Insider Secrets

How to Succeed as a Dancer Without an Agent

27-Oct-2011

Every dancer's dream is to go to a big city, sign with an agent, and let them set up auditions and jobs. However sometimes it’s more likely a dancer will have do it alone.

To succeed in the world of professional dance, it takes more than just talent. You need to do some serious legwork outside the studio, especially if you do not have an agent. Here are some tips to survive without an agent.

You Need to Keep Taking Dance Classes

This may be an obvious tip, but even professional dancers (or, especially those who want to become professional dancers) need to keep taking classes. This not only helps you keep your body and mind at top performance levels, but it also is a good sign for auditioners. The fact that you are still taking class shows a choreographer that you are willing to put in the extra effort.

Dance classes are also good venues to keep in touch with, or to meet, important people in the industry. You should seek out classes being offered by a choreographer you would like to work with.This might mean hoping on a plane to Sydney or Melbourne from time to time. Or, enrolling in workshops that interstate dancers/Choreographers are holding in Perth. By taking these classes, you can get a feel for what an audition with that particular choreographer would be like, giving you  a possible edge over other dancers .

You should make sure that you are projecting a positive image in class, by dressing in a way that highlights your best features. You should show a personal style. You should also work hard , be attentive in class. It’s also a good idea to ask a question or two to the choreographer or ask for a re run over a part in the routine so you get noticed.

Networking for Dancers – the key to success.

Typically, choreographers prefer to work with dancers that they know, and dancers who can handle their style. Getting in the door with a choreographer typically happens in the studio. Again, you should make sure you take classes with the choreographers you want to audition for, or at least someone in the choreographer's circle. When taking any class, dancers should introduce themselves to the teachers, fellow classmates, and studio staff. Even if it takes a few times, they will start to remember names and faces. Be brave, make a point of going up and putting your hand out and saying hi! .This will make you stand out from the other 40 people. In addition to that go up and personally thank the choreographer for the class and tell them you enjoyed it. Choreographers have strong egos,that’s why they are successful. They are also looking for feedback from the class and really appreciate a thankyou at the end. They are human too! Don’t be like the others dancers and walk in and out without saying anything. The important part here is that you have to be, and get noticed. After a couple of classes they will become more familiar with you and you are far more likely to be remembered if they are looking for a dancer. If you are from interstate let them know that you travelled all this way to be in their class. This will impress them as well. Any one on one contact helps.

Dancers trying to make it as professionals may find themselves being offered low paying "small" jobs or gigs. Work the hardest on these smaller projects, it can project your name through the ranks of professional contacts. If a dancer becomes known for being punctual, reliable, a hard worker, fun, and ready for anything, this may set him or her apart from other dancers in a future audition. Let your true character shine!

Social Networking or Internet Contacts for Dancers

If a dancer's name starts being circulated in the industry; he or she needs to make sure there is a "web presence" to back it up. Web presence is anything that would result from someone searching the dancer's name on an internet search engine.

Easy ways to project a strong web presence are through Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, or an online dance community. Videos, pictures, and information can be posted online to highlight your strengths and previous experience. Get a web page made up. You can get these made for a couple of hundred bucks now or make a free wordpress page or blog. It’s very important that the information on these pages remains professional and about you, your dance career and experiences. Don’t start chats about your personal life. Start a second Facebook profile just about dancing if you like. Praise Choreographers and great classes you have attended as well. If you have a web page designed for you. Get one you can update yourself with the latest workshops and jobs you have done. At first you may not have a lot to show, but believe me, in time, you will have an impressive list on your pages.

While working to project yourself into the professional side of dance, be who you truly are . Sometimes, dancers without agents to guide them can try anything to make themselves more marketable. If you are not showing your true selves, however, it will not work in the long run. By deciding which personal traits you already have, and highlighting them, you can work to build your  professional persona more successfully.

A really important part about being successful is being upbeat. Be positive in your language. Be a “can do” person. People do not want to hear what is going wrong in your life. How it’s all too hard or your sick and  your ankle hurts. If you are a joy to be around people will want to be around you. Smile till your face falls off and fake it till you make it! If you think, act and ‘BE’  like a professional dancer, the universe will make you one.

Taking classes, networking, and creating a positive web presence will help to open the door for you in the professional arena. Of course, success still depends on dance ability; however, these tips  will assist you in making personal connections in the industry. As long as you work hard at all aspects of your career, you CAN  succeed without an agent.