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How to Create a Dynamic College Tryout Solo

Performing a 30 second to 1 minute solo at a college dance tryout is not an unusual thing to ask. It is actually a great opportunity for you to highlight your strengths as a dancer to the judges. Today I am going to break down the top 3 things you need to be thinking about to create the ideal solo that will help push you to the top of the candidate list at tryouts.

Tip 1: Know your style strength

If you have the luxury of choosing your solo style then you need to have an honest conversation with yourself on what style fits you best. This does NOT mean what style you like to perform! I am talking about the right style that fits your body type, personal skill set, and movement style.

Personally I love to perform lyrical contemporary, because I feel a deep connection with music and like to fully dive into emotion. However, this is NOT my style strength… My style strength is jazz. Due to my pom background I am very good at executing strong fast movement and clean lines.

You can also solicit advice from your coach and or dance teacher. Ask them, “what style of dance do you think my movement style performs best in?”

Tip 2: List out what skills you will display

This is very important. If you are a great turner, then you should display a strong turn sequence. If you are a dynamic jumper, then show off those skills. All in all you need to make sure you are demonstrating skills that you know you can hit 10 out of 10 times without even thinking about it. Now of course you need to sprinkle in all techniques that you can do, but a strong focus should be on what you are BEST at!

For example, I am not the best turner in the world. Never have been and never will be, however I can do airborne skills like no-ones business. So for my solo, I will make sure to do at least 1-3 strong turning elements (doubles, triples, fouettes) and then jam pack the rest of my solo with elevated skills (switch russian, turning discs, released calypsos, etc)

Second part to this is to make sure to include skills that are NOT included in the actual tryout. Now let's be clear, you will NOT know exactly what is being performed in the dance combos that you need to perform. However, if you have done your research (AKA gone to a clinic and/or read the tryout requirements) you have an idea of what you will show. So pick additional skills that are not on that list to execute.

Remember, judges will already see you do the required skills during the tryout process. Your solo is the opportunity to show them more of what you can do.

Tip 3: Practice, Record, Revise

Once you have created your solo make sure you take time to work on it by practicing it at least 2-3 times a week. When it gets closer to tryouts I suggest performing it at least once a day to keep it fresh.

During the practice stage, record yourself performing and check it out to make sure you are executing every move the way that you want it to look. Below are a few things to look for:

  • Smooth transitions

  • Proper technique execution

  • Performance quality

Lastly, as your routine becomes more and more comfortable, don’t be afraid to revise it by adding or taking away skills and choreography that you don’t feel highlight you in the best way. Just like a research paper in English class, choreography is NEVER fully done… it just becomes DUE! You could make a thousand and one changes to a dance for forever and ever, the only reason we don’t is that eventually you have to finally perform it.

It’s ok to continue to tweak your dance, however I caution tweaking the two weeks before the tryout. You want to make sure you are fully comfortable with what you will be showing the judges and If you are still making changes you may blank out and forget the choreography under the pressure.

Well that is it for the Top 3 tips on creating a dynamic college tryout dance solo. If you want to learn more from The Spirit Academy and have a step by step guide to help you tryout for your upcoming college tryout, click here to join The Spirit Academy and get my weekly tips, tricks, and secrets to a successful tryout process.


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