Pro Dance Auditions- What to do when you don’t make the cut

Audition Advice Dance NBA NFL

Pro Dance Auditions- What to do when you don’t make the cut

You auditioned and didn’t make it. What now?

It’s audition season and emotions are running high! You’re either right in the middle of an audition process, prepping for your first day of prelims, or the final results are in & the team has been announced. Regardless of where you are, let’s take a step back and talk about the reality of this venture.

Most dancers, if not all, grow up dreaming of making it big one day. For me, I was convinced I’d be dancing in music videos on MTV or on tour as a back-up dancer for a famous singer. Fortunately, or unfortunately I’d hope for all of you, that dream didn’t come true. Instead, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to dance professionally for 9 years. During those years, I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities; traveling, performing, choreographing, leading, teaching, learning, and growing as an individual and dancer. Making the decision to audition for a professional sports dance/cheer team was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I sit back and think about this amazing experience I’ve journeyed through, I consider myself “one of the lucky ones”.

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Take a moment and think about the number of professional sports teams in the NFL and NBA that actually have dancers/cheerleaders. There aren’t very many. Now, think about the total number of dancers/cheerleaders per team. Again, not many. Depending on the sports team, city and/or dance/cheer team, you might see anywhere from 50 to 350 dancers per audition. Most teams only select about 20 young women. Needless to say, being chosen as a representative of that sports team is quite an accomplishment. You are one of a select few across the country living out her dream. You would be doing something hundreds of other young women aspire to do….and that’s where reality hits you…hard.

That reality is that not everyone makes the team. It could be you, the girl next to, your friend or a veteran of the team. It’s a harsh reality but something we often times forget about. Let’s face it, we’re focused on doing everything we can to make the team!

Some of the best advice I have ever been given when it comes to auditioning for a pro team is “prepare yourself for both outcomes”. Prepare yourself to make the team and prepare yourself to not make the team. Going into an audition can be scary. Especially since you don’t know what the coach is looking for. All you can do is do your very best.

While it’s easy to prepare yourself to make the team because, let’s face, that’s our ultimate goal; it can be tough to prepare ourselves for the worst. However, it’s important that we do. Believe it or not, coaches look at everyone and how they react to any given situation even after the team has been announced. How will you react if you don’t make the team? Will you be supportive of those young women who did? Will you maintain composure until you have a moment alone? Are you already thinking about what you can do to ensure you make next year’s team?

Sure, you will be upset but keep in mind everyone worked just as hard, went through the same process and earned her spot. It just might not have been your year. The reality is the coach has a budget to pay a certain number of teammates, and not everyone can make the team!

So, what can you do if the worst happens and you don’t make the cut this year? Let’s look at the positive. After all, I am an optimist.

Prepare yourself for next year’s audition. Reach out to the coach and ask for feedback. Stay in touch with those you auditioned with, whether they made the team or not. Prepare together. Take classes and challenge yourself with new or difficult dance styles. Create a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, as being a professional dancer requires you to be fit and healthy. Seek opportunities to participate in mock auditions or clinics hosted by the pro team you are auditioning for. Learn from your experience and give it another shot! You have nothing to lose. Focus on that preparation. Always remember to prepare yourself to make the team, prepare yourself to not make the team, and above all don’t forget to prepare yourself for next year’s audition.


Although I ended up being the captain on NBA dance team, it took me three attempts to finally make my college dance team. I’m so glad I continued preparing for that next audition and working toward my goal. Because of that preparation, I achieved my goal and have catapulted myself into spending 9 amazing years doing what I love for some of the most elite professional teams in the country. Don’t let one (or two or three) “No” prevent you from trying again and hearing that “Yes”.


If you are interested in getting some real training for auditions, take a look at our Audition Blueprint! It’s a digital training course you can check out at your own pace. It gives you everything you could ever want to know about auditions. We’ve combed through 25 years of experience and 12 years of dancing professionally to give you the highlights of what really made that difference.

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Best of luck! Let us know how it goes. Comment below with your own personal story of auditions!

Happy Feet Always,

Britt & Jess

Written by Brittany Hagan