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[ January 15, 2021 by Adrian 0 Comments ]

RESET Roundtable

Stressed about the 2021 dance industry and economic unknowns? Join us for Hollywood Dance Experience Sunday RESET Roundtable. It’s a live discussion hosted by Nancy O’Meara and Annie Libera. Our guests include Keynote Speaker Rhee Gold of Dance Life, Jackie Sleight founder of LA Dance Magic, Noah Lands CEO of Kids Artistic Revue & Rainbow Dance, Michelle Soutier of Miller Street Dance Academy, and more. The discussions are easy-going, and we talk about the state of the dance industry, what each person has been doing during this down-time, and some current events and how they relate to our industry. 

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[ April 14, 2020 by Annie Libera 0 Comments ]

Online Tutorials

As you all know, due to the coronavirus outbreak, businesses are shutting down left and right. And dance studios are no exception. Luckily, regardless of your location or skill level, there are still resources at every dancer’s disposal to continue his/her training. Yes, I’m talking about online tutorials. Check out the list below of websites for dance tutorials. 

 

  1. https://www.steezy.co
  2. https://www.tmilly.tv
  3. https://www.playgroundla.tv
  4. https://www.danceplug.com/classes

 

For the above websites, you will need to pay to access tutorials. See the website for specific payment details. Some even offer a free class or a free week to try out their products. 

 

But, trust me, I didn’t forget about everyone’s favorite online video platform. There are a ton of dance tutorials on YouTube. It can be overwhelming, actually. (Recommendation: Matt Steffanina has a handful of tutorials that I think are great.) Since there is a surplus of tutorials on YouTube, just make sure that the people you are learning from are qualified dancers and choreographers. 

 

Another popular resource is CLI Studios. This company, however, only works with studios, not with individual consumers. Studio owners and teachers, be sure to check them out at http://www.clistudios.com.

 

At this time there is an abundance of choreographers teaching free live dance classes! There are so many options; it is hard to keep track of them all.  I suggest following @freedancetraining on Instagram. They have an up to date list of free classes for dancers.  Bonus! They also have some workout classes specifically for dancers listed!

 

For those of you who don’t find the use of online tutorials a very appealing training option, consider the benefits before rejecting the option:

  1. When the COVID-19 crisis passes and your studio reopens, there may still come a day when you miss a rehearsal or a practice. At that point, you may have to learn your part from a video. This may even happen to you for a professional job. Using online tutorials now will allow you to get used to learning off of a device rather than from a person. It never hurts to be prepared to learn choreography off of a video. Consider it a skill-building exercise.
  2. Training via online tutorials is a great way to practice movement pick-up. Test yourself: follow the tutorial and then don’t rewind it. See how quickly you can actually pick up the movement. If you discover that movement pick-up is a struggle for you, no worries! You can rewind and watch it as many times as you need. The benefit of online tutorials is that you can take things at your own pace and not worry about falling behind in an actual class.
  3. This is a perfect opportunity to try new dance instructors. Maybe you can’t take some instructors’ classes because they are on the other side of the country, or maybe you find their classes intimidating. Studying with a new instructor through an online tutorial is a great solution. Take advantage of this opportunity, because taking class from new dance instructors only makes you a more versatile and well-rounded dancer. Everyone dances differently and everyone teaches differently. Being able to learn from all different types of people, no matter their teaching style, is a great quality to have.
  4. It’s a perfect way to get you out of your comfort zone. Try a new style! Perhaps you are scared of looking silly or being embarrassed in front of others. This problem disappears when you are in the comfort of your home.
  5. Online tutorials will force you to (1) be more observant and (2) take more responsibility for the learning process. You can’t ask questions when watching a tutorial. If you have a question or are confused about something, you will have to go back and watch on the video again in order to figure it out for yourself. This is an important skill to develop, because sometimes, in a packed class or at an audition, you can’t ask a question. You just have to figure it out. Practice doing so now.

 

If you give dance tutorials a try and find that they aren’t for you, that’s okay. There are plenty of ways to improve your dancing without taking an actual class. As dancers we can always work on flexibility, strengthening our bodies, and our freestyle! There is an abundance of workout tutorials online as well. No matter what you prefer, we can all do something to maintain our training for when we step back into the studio. Best of luck to everyone and stay safe!

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[ January 24, 2020 by Annie Libera 0 Comments ]

How To Save Money At The Studio

As I’m sure we all know, dance is ridiculously expensive. Not only do we pay for monthly classes, but we also have to account for costume fees, dance attire, competition fees, summer intensive fees, studio apparel, and so much more. If money is tight—or if you are just looking to cut costs a little bit—try implementing some of the below tips.

