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How to Create Score Sheets for Dance Auditions of Multiple Ages & Skill Levels

I love giving useful advice to those interested in the art of dance.

When preparing to organize and run a dance audition, one of the most important things to consider is the structure of the score sheets. Sometimes creating a score sheet can be a very daunting task because of multiple genres, skill levels, and ages. The following is a guide to assist instructors, coaches, studio owners, etc. through the process of making a score sheet that is right for their particular audition.

Photo by article author

Photo by article author

Ballet

As the foundation of all dance, ballet is usually a critical step in the audition process. Creating a score sheet that accurately showcases a dancer's technical skill level as well as their grasp of terminology is important. There are many ways to score a ballet audition and below are the two most common, basic scoring methods.

Ballet barre

If a barre is being included in the scoring, be sure to leave plenty of time to complete it.

The following are things that should absolutely be included on a ballet barre score sheet:

  • Plies (10 points)
  • Tendus/degages (10 points)
  • Ron de jambe/adagio (10 points)
  • Grand battement (10 points)

Plies are the base of all dance, including ballet. A judge is able to tell a great deal about a dancer's technique simply by watching their plies. Scoring should be based on turn out, foot placement, arm/head placement, lift of carriage, execution of plies, etc.

Tendus and degages allow the judges the get a look at how a dancer uses their feet. They can either be done together or separately (separately takes more time, but does give the judges more time to examine the technique). Dancers should be judged on their carriage placement, arm placement, straight legs, turn out, connecting with the floor, push through the toes, etc.

Ron de jambes and adagio are important to include because they show how the dancer is able to control their body. Judges should look for full rotation of the leg in ron de jambe, turn out from the hips, stillness of hips, placement of arms and head, lifted carriage, proper body alignment, etc.

Last to be done at the barre is always grand battement. This will not only show technique, but flexibility. Scoring should be based on carriage placement, straight legs, pointed feet, brush/push through the floor, turn out, arm/head placement, etc.


Ballet skills

There are a few basic skills that are very telling as to a dancer's technique and are good to have on the score sheet instead of barre to save time.

  • Chaines (5 points)
  • Pique turns (10 points)
  • Tombe pas de bouree glissade grand jete or saute de chat (10 points)
  • Pirouette (10 points)

When doing skills such as these, it is important to remember that there will be dancers of varying ages and skill levels. By giving the dancer choices with each skill they are able to truly showcase everything they do well. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Chaines 1-3 slow speed; 4-5 quick speed
  • Pique turns 1-5 points for 4 straight pique turns; 6-7 points for pique turns in a square; 8-9 points for 4 straight piques with 1+ double pique; 10 points for 4 piques alternating singles and doubles
  • Tombe pas de bouree glissade grand jete 1-5 points grand jete; 6-10 points saute de chat
  • Pirouette 1-4 points for passe releve balance; 5-6 single; 7-8 double; 9-10 triple

When dancers are showing chaines, judges should look for straight legs, high releve, correct arm placement, strong spot and both legs turned out. Because this is ballet, arms should be curved in second and in first fingers should line up with the belly button.

Pique turns have a few more things to be considered such as straight supporting leg, correct retire position, high releve, correct arm placement, both legs turned out, pointed feet and strong spot.

In piques the correct retire is derriere.

Tombe pas de bouree glissade leap should have turned out legs, pointed feet, correct arm placement, correct placement of torso, straight legs in the air, use of plie and height. Regardless of which leap is chosen (grand jete or saute de chat) leap should travel up, not out. A grand jete is executed with a straight front leg that brushes and a saute de chat passes through develope.

Keeping in mind that the pirouette that is shown should be a ballet pirouette, judges should look for full demi plie in prep, turned out feet in prep, high releve, correct passe placement, correct arm placement, strong spot, clean landing. If a dancers is not able to turn, they are able to show a correct retire passe en releve.

In ballet the passe should be devant retire in a pirouette.

