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.
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Today I want to focus on steps you can take to improve your life. They don’t require a lot of time but the benefits are enormous. Make time for yourself and implement small changes that will positively affect your health.
Sit in nature and meditate. Studies show that as little as ten minutes a day can dramatically improve your mood and the health of your brain. Being surrounded by the natural world has a calming effect on our nervous system. It helps us clarify our thoughts and stimulates creativity.
Step outside of your comfort zone in everything you do. The brain is not challenged by routine. You can create new neural pathways by learning skills that require the integration of multiple brain functions simultaneously. Dance and learning a foreign language are great examples of activities that challenge the brain and can stave off degenerative brain diseases.
Make time for social activities that enhance your mood and inspire you. You have to make time to play. Whatever that means to you. Surround yourself with inspiring and uplifting people. Sometimes this part of our lives needs a serious overhaul. It is natural to outgrow friendships and important to reevaluate existing connections.
Make an effort to learn how your body works. Do you know the functions of the vital organs in your body? What can you start doing today to improve your health? This is significant knowledge that very few of us revisit after we graduate from school. Get back in touch with your body and how it operates.
Get moving. We were not meant to be sedentary. When you exercise regularly you will be inclined to eat healthier foods. Exercise should not be a routine. Find new ways of moving that challenge your body and brain. This will keep you excited and motivated to continue your fitness lifestyle.
Lastly, remind yourself to be appreciative for this life. I don’t speak of possessions because materialism is not who you are. You are an abundant being. You are a creator. Your capacity to give and receive love is boundless. Take a moment to digest that. Wellness is more than being free from illness. When we are healthy, we are living in our optimal state and that’s when we thrive.Read more →
For the past twelve years my mother has not recognized me. I think this is a puzzling concept to grasp unless you have personally experienced it. There is a detachment that occurs when someone you love so dearly doesn’t remember you. I believe the brain may forget but the heart never does. I chose to write about this today as an inspiration for those of you dealing with challenges in your life surrounding family and illness.
When my mother was fifty years old she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that eradicates memory and cognitive function. In its later stages symptoms include disorientation, hallucinations, mood swings, language and motor impairment. My mother experienced a precipitous decline and lost cognitive function and the ability to reason very early on. I remember having to familiarize her with the alphabet as an adult. She had completely forgotten it and could not remember learning it. She felt ashamed and frustrated that she struggled with such an easy task. It was difficult for her to accept the changes that were happening. As a family, we all felt the burden.
Alzheimer’s is a very unpredictable disease that requires creativity on the part of a caregiver. You will experience hostility, confusion and erratic behavior from the patient but it is your responsibility as a caregiver to remain calm and resourceful. My mother went through a period where she had hallucinations. These experiences were very real to her. I could not convince her otherwise. One day, I decided to let her take me on her journey. I wanted to see what she was seeing. To my surprise, she was envisioning a memory of my childhood. It was a bonding experience for us at a time when she did not recognize me. She could sense that I was special to her and conveyed it through her vision.
It is important to remember that human beings respond to energy. If you are frenetic and anxious, the patient will sense this energy and reciprocate it. I noticed this with my mother on many occasions. When she was diagnosed, I was young and did not have an understanding of how to cope. She was intuitive and still is. Even in the late stages of the disease she responds to her hair being caressed and the sound of my voice. When I hold her hand, she squeezes it back and never wants to let go. I have come to appreciate these subtle displays of affection as our language. It’s how we communicate because she can no longer speak.
The bond between a mother and daughter is indestructible. I have learned how to love my mother in many different ways. This disease has taught me compassion, patience, resilience, courage and empathy. She has taught me to be grateful and live in the present moment. She has taught me to be of service and be kind. I am reminded of this daily when I speak to her. She cannot verbally respond but I know a part of her hears me and recognizes that we are connected for eternity.Read more →
Be loving and kind, it is your nature to be
We all appreciate honesty and transparency
Why is it so difficult to communicate your feelings to me?
We encounter people and question their authenticity
This is futile because people will show you their true selves inevitably
All you can do is continue to be the best person you can be
Kind, empathetic, generous, loving and free
Never harbor resentment or animosity towards another
These dangerous feelings can leave you feeling very bothered
They don’t affect the target of your distress
Instead, it is in you that they manifest
They grow and inhabit your very being
Why fill your heart with ugly sentiment
When you can choose to be benevolent
The beauty of life is that we always have a choice
Your perception will influence how you respond to circumstances
What you choose does not affect me, because my heart dances
I will continue to love and be impeccable with my word
I am full of life and vigor
I am a strong and compassionate woman
Void of triggers
Be kind and love those in your path
We are here to learn and serve
Next time there will be no need to throw that curve
I leave you the knowledge to be better
Listen to the profundity of that message
I can only hope that you accept that gift
It will lead to a huge paradigm shiftRead more →
“Dancing the Dream” by Jamie Sams is an exposition of the seven sacred paths of human transformation. As human beings, we are constantly learning and evolving. Our experiences shape our outlook on life and can serve as a model for the choices we make. What if we were able to harness our mental power and project energy and action in the direction of our dreams? All of the information we produce would serve a greater purpose. We would be in control of our thoughts and our actions would be congruent with our goals.
Your life is precious. Awaken your spirit and mind and live with intention. The following excerpt from “Dancing the Dream” elucidates this idea. “Every human being who walks the Earth Mother has an individual sacred path through life. That sacred path is created by the weaving of many tangible and intangible threads, which connect all of our emotions, dreams, thoughts and experiences. Our lives will change directions many times as experiences urge us to grow. Every time we alter our priorities, we change our path. Every time we allow ourselves to use our imagination, we change our view of reality. Every time we decide to change direction, we design and redesign our lifestyles, habits, priorities, personal needs and goals.”
In order to change ourselves we need to look within. This requires patience, honesty and self-love. We may encounter traits within ourselves that we don’t admire. View that as an opportunity to grow and improve. Life is a constant lesson and we should perceive our obstacles as vehicles for expansion. Imagination is your greatest tool for overcoming any challenge in life.
We all have the ability to live a life we are in love with. This demands that we be conscious of what we want and who we are. We have to be willing to terminate behaviors that no longer serve a productive purpose in our lives. We need to delve into our hearts and listen to the inner dialogue that is occurring. Listen to your intuition and dreams. They can lead you on a path to transformation and freedom.
“Dancing the Dream” is a manual for living a purposeful life. It will help you find clarity and understanding. This book will teach you how to connect to your spirit. When you make decisions from a place of truth and love, you will find that you are always on the right path.Read more →
When we react emotionally we lose the ability to see clearly. The next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, take a breath and evaluate your circumstances. Why do you ascribe motives to people and situations? Why are you comparing yourself to others? Why are you anxious?
There will never be another “you” in this lifetime. Communicate with intention and favorable energy. The words you speak feed your subconscious. Choose your words wisely and lovingly. Avoid judging others and allowing resentment and jealousy to subside in your heart. These emotions will deteriorate your physical and mental health. Find forms of expression that are compatible with your natural talents and affinities.
I encourage you to regularly watch a sunset. There is strength, inspiration, majesty and a divine force that surrounds a sunset. Embrace that moment and let it speak to you.
You are energy, love, creativity and beauty. You need to embody these elements and allow your heart to open. Speak words of truth and allow joy to resonate in your body. Trust that you can create a satisfying life and make it a part of your belief system.
This shift in perception will unleash a reaction of miracles. You will be in alignment and you will see situations for what they truly are. You will have no need to react emotionally because you will carry peace in your heart.Read more →