Reuse A Costume

If you attend a competition studio, you know that the cost of costumes really adds up year after year, especially if you are in 12 numbers a year like I was. If you have a solo or duo/trio, try to reuse an old costume from the year before or from another dance friend. Judges see a lot of competition dances in a year, so the chance of them remembering your exact costume from a year before is highly unlikely. That is, of course, if you even have the same judges year after year.

Skip the Professional Studio Photos

If your studio brings in a photographer to photograph you in costumes, take a pass on those! With today’s technology, you can use a phone to take a photo of comparable quality. I’ve always felt that studio photo shoots are more for dancers in their first couple years of dancing or for those who dance recreationally. If you are a competitive dancer, then you will have a ton of photos in your costume from all of the competitions you do each year. Most competitions have a nice backdrop that you can use for your photos. So ultimately, the studio photo shoots aren’t necessary if you’re trying to save some money.

Work Study / Assisting

For those instructors who teach young children, (i.e., toddlers to the kindergarten level), they may need help! It’s hard to keep an eye on that many kids in a dance class. Or if there is a huge class, a teacher may need someone to help go around and correct dancers. See if they need an assistant to help out in those classes in exchange for money off of your monthly tuition. If they have plenty of teachers and assistants, then see if they need someone to help clean around the studio. Dance studios are full of germs, and there is always disinfecting to be done. While you may have to come into the studio before the day even starts or stay after everyone leaves, ask if you can exchange your time for a discount on your monthly tuition. I’ve also seen parents help clean studios as well. It never hurts to ask!

Limit Your “Extra” Dances

Every studio is run differently. Some studios require their competition dancers to compete in jazz, contemporary, tap, and production numbers.  Each studio has a different requirement. But I’ve never come across a studio that requires students to participate in three solos at competition. Do one solo instead of three, or pass on doing a duet for a year. I’m not saying you have to make these cuts, by any means. If you can afford it, all the power to you! But for those who are struggling a bit financially, it’s okay to say no to those extra dances. Maybe take that money and instead attend a convention or save for a new pair of tap shoes. It’s okay to not be in every number.

Share Hotel Rooms

When attending competitions or conventions try splitting a hotel room with another family.  I understand this might not be possible for all families, especially for those who have more than one dancer.  But for those dancers who attend competition with just a single parent, it’s an easy way to save money.  While at these events, you rarely spend time in the hotel room as it is.  Travel can add on a huge additional cost, as I’m sure you all know, so it doesn’t hurt to save where you can.

One thing I highly suggest not saving money on is dance shoes. At a younger age, dancers grow out of their shoes fairly quickly. But buying someone’s old dance shoes… EW! GROSS! NO! I rarely see dancers wear tights on the competition stage anymore, which means they are putting their bare feet into shoes time and time again. You especially don’t want to use someone else’s old pointe shoes. I know pointe shoes are ridiculously expensive, but they mold to the dancer’s feet with each use. Everyone’s feet are different. And since pointe is very dangerous, you shouldn’t be worried about twisting an ankle or hurting yourself because your pointe shoes don’t fit properly. Invest in your shoes, invest in your feet, and invest in your body. There are a handful of ways to save money other than using someone’s old shoes.

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[ January 9, 2020 by Annie Libera 0 Comments ]

Where Should I Take Class?

It has been just over a year since we last discussed the best places to take dance classes in LA. Though not much time has passed, there have been a handful of changes regarding where you can take class in LA. Some studios have relocated, some studios have closed, and some new studios have opened! It honestly seems like, every couple months, a new place opens for classes, and it’s hard to keep up with them all. Below you will find the list of studios where you can take class in the LA area, as well as my brief thoughts on each location.

Movement Lifestyle – North Hollywood

Overall, it’s a great studio! There is, however, only street parking available. Depending on the time of day, it can be impossible to find parking! The good news is there are a handful of parking garages within walking distance should you not be able to find street parking. Also, depending on your personality, you may think of this as a pro or con, but Movement Lifestyle does not have a camera crew film at the end of classes. Sometimes choreographers will tape their classes themselves or bring someone in, but there is not an in-studio videographer. 

TMILLY – North Hollywood

This is where I take class the most! There is a huge room, and classes are two hours long. I feel like I get my money’s worth here. I almost always get a full warm up and a long combination. They purposely make the classes longer so that they have separate time to film at the end so that it doesn’t eat into your class time. It’s great! The sole con? Only street parking is available. Since this studio is located in a residential area, parking can be tricky.