Combination (with either barre or skills)

Each of the following is worth a total of 15 points:

  • Technique (all technical elements executed correctly with proper leg, carriage and arm placement)
  • Performance (high energy consistent throughout, strong facials, extending through limbs, hitting accents)
  • Musicality (correct counting, staying at correct tempo)
  • Overall (how each of the above elements blend, each element should be represented equally)
Created by the author

Created by the author

Jazz

Jazz is another commonly used style to determine a dancer's skill level as well as their versatility of styles. As with ballet, there should be a place to judge appearance (5 points). The following are base skills that can be included in a jazz audition:

  • Splits (5 points)
  • Chaines (5 points)
  • Side battement (10 points)
  • Leap (10 points)
  • Pirouette (10 points)
  • Skill of Choice (10 points)

As with the ballet scoring, the jazz skills are broken down so dancers of multiple skill levels are able to earn points.

  • Splits 1-2 points for 1 split; 3-4 for 2 splits; 5 for 3 splits
  • Chaines 1-3 slow speed; 4-5 quick speed
  • Side battement/leg hold 1-3 for right or left battement; 4-6 for both right and left battements; 7-8 for right or left side leg hold; 9-10 for both right and left leg holds
  • Leap 1-3 saute de chat; 4-6 side leap; 7-8 calypso; 9-10 switch leap
  • Pirouette 1-4 passe releve balance; 5-6 single; 7-8 double; 9-10 triple
  • Skill of choice 1-4 needs improvement; 5-8 half correct; 9-10 90%-100% correct

Delving in a little deeper into each skill, first up is the splits. Legs should be straight as possible, pointed feet, turned out, torso straight, shoulders over hips and be able to get into and out of a split gracefully. If a dancer does not have a flat split, but does have straight legs and a lifted torso with pointed feet, a higher amount of points should be earned. If a dancer does have a flat split, they should put their arms up to show they have balance and control.

Chaine technique is the same for jazz as for ballet with only a minor change. The arms should be lengthened to the side, palms down in second and fingers in line with the sternum in first position rather than rounded and lowered.

Battements and leg holds are a great way for dancers to showcase their technique and flexibility at one time. In both, legs should be straight, pointed and turned out with lifted carriage and strong arms. For the leg hold, dancers can get into it with a brush or a develope. If develope is chosen, dancer must keep their shoulders up and over their hips and bring the leg up through passe to them, not reach down for it.

All four of the leaps listed above should have a deep demi plie preparation, roll through the feet in take off and landing, clean landing, correctly placed legs/arms, pointed feet, travel up and have turned out legs.

Pirouette technique should be judged as the ballet pirouette. The only difference in the actual pirouette is passe is parallel and arms are slightly higher in first. The preparation should also be parallel with the back foot popped and the arms in a straight L.

For the skill of choice, dancers should be able to tell the judges the name of the skill before they perform it. The skill should not be something that has already been shown. This is a chance for the dancer to show of what they are capable.

Combination

Each of the following is worth a total of 10 points, except for overall which is worth 15 points:

  • Technique (all technical elements executed correctly with proper leg, carriage and arm placement)
  • Performance (high energy consistent throughout, strong facials, extending through limbs, hitting accents)
  • Musicality (correct counting, staying at correct tempo)
  • Overall (how each of the above elements blend, each element should be represented equally)
Created by the author

Created by the author

Tap

A more specialized genre of dance is tap. Generally speaking ballet and jazz dancers are able to cross over into the other style fairly easily. Tap is a whole other ball game. It is a completely different way of moving and utilizes much different skills than other genres. The audition should start with 5 points for appearance which includes tap shoes. These are some very basic skills that show a dancer's tap ability:

  • Flaps (10 points)
  • Shuffles (5 points)
  • Cramproll (5 points)
  • Irish (10 points)
  • Buffalo (10 points)
  • Maxi ford (10 points)
  • Skill of Choice (5 points)

As with the previous two genres listed above, this scoring allows dancers a choice to earn points based on their skill level rather than simply receiving no points for one of the skills.

