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"They are poets of gesture."

- George Balanchine, commenting on his dancers.


All students must complete an audition profile on our virtual audition platform, Acceptd. We will share the link once the portal to register is open in January 2021. Students will have until February 1, 2021 to upload all of their audition materials. Auditions begin, Wednesday, February 3, and are scheduled by art department and the first letter of your last name. Please be sure to review all requirements outlined below. Once you create a profile, and upload all of your materials, you will log-in the day of your audition and join us virtually!

In addition to the suggestions below on creating a studio in your own home, please note that you should be in a quiet and well-lit space, be sure that your computer or phone are fully charged and functioning properly. While we understand that many of you may be uncomfortable on camera, that is a requirement for all auditions. All virtual auditions just like in-person auditions are closed to parents/guardians, family members or peers. If there is anyone else in the room with you during your audition, you may be disqualified. If you leave during your audition, you may also be disqualified.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above, please contact the Admissions Office at or call 202-631-3129.

What We are Looking For

At Ellington we are here to teach – prior training is certainly valued, but we are first and foremost evaluating your potential and passion for dance. During your audition we will be looking for students who:

  • Physically and verbally express their passion for the art of dance,
  • Show a strong desire to work diligently on technique,
  • Display a willingness to accept discipline and/or positive correction,
  • Exhibit flexibility, a natural sense of movement, musicality, an innate ability to follow directions, maintain a positive attitude at all times and the physique & stamina appropriate for rigorous dance.

What to Wear/How to Prepare

Students auditioning for the dance department MUST:

  • Arrive ON TIME to your virtual audition, late arrivals may be disqualified
  • Girls: Wear leotards and footless tights, wear white socks and ballet shoes,
  • Boys: Wear black footless tights, white tank top, dance belt (supporter – not jockstrap), regular belt around the waist, white socks and ballet shoes,
  • Have hair pulled back, away from face in a tight bun, secured with a thin hairnet,
  • Remove all jewelry,
  • Remove all fingernail and toenail polish.

Creating a Studio in Your Home

Students should create the following environment in order to have a successful audition:

  • Turn on all lights so that you are well lit from the floor to your head.
  • Position the camera so the whole body is visible on screen.
  • Try to limit your background and surrounding space (close closet doors, make the bed, remove clothing/objects from the foreground/background, push furniture to the side to create as much space as possible)

In addition to the materials sent in for your Ellington application through MySchoolDC, before your virtual audition you must upload the following to the Acceptd Audition Platform:

  1. A physical from the current school year or a medical form from your doctor, clearing you for participation in a rigorous dance program. If you have questions on what you can bring, please contact
  2. Two (2) 8×10″ photographs: one (1) head shot (portrait) and one (1) full body shot.
    • If you cannot provide photographs, please contact us at

The Virtual Audition Process Itself

For your virtual audition you will participate in a dance class involving both ballet and modern techniques, as well as strength and conditioning. No solo dances are performed during the audition – you do not need to prepare any choreography!

Dance auditions happen in multiple stages: an initial audition, and then two rounds of callbacks for selected students. If selected to continue the audition process in the callbacks, participation in each session is mandatory in order to be considered for dance at Ellington.

Have a successful audition

Show us you mean business – arrive in the virtual wait room early, prepared to dance, with all required documentation uploaded and required attire. Stay focused. Late arrivals will not be permitted to join the virtual session and may have to join the next session, applicants who are not attired as directed or who do not have all required documentation, as described above, will not be allowed to audition. We do not permit late auditions. If you attend Day 1 but miss Day 2 (or vice versa) you will no longer be able to audition and continue with the admissions process.  Due to the high number of dance applicants, dance auditions cannot be rescheduled. You must participate in all days of the dance auditions for which you are selected – dancers who advance beyond the 2-day audition must attend callback and/or final callback auditions as scheduled.


  • All departments offer Virtual Audition Workshops in December and January to help students prepare for their official audition. Students who participate will be able to learn what to bring, review the audition procedures, learn how to build a portfolio, present their work with confidence and prepare their work for the audition. Visit for more information and how to sign up – workshops cost $10. This fee can be waived for special circumstances, please email if you would like to request one.
  • Auditions begin the first week of February 2021 – immediately after the application deadline! Make sure to visit our website to review the audition schedule. Auditions are scheduled through the Acceptd Virtual Audition platform, for all students who successfully apply via MySchoolDC. You must view your audition date and time based on your art department and the first letter of your last name.