IAF Compound – North Hollywood

This is one of the most underrated spaces for taking class. The space is huge and they have new sprung floors! This space is located across from the IMMA Space studio. The studio is a little tricky to find, though. If you type in the address into Google Maps, the route sometimes takes you to the back of the building. To be honest, there really isn’t a front of the building. There is  signage, so keep your eyes open. After you have gone to the studio once you will be fine, but the first visit is a little tricky. Once again, only street parking is available. But I have never had an issue finding parking—there is plenty of space!

IMMA Space – North Hollywood

As mentioned above, IMMA Space is located just across from IAF Compound. There is no waiting area—should you arrive early to class, you will have to wait outside. The studio is literally just a studio. Google Maps will likely route you to the front of West Coast Dance Theatre. You have to walk around to the back of the building, as that is where the studio is located. Again, there is only street parking; again, I’ve never had an issue with it.

Debbie Reynolds Legacy Studios – North Hollywood

The Debbie Reynolds Studio recently moved, and I must say, I miss the old location. The first time I went to the new studio, I was a little confused as the main sign was for a martial arts studio. After double checking that I had the correct location, I walked around to the back and saw myself in. After walking in, you have to head down a little hallway to get to the check-in area—it isn’t immediately at the entrance. The one thing I love about Debbie’s is that you have to be 18 years old to take class at this studio. Most other studios allow a variety of ages. So at Debbie’s, it’s nice to have the chance to take class with adults. There is only street parking at this location. And like Movement Lifestyle, they do not have an in-studio videographer. 

Millennium Dance Complex – Studio City

I usually just take class on Sundays at this studio when I am in town. Located on Ventura Boulevard, it is sometimes impossible to find parking. Parking is free on Sundays and the studio usually isn’t as busy (unless it is summertime, when it’s always busy). They have the tiniest parking lot, and I am always nervous that I am going to get parked in. So I opt to park on the street. In the main room, they have pipes that leak water onto the floor due to heat. Once this became a major issue, they went ahead and fixed it. Every now and then, however, it does leak.

Kreative Mndz – Burbank

I have no complaints about this space! There is a small parking lot attached to the side of building, and if that is full there is plenty of street parking available. This studio doesn’t have classes available to the public every day of the week, which is important to keep in mind if you plan on visiting this location.

Edge Performing Arts Center – Los Angeles

I have always loved this studio. They have a variety of classes from morning to night, in all different styles. There is a surplus of parking! You can get parking validated when you are done with your classes. However, if it matters to you, as with Movement Lifestyle and Debbie Reynolds, Edge Performing Arts Center does not have an in-studio videographer. 

Playground LA  – Los Angeles

When Playground LA first opened it was very small. Fortunately, they bought the building next door and expanded the studio. The space looks the same, but there is now more room to dance. There is not a lobby at this location. So parents, if you are planning on hanging around all day while your dancer takes class, you will be waiting outside. If you go to Playground LA in the wintertime, be sure to grab a sweatshirt to wear while you are standing in line to get inside. If you’re wondering about parking… you guessed it! Street parking only.  

Additional Studios

There are a few more studios that choreographers will use for pop-up classes. Some of these locations are also used for auditions. These include:

  1. West Coast Dance Theater (front side of IMMA SPACE) – North Hollywood
  2. Evolution Studios – North Hollywood
  3. 101 Dance Center – Universal City
  4. EXPG Studio LA – Los Angeles
  5. Mihran K Studios – Burbank
  6. Live House Hollywood – Los Angeles
  7. Downtown Dance & Movement – Los Angeles
  8. The Eleven Studios – Glendale
  9. The Brea Space – Brea

Outside Of The LA Area

There are a couple of studios outside of the LA area that offer drop-in classes, including:

  1. Snowglobe Perspective – Whittier, CA
  2. Millennium Dance Complex Orange County – Anaheim, CA

Please keep in mind that my preferences may differ from yours. So don’t let anything I’ve said above deter you from trying out any of these studios. In fact, I encourage you to try them all! Trying out new studios is a great way to meet new teachers, train in new styles, and meet more people in the community. 

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[ November 12, 2019 by Annie Libera 1 Comment ]

Top 5 Ways To Help You Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone + 1 Bonus!

Regardless of age or ability, all dancers are at risk of falling into a rut. When we fall into our routines and get too comfortable with our teachers, we risk not improving as much. We all need to make a conscious effort to get out of our comfort zones a bit more often.  We should do this not only to challenge ourselves to become better dancers, but to help us grow as individuals in our personal and professional goals.   Here are a few easy ways to push ourselves and get a little uncomfortable.