  • Flaps 1-3 straight medium speed flaps; 4-7 running flaps; 8-10 running flaps in a square
  • Shuffles 1-5 shuffle step, once right, once left
  • Cramproll 1-3 straight; 4-5 turning
  • Irish 1-3 single; 4-5 four singles crossing; 6-7 double; 8-10 four doubles crossing
  • Buffalo 1 single; 2-3 single with turn; 4-5 double; 6-7 double with turn; 8-9 triple; 10 triple with turn
  • Maxi ford 1-4 straight; 5-6 turning; 7-8 straight with pick ups; 9-10 turning with pick up
  • Skill of choice 1-2 needs much improvement; 3-4 half correct; 5 90%-100% correct

Each of the skills has it's own unique things for which to look, but all need to have the appropriate amount of sounds. Sounds should be separate, clear and clean.

Flaps should be executed on the balls of the feet with picked up feet.

A flap should have 2 sounds.

Shuffles should only be done with the front tap of the shoes, no heel dropping and a picked up knee

Shuffle has 2 sounds, but as a shuffle step is what is listed on the score sheet judges should be listening for 3 sounds per foot.

A cramproll is completed by going on the ball of one foot, then the other, dropping one heel, then the other. This means this step should have 4 sounds.

Irish is listed as single or double. A single is a shuffle with one foot, a hop on the opposite and a step on the foot that shuffled. Doubles are the same except they end with a flap rather than a step. The shuffle should be completed correctly with only the front tap of the shoe and the hop should be done on the ball of the foot.

A single should have 4 sounds, a double should have 5.

Buffalos are listed on the score sheet as either single, double or triple. A single begins with a step, opposite foot shuffles to side, jump onto foot that shuffled pulling other foot to front of ankle, flexed. A double begins with a flap and a triple with a shuffle.

This means that a single should have 4 sounds, a double should have 5 and a triple 6 sounds.

The final skill listed is a Maxi ford. It begins with a step, a shuffle with the opposite foot out to the side, jump onto the foot that shuffled and toe tip other foot behind. The shuffle should be done with only the front tap and weight should be distributed correctly between the feet. When adding a pick up, the foot that steps does a pick up (also known as a pull back). This is done by lifting the toes, jumping up and allowing the foot to tap and step slightly back.

A Maxi ford has 5 sounds. When a pick up/pull back is added is 6 sounds total.

As with the jazz skill of choice, dancer should be able to tell the judges the correct name of the step and execute correctly with the correct number of sounds.

Combination

Each of the following is worth a total of 10 points, except for overall which is worth 15 points:

  • Technique (all technical elements executed correctly with proper leg, carriage and arm placement)
  • Performance (high energy consistent throughout, strong facials, extending through limbs, hitting accents)
  • Musicality (correct counting, staying at correct tempo)
  • Overall (how each of the above elements blend, each element should be represented equally)
Created by author

Created by author

Tallying

Each judge's sheet is a total of 100 points. Add together all the points earned for the total and write the total at the bottom. There are then 2 ways to go about finishing the tallies: adding together to get 300 or taking an average of the 3 judges. (For additional information how scores should be separated, see my article on planning an audition)

What if there are more than 3 judges, then how are scores tallied?

For four judges, throw out the lowest score and only use the other 3. With 5 judges, throw out both the highest and lowest score and tally using only the other 3.

It is always safest to have more than 3 judges lined up just in case one is unable to attend at the last minute. Then use the one of the 2 methods above to tally.

Article on Planning an Audition

Conclusions & Final Tips

This particular scoring may not work for everyone or for every audition. Feel free to use this method as a base, then adjust to fit the needs of the audition. For example, if the audition is for professional dancers, those hiring may not want to offer such basic skills such as chaines and flaps.

Hopefully this was a helpful guide to creating a fair scoring sheet for dancers of all skill levels and ages. If there are any questions or would like additional information, feel free to comment on this article or contact the author through HubPages. Thank you for reading!