Today’s post was inspired by a post from 2018 where I shared 3 things dancers need to have a successful career in dance. Since revisiting that post, I figured that now was the perfect time to expand on that post. I’ve had so many opportunities, living my dream of performing for different artists and companies – in addition to starting my own business in dance services.
In addition to new performances, I’ve also been on the other side as a choreographer, judge, and instructor. The last 6-7 years of professional dancing include performing for TV, live performances, festivals, music videos, and musicals. I’ve had the pleasure of choreographing for dance competitions, burlesque shows, and festivals as well as shows that I helped co-direct and produce. Not to mention the dozens of auditions where I’ve participated or judged. All of these experiences culminate to help me gain wisdom and insight into this evolving industry.
This post is a list of 5 things that I believe every professional and aspiring professional dancer should have. Having all of these things won’t guarantee you a career in dance, but it will definitely help set you apart and prepare you for your journey. If you are a dancer thinking about getting started or a dancer who’s looking to get back into the industry – this post is perfect for you.
Regardless of the industry, you will always need a resume. A resume is essentially a professional rap sheet, documenting your talents and experience. If you are just getting started and lack experience, take this time to fill it up! The easiest way to do this is to TRAIN! Take as many classes, workshops, and intensives as you can. Until you are booking gigs, the next best thing to have on your resume is your training. This will give choreographers, directors, and talent agents an idea of where your skills lie. Your resume is something that you will continuously improve and edit. As long as you are working on your craft, your resume should reflect that!
Being in the media/arts industry, having a headshot is a given. Headshots are photos usually of your face and maybe your upper torso to give to directors/choreographers at the time of the audition. Most auditions ask for a headshot along with a copy of your resume. Your headshots should be simple in style and neutral/minimal in makeup. Your headshot should showcase your natural beauty. Most headshots are taken in front of a solid background with a solid color top. The focus of the photo is your face. If you can, try to get your photo professionally taken. If not, have a friend take a close-up photo of you. No selfies!
In addition to having a headshot, it is ideal to have action shots. Photos taken of you in your element. Again if you can have them done professionally in a studio where you can plan and organize a few shots. These action shots should feature you doing some of your best/favorite turns, leaps, or poses. These photos usually aren’t required for auditions but I’ve come to find that I like having photos like this on file. It helps when I am performing at a festival and they need a photo. Or if I am promoting my dance services. Action shots give you a bit of leverage and make you look like the professional you are.
Professional Email Address
We are not getting audition notices, contracts, and invoices sent to hotgirlcandy9900 or hotboy9800 at gmail.com. It can be as simple as your first and last name but your email address should be something easily identified and professional. If you wouldn’t want your mom to give out your email address aloud to anyone then maybe that’s not the ideal email. My email is my business name so it’s easy to remember, professional, and coincides with all of my platforms. This one may be a bit subjective but remember these suggestions are to help you stand out in the best way possible.
We live in the digital days of social media and video content. It is beneficial to have a platform where you have your portfolio on display. Whether that is Instagram, YouTube, or even your own website – an online platform where people can see what you do is crucial in today’s age. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve applied for an audition and they request my social media information. I’ve also had instances where I may have been speaking to a colleague about a dancer and they always ask if they have an Instagram. If your platform is set up for success, you may possibly book a gig through your platform alone. It doesn’t always happen but it’s POSSIBLE.
I may be a bit biased but if I had to recommend a platform, it would be to have your own website. Not just a Wix page or Squarespace but a domain that you own. If IG dies tomorrow and all of your content is on there, then you’ve lost all of your content. Not to mention any content we post on social media doesn’t belong to us. While I still post to my IG, I also make sure to have my website (the one you’re reading this on) so I know whenever I post on here, it’s mine. You can also put your headshot, resume, and services if you offer any, as well as give full details about you and your artistry. If you are interested in setting up a site like this one, let me know! I’d be more than glad to help! Plus it’s easier to have one central location to send someone to if you’re giving someone an elevator pitch and are short on time. (Because sometimes that happens!)
Reputable Online Payment Method
We are living in an era of digitalization. Pretty much every facet of the business, it can be done online. Payment is the exact same way. While you can still get paid in paper checks sometimes, you may receive a large percentage of your payments via direct deposit or through an online payment service. I receive payments through PayPal, Venmo, or direct deposit. You want to have an account set up through a bank or credit union to link your online payment services. I recommend opting for PayPal or Venmo because it’s more reputable and it’s easier to track money flow. Also, these services are more accepted and preferred on a large scale.
This post focused more on the business side of dance but I feel like this aspect isn’t talked about enough. When talking to aspiring dancers we always speak of taking classes, working out, and auditioning but never what to do once we are ready to take that next step. I wanted this post to help take the guesswork out of what to do next. I hope this post has helped you get an idea of how to position yourself for success and set yourself up as the professional you are!
If you are an aspiring dancer and the idea of taking classes with others gives you anxiety or if you rather have a private coach, check out my dance services. We can collaboratively create a plan for you catered to your specific goals and timeline. This is also ideal for those interested in preparing for audition season for a team or company. Feel free to contact me to set up your consultation today!
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“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls.”Merce Cunningham
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