Hey there everyone and welcome to another blog post! Today we are talking tips for the working dancer to help you navigate the business side of the dance industry. Just like any other career field, the dance industry is far more than what meets the eye and there are many advantageous ways to navigate the dance industry that will better increase your chances of having a fulfilling career. One filled with longevity and satisfaction, without having to compromise your mental health and personal ideals. So, in this post, we will be sharing seven tips that will aid in building a fruitful career journey that will keep you going for both a good time and a long time. Let’s jump right into our first tip!
- Networking Is Your Best Friend
Whether we love it or hate it, we live in a media driven age. Online platforms are the way of the business world in almost every single industry and the dance industry is no different. By being active with your dance colleges online and establishing new connections along the way, you build meaningful relationships with other dancers and choreographers in your niche that can lead to advantageous projects for the both of you. My favorite platform to do this is on LinkedIn. Though not as widely referred to as Instagram or Facebook may be, LinkedIn is a hub of all trades and you’ll find many dancers who want to establish business connections to build their brand, post job opportunity listings and more. It’s an awesome tool that yields awesome networking benefits as you use it.
- Manage Your Schedule Wisely
This is a tip that I can’t stress enough, because this is a lesson I learned the hard way. While dance performers can definitely benefit from this tip, I especially want to speak with my choreographers on this one. Please, for the love of your mind and body, manage your schedule wisely. As a freelance choreographer and private educator, I am sought after for production pieces quite often, as well as audition solos/prep. And while I adore being booked and blessed, I hate being booked and stressed. So here is where the power of self preservation and no comes into play. I will fit as much as time will DECENTLY allow into my schedule, but if two engagements will clash, I will simply pick which one has the highest importance and see if the other engagement can be rescheduled for another time. If that is not at all possible, I will graciously decline. I say all of that to say this. If you don’t preserve yourself, your career just may be a short run. There is only one of you, only 24 hours in a day, and somewhere in there you have to eat and sleep. Be realistic with your time, what you’re capable of both physically and mentally, list everything by order of importance and let the remaining pieces fall where they may.
- Do Your Very Best To Pick The Right Management
Good management is essential when working in the arts because management is what will be helping you steer your career. However, where that career is steered will often depend on the type of management that you choose. One of the best ways to choose the right management for yourself is by first figuring out what you want from your career. What are the goals that you hope to achieve during your time in this industry? What are the types of jobs that you would like to work? What opportunity are you seeking? Have a seat with yourself and answer those questions because this will give your career a compass. Then once you’ve established your ideals, begin the process of seeking management and bring these ideals to the table. One of the most important elements of management is finding one that aligns with your career goals. After all, they are a part of the process of auditions and bookings, and you want to have that solace that you two are on the same page. Without a common understanding you will likely be in for a strained relationship with your management and that is never fun. And while this is only one aspect to the management finding process, it is one that is important nonetheless. So please keep in mind that likemindedness is key in this process of your career.
- Update Your Resume Often
Our next tip is one that can be forgotten often, but it is advantageous if you make it a habit and that is to update your resume often. Simply put, do your best to make it a habit of updating your resume as soon as you have completed a job. This will keep you from having to have a long “resume update day” later.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Work In Multiple Aspects Of Dance
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades. As a matter of fact, you can actually benefit that much more in your career if you do! For example, your specialty may be performance, but you’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn and grow by taking a part time teaching job as well! Additional experiences such as competition judging and hosting, stage direction/design can make you that much more of a well-rounded professional. It’s all about learning how to get the most of your career. Plus, it provides multiple streams of income and it also looks amazing on your resume!
- Put Yourself Out There
We’ve hit on this tip briefly in past blog posts and that is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. In order to get the ball rolling in your career, you have to establish a presence and let everyone know who you are. As you can imagine, one of the easiest ways to do this (aside from networking) is social media. Posting videos of yourself dancing, the pieces you’ve choreographed, etc will aid in your circulation online. The purpose of this is not to necessarily go viral (and if that happens, then that’s awesome!), but simply to establish a stamp of referral. It shows the world what you can do, which is extremely important in our profession.
- Keep Everything Organic
And last but most certainly not least, keep everything organic. This is just my uber-professional way of saying to be real and stay real. Do yourself the biggest favor and don’t try to walk into this industry pretending to be someone that you’re not. “Fake it til you make it” is tired and alter egos get old. Grind and be authentic. This also applies to establishing business connections. When you’re networking, go for projects that fit your unique desires and establish business relationships with other colleagues because you truly see the possibility of a beautiful professional comradery, not because you may feel that this person can help you come up.
“Oh no you didn’t, Lexi!”
Oh, but I did.
The reason why I bring out these points in particular is because I’ve seen this happen so many times in this industry and it never turns out okay in the end. I mean, never. So stay real and true. Your success will be that much less stressful and that much sweeter. 🙂
Thank you all so much for spending this beautiful Friday with us! We hope this these tips were able to help you along your professional journey, or we hope that these tips helped you prepare as you begin your professional journey. As always we wish you a lovely weekend and until our next blog post, remember…