During our first decade of CoreDance, we’ve had some incredible adjudicators. These talented people continue to be mentors in the community and were excited when we asked them the share their expertise once again. This week, our interviews are focussed on all of you dancers out there eager to start a career in the arts. Keep your eyes peeled for more words of wisdom coming your way next week!
My best piece of audition advice is to understand that there are tons of ways to get a dance job beyond the audition! (Maybe this could be called anti-audition advice). Sure auditions happen, and yes you want to be prepared. Know who you are auditioning for. Do your research. Don’t show up for a Rockettes audition in sweatpants. But beyond that, most dance jobs in this country are acquired outside of an audition setting. Particularly in the contemporary dance scene, its all about who you know. If a choreographer has seen you dance before, has perhaps taught you, and likes you, they are much more likely to hire you if a job opportunity arises. I would suggest first of all figure out what kind of work you want to do. Dance is a vulnerable art form and being genuine is very important. If you are faking it just to book a job, its obvious. Decide what kind of dance you like, find teachers you want to learn from, find choreographers who inspire you and figure out how to get in front of them. Take classes, sign up for workshops, travel, experience dancing in different cities. All of this will lead to you figuring out what scene you belong in and a higher chance of booking a dream job!
A career in the dance/ performance art industry gives you a specialized lens through which you can examine the world. Generally, dancers and performers have strong leadership skills, excel at understanding movement, interpreting nuance, and understanding non-verbal communication. Dancers and performers learn to consider and hold multiple viewpoints at the same time, have a strong sense of community and a unique capacity for empathizing with others. These skills are valuable in any realm, inside or outside of dance and art. Dancers are valuable community members. Almost every dancer I know prides themselves on taking care of their community in some capacity.
~Caitlin Griffin (Photo Credits: Michal Urbanic @urbanlabel)
For the dancers out there hoping for a career as a teacher: Be selfless. Teaching is not about showing off what you can do, it is 100% about the students and their growth. Always be prepared. Have alesson plan that is longer than you need – it is better to not get through everything than to have extra time left over, especially for younger kids who are not able to focus as long.