Frequently Asked Questions

How many dancers generally show up to audition for the company?

Usually between 50 to 75 people. Approximately 25-30 dancers are chosen to be part of the company each year.  

What are you looking for in an Orchesis member?

First, and foremost, the directors are looking for people who LOVE dance! Beyond this, we look for performance quality, technical skill, rhythmic execution, and the ability to both dance with a group and possess a personal style. As a company member, reliability, time management skills, an open mind, and maturity are valued.

Does a dancer have to be equally skilled in all dance forms to be chosen as a member?

No. It is not uncommon for a participant to feel weaker in one or two forms of dance and stronger in a third and still be chosen for the company. The directors look at the overall profile of the dancer so a weakness in one area may be overlooked if there is strength in another area that balances it. Also taken into consideration is the overall makeup of the company. A ballet dancer with limited experience in jazz or modern dance may be selected if the prospective company appears to need more experience in that area. 

Are returning Orchesis dancers automatically selected the next year? 

No. Returning dancers must re-audition each year with exception of the Administrative Interns who were chosen by directors from dancers who were in the company during the previous season. 

I am a registered Cal Poly student and want to dance but am not involved in the class activities. Can I be a member of Orchesis without enrolling in Danc 345 and 346?

No, all dancers must enroll in DANC345 during Fall Quarter and DANC346 in Winter Quarter. Any unit load issues can be discussed with the Orchesis director. If you’d like to dance in the concert but do not want to be in the company, or are not chosen, you may enroll in DANC331 or DANC332. These courses are repertory classes in which the enrolled dancers learn a piece that will be performed in the January Orchesis concert.

Can I be involved in Orchesis and still fulfill a demanding major?

Yes. Orchesis requires a large time commitment but with good time management most students are quite successful in juggling dance and their major activities. There are many examples of these successes from all Cal Poly majors including extremely demanding majors such as architecture.

I am a first-year student. Should I wait a year before joining Orchesis?

This varies depending on the individual. Orchesis has included many freshmen who have gone on to dance with Orchesis for subsequent years. However, the first year away from home in a challenging academic environment can be stressful for some students and it is important for each person to weigh their circumstances carefully. If you choose not to audition as a freshman, it is highly advised that you enroll in dance classes within the Dance Program. By doing this you will not only work on your skills but also start getting to know dancers and faculty within the program with whom you will work with as a dancer with the Orchesis Dance Company.

I work on the weekends. Is it still possible for me to be in Orchesis?

Yes, but be aware that guest artist residencies and some student choreographer rehearsals occur on the weekends so your involvement in multiple pieces may be limited. Additionally, technical rehearsals and some of the concerts are on the weekends and these events are mandatory so one will need to plan ahead to make sure to take those days off.

Is the Cal Poly Dance Team part of Orchesis?

No, they are separate entities.

Do I have to be a member of Orchesis in order to pursue a Dance Minor degree?

No. Many of our Dance Minors are not company members. Dancing in Orchesis, however, almost completely fulfills the dance minor elective units so many company members choose to pursue the minor. For further information on the Minor, contact Dance Program Head Diana Stanton at

Image: Brittany App
2020, 50th annual concert: "50"
Choreography by Mike Esperanza (guest artist)
Lighting Design by Clint Bryson (staff)
Dancers: 2019-20 Orchesis Dance Company dancers

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