition classes are scheduled for 1 hour and those auditions are capped at approximately 35 students. SAB’s regular classes and operations are happening during most of these auditions, and because both time and space are limited, walk-in applicants are not accepted at our New York City auditions.

Who Teaches the Audition Classes

SAB’s audition classes are overseen by at least one member of SAB’s permanent faculty. Larger auditions may include one faculty member teaching the class, and one observing and evaluating students. Most of our faculty evaluators are SAB Summer Course alumni and were once in your very shoes!  They understand the anxiety that may accompany a student’s audition experience and aim to make applicants feel comfortable and teach an enriching technique class along the way.

SAB’s 2024 audition faculty include:

Aesha Ash
Silas Farley
Adam Hendrickson
Katrina Killian
Lauren King
Kay Mazzo
Meagan Mann
Allen Peiffer
Suki Schorer

Read more about SAB’s permanent faculty.

Note: This list is subject to change.

What SAB is Looking for in a Dancer/Is Prior “Balanchine training” Necessary?

SAB’s faculty understand that many dancers may not have been exposed to “Balanchine Technique” – but students should remember that the foundation of Balanchine’s teaching is the classical Russian ballet technique he learned at the Imperial Theater School, now the Mariinsky. Agrippa Vaganova trained at the very same school! Balanchine’s approach to classical ballet differs from Vaganova’s and other popular styles in his emphasis on precision, control, musicality and speed. When our faculty are evaluating students, they are looking at flexibility, coordination, turn-out, proportions, feet, musicality and technical ability–not whether or not they’ve had Balanchine training. Students with a strong classical foundation in almost any style can be successful. Our faculty look for a student’s potential with the goal of teaching Balanchine’s principles throughout our summer programs to shape more capable, versatile and skilled dancers.

When/How You’ll Receive Results/How Many Students are Accepted

Admission to SAB’s summer programs is highly selective. We audition over 2500 students each summer recruiting season. Our 5-week Summer Course enrolls just over 200 students; and the NY Junior Session enrolls about 130 students. But our faculty don’t have an acceptance quota for each audition. By practice, they accept all qualified students present at any given audition. Merit-based scholarships are determined at the time of the audition. (No separate application is necessary).

All results are sent via email to the address entered on the first page of the application form AND to the email address entered in for Parent/Guardian 1. If accepted, the result email will contain information about any scholarships awarded.  The timing of that email is as follows:

For Audition Tour and NYC Applicants
·       Pre-registered applicants will receive their results within a week of their audition date.
·       Students who apply on site will receive their results up to 3 weeks after their audition date.
Video Applicants
·       International students who apply by video will receive their results on a rolling basis beginning in mid-January.
·       US-based students who apply by video will receive their results on a rolling basis beginning the week of January 29. Videos submitted on the Jan. 28 deadline may receive results as late as February 16.

A detailed schedule of anticipated distribution of results by city/audition date will be published at sab.org/results in early January

Accepted students will have approximately 10 days after receiving their acceptance letter to complete their initial enrollment steps and submit a non-refundable deposit to hold their position in the program.

What if You are Waitlisted?

Space in SAB’s summer programs is limited by class capacity and, for the 5-week Summer Course, by the number of spaces we have in our residence hall. We can’t overbook these programs. But acknowledging that not everyone who we accept will enroll, we maintain a waitlist of students who meet our admission criteria and may be invited to attend if space becomes available. We’ll stay in touch with students on our waitlist with updates about anticipated probability of additional invitations. Usually our first communication to the full waitlist will happen in mid to late February after initial enrollment deadlines have passed. We recognize that students have to make decisions about their summer programs and we strive to communicate as soon as possible.

We hope you found this helpful as you prepare for an upcoming audition.  You can find the answers to additional questions in our Summer Audition FAQ or on our Summer Auditions and Admissions pages.  Again, we hope to see you this January.

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