Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Different Kind of Audition Format (Shameless Rocktober promotion)

So auditions. They're kind of necessary and kind of tricksey. People have all sorts of opinions on them.

On the plus side, auditions allow for teachers to tailor the information for each group specifically, which is more productive for everyone.  They also help balance classes, and allow organizers to keep class size reasonable and predictable so we can have better experiences in appropriate spaces.  Auditions are also the reason that we can have fast-paced "intensive" classes at all. You have to have everyone near the same page or those don't work.

And yet, I personally find the typical format super stressful. I don't think I'm alone in that. If I had to put my finger on what I don't like about them, I'd say two things:
  • I don't like the uncertainty. 
  • I don't like the publicity. I just don't like getting up in front of all my friends and all the strangers who I might want to dance with later, with the sole purpose of being judged, in public. 
  • I don't like getting up additionally early. (Ok 3 things.) 

So, since this IS my blog, I'm going to take the time to tell you about a little something SwingColumbus is putting together in my home scene of Columbus, OH. (Also, I'm on the planning committee.) It's a workshop weekend called Rocktober. The auditions are different than anything else I've heard of for a weekender.

design by Binaebi Akah

Rocktober will offer 2 tracks, one "Open" track and one "Audition" track.  

The audition track will be more expensive, because it's capped at 40 dancers (20 leads and 20 follows) and those 40 dancers will have 10 hours of instruction with Kevin and Jo.  Kevin and Jo all weekend!  

The open track will be capped at 60 dancers (30 leads and 30 follows). Instructors for this track are not yet set in stone, but we promise they will be good. And if you choose this track, you will have them all weekend.

*UPDATE June 18, 2012: Mike Roberts and Laura Glaess will be the instructors for the open track!*

"How will that work with registration?" you might ask, "Making one track more expensive than the other?" 

The auditions for the audition track will be conducted ahead of time, by video. So you'll know what track you're in before you come.

(more explanation and link to submission form below the jump)

Dancers will shoot 2-4 minutes of themselves and their preferred partner social dancing (or get their hands on footage of themselves in a Jack and Jill comp), upload it youtube or vimeo or whatever (it can be an "unlisted" video), and then send in the link, your email address, and home scene.  You do not have to register to do this. 

Getcha some. (linky to audition submission form. audition submissions are open now, even if registration isn't yet.) 

One word of caution: if you're sure you want to come to Rocktober, we recommend you register for the open track ASAP. We are happy to let you upgrade your pass to the audition track later if you make it, but if the open track is full, it is full. Registration should go live on or near May 1.

Out of the videos submitted, 20 leads and 20 follows will be admitted to the audition track on a "rolling" basis, beginning July 1. From the date you get your acceptance, you have two weeks to register or decline. Your spot will be held for two weeks. If you decline, or don't respond at all within the two week window, someone else may be admitted in your place. [If you later decide you *do* want to come, and there is an open spot, you're still welcome to register, but the spot will only be held for two weeks.]

Videos will be accepted from now until the Audition track is full. (Yes, including after July 1. If there are still spots, we are still taking videos.)  Admission will continue until the spaces have been filled. 

We tested out this format (video pre-auditions, small progressive class with K&J all weekend) last year, and it was a blast.  Everyone who came loved it, Kevin and Jo loved it, and we are psyched to do it again.  But this year we're also adding a non-audition "open" track that will *also* have a single set of instructors (Mike Roberts and Laura Glaess) all weekend and will be intense, progressive classes.

The open track will be mixed-level, and by all that is holy we will do everything in our power to make sure it is balanced. (We can't control for people just not showing up to class, but we swear to micromanage it on the reg side.) 

The open track, too, will nerd out hardcore with Mike and Laura for the weekend. The classes will be progressive

There will also be dance passes, if you just wanna come dance to awesome live musicAwesome live music will be made for dancin' to on both Friday and Saturday evenings by Robert Bell and his Hot Swing Combo

Extra special bonus plug: let us film your audition video at CBUS7.   SwingColumbus also hosts an exchange called CBUS.  This year, we will have a video camera all tri-podded up and ready to go at the CBUS evening dances. You can film your audition tape on the SwingColumbus HD camera, and we will upload it to the youtubes for you and everything.

You still have to fill out an audition form and send in the link with all your information to formally apply. But we will take one step out of the hassle for you, because we love our local and regional dancers and we want you at Rocktober.  


  1. Oh yay! Now that you are on the planning committee you will now get to finally make Masters Track!

  2. I'm not going to lie and pretend like I don't have the option to be in the audition track. I did it last year. Depending on who auditions, I will probably do it again this year.

    But thank you, (Michael?) for bringing up an important point:

    We're not calling it a "masters track," for a reason. Simply put, it probably won't be one, in that it won't be filled with "master" dancers. It will be filled with what will hopefully be a well-matched cohort of extremely motivated-to-learn dancers, though, and it WILL be extremely high quality instruction on the personal-attention level that people might expect when they hear "masters track."

  3. Well don't turn it down if offered and have fun!

  4. And matching the dancers is always better than simply calling them masters. Masters tracks are usually over rated anyhow, with the better classes being for the "advanced" dancers, or the solo classes.

    But anyhow, it is good you are realizing that the title of a track is not as important as being properly placed. From that one blog of yours where you were surly in class because you were placed where you thought you were supposed to be, even after a petition, it seemed like perhaps that had not sunk in.

  5. I fail to see me valuing well-matched dancers within a track is mutually exclusive with me thinking I'd been misplaced at an event, even if there were some magical way of determining that I was objectively wrong.

    At any rate, if you are going to make any more comments about my surliness or swipes at me for not auditioning into top tracks, you can do it with your name on it. I have disabled anonymous commenting.

    If you would like to continue a conversation about things-that-are-not-Rocktober, feel free to email me at parrotcatblog [at]