Working in the performing arts requires commitment to ensure longevity and credibility. It is essential to create good habits that will last you a lifetime in this industry. This post will resonate with those of you just starting your dance career. It may serve as a refresher for seasoned performers as well. Here is a set of tools to help you maximize your potential and succeed in this trade.
Always be on time! Your agents work hard to secure auditions and it’s your responsibility to be punctual and prepared. This is your first impression. Be professional, prepared and on time.
Be respectful! The entertainment business is interconnected. In my years of working professionally I have seen assistants become agents and transition to casting. Some will become producers and directors. You always want to be remembered as being polite and easy to work with.
Your marketing materials are key! Update your headshots regularly so that they properly represent you. Your résumé should be free of errors and accurate. Create a website and social media presence that are in alignment with your goals and vision for your career. In this era, clients will visit your social media accounts so be mindful of that if you are interested in being pitched to represent certain brands and companies.
Create content! In this digital age we have the ability to easily create our own vehicles for expression. It’s an exciting time for dance and film. Get creative and use your social media platforms to create a dialogue about salient issues. I encourage you to explore and push boundaries in the work you choose to present. If it resonates with you on a visceral level, then chances are you will impact others as well.
Read and expand your vocabulary! Your ability to eloquently express ideas in an interview will set you apart. Many dancers are uncomfortable speaking publicly. We spend so much time communicating through movement that sometimes we neglect our oratory skills. Read aloud, record yourself, pay attention to your cadence and pitch. Most importantly slow down. We tend to speak quickly when we are nervous or uncertain. A slower pace of speech connotes confidence and expertise. Read literature, non-fiction and material that challenges you. The more well-rounded you are as an individual the more interesting you will be an artist.
Goals! You must have them. Write them down on paper and give yourself a deadline. Look at them daily. The subconscious mind learns through rhyme and repetition. If you want to achieve an objective, you have to remind yourself daily. Your conscious mind will find a way to actualize the dream if you are committed to it.
Be fearless! You will never be 100% prepared but if you choose to educate yourself on all facets of your chosen career you will exponentially increase your chances for success. Be open to new opportunities for growth. Sometimes your aspirations will present themselves in a different package than you anticipated. You must have the courage to move forward and accept the challenge.
Your health is paramount! Take care of your body by feeding it nutritious food that will provide fuel for your mind and instrument. As a dancer, you must take great care of your body to ensure you are able to meet the rigorous demands of auditions, rehearsal and performance schedules. Finding time to quiet your mind and relax are especially important too. Decrease your stress by taking yoga, spending time in nature and finding a meditation practice. If this seems like too much, then commit to focused breath work. Research has shown that the healing benefits of deep breathing can be achieved in as little as ten minutes a day.
Find a mentor! If you are new to this industry, seek out mentorship. Find someone you respect and admire in your chosen field. This will greatly help you on your journey. Stay focused and continue believing in yourself. Do not compare yourself to others. You are capable of achieving anything you can dream of.
Excellence in any field is a result of good habits, integrity and hard work. It’s the small tasks you perform on a daily basis that build the foundation for your life.