1. Stand in a different spot in class. 

I love to hide in the back of the studio—even if I’m taking class with a familiar instructor. Sometimes I stand in the back due to a lack of confidence; other times I do so because I don’t like to fight everyone pushing to get in the front of the class. It’s my safe spot in the classroom. Whether you are at a studio or taking a professional class, you are paying to be there! So who cares if you make a mistake in front of everyone while standing in the front row? It happens. For those of you who love to stand in the front, try standing in the back a couple times. Why? Because in an audition, you may not be able to score a spot in the front row.  Or choreographers and casting directors may ask you to switch lines in a class or audition setting. Now is the time to get a feel for what it is like to learn a combination in the back. I can assure you this has happened to every dancer. Switching where you stand in class is an easy way to challenge yourself and an effective way to keep from falling into a rut. 

2. Turn Around

As many of us know, when we are in a dance class and we learn a combination we are then usually split into groups. Then the smaller groups go onto the floor one at a time so they have more space to dance.  So tell me. While you wait your turn, what are you doing? Are you just standing there? Are you going over the combination? What I love to do is turn around so I am facing the back of the room (i.e., opposite the direction in which I learned the combination) to test myself to see if I really know the combination. Throwing off your sense of direction is a good thing. This also gives you the opportunity to confirm that you truly know the combination without needing to rely on anyone else. Try this next time you are in class. It may be disorienting. But after all, that’s the point.

3. Take A Different Style

I mean really take a different style, one you have never done before. I notice that a lot of competition dancers don’t have much training in popping, footwork, African, ballroom, Cunningham, and so on. If you’re one of those dancers, try a new class when you get the chance. Try a style that is completely out of your comfort zone. You will feel like a fish out of water, and that’s okay. No one expects you to be the best right away. This is a good exercise for the body and the brain.

4. Talk To Someone New

Especially at the professional level, dancers frequently take class by themselves. More often than not, I know no one in my class. I may see familiar faces, but I don’t actually know them. Try chatting with someone before going into class, or simply tell someone they did an amazing job if you loved the way they danced. The dance community is very small and trying to be a professional dancer is hard. Making connections and growing your network is worth the discomfort of speaking to someone new. While the dance world can be cutthroat, dancers don’t have to behave in a malicious way towards each other. Make a friend or just be a supportive classmate.

5. Work On Your Flaw

Honestly, I need to take my own advice on this one. Try to work on your flaw(s) every day, or at least a couple times a week. I don’t mean just trying to make your technique better.  Think about those things with which you personally struggle. It could be flexibility, stamina, performance quality, freestyle, looking down, not having enough flow, not having resistance while bringing your leg down from a battement, and so on. It could be anything. Work on that everyday. Growing up, I struggled with flexibility. Because I wanted to get better, I practiced the center splits every single day. At first, I practiced for only a few minutes each day. But as my flexibility improved, I increased the time spent practicing. Thinking about our flaws can be unsettling and working to climb those mountains is difficult. But doing so will only help us in the long run.  

BONUS – Create Your Own Combination

Making your own combinations is not only fun, but it is also an opportunity to exercise your creativity. I find that when I am creating combinations just for myself, it allows me to rekindle my joy for dance. It gives me the chance not to take things so seriously. When creating for yourself, you may also discover some previously unknown limitations in your own body. Work on those and keep them in the back of your mind while you continue your training. 

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[ May 3, 2019 by Annie Libera 0 Comments ]

College for Dancers

What is the deal with college for dancers? In case you didn’t know, attending a university and majoring in dance is, in fact, an option.  There are a million different questions in relation to college for dancers. Here we will be discussing the few things I wish I had more information on before I decided to attend college.

Note: college is not for everyone, and many dancers choose not to attend. Pursuing a college degree is a personal choice. For some dancers, it doesn’t make practical sense to go to a university. You need to decide what is right for you—for your personal and professional goals. For the purpose of this discussion, however, I am going to assume that you are interested in going or have already decided to go to college to study dance.  

Degree Options and (Other) Programs

Congratulations! You have decided to study dance at the college level. Now that you’ve made this big decision, what do you do next? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all option where college degrees are concerned. So consider the following choices:

  1. B.A. or B.F.A. in Dance
  2. B.A. or B.F.A. in Dance with a minor in another field of study
  3. Double major (usually a B.A. in Dance and a bachelor’s in another field of study)
  4. B.A./B.S. in a field of your choice with a minor in Dance

Each of these options will provide you with the opportunity to incorporate your passion for dance into your academic life. If you later decide that college dance isn’t for you but still wish to earn your degree, then you can study whatever you please while participating in a dance team or club at your university. There is no shortage of options. That said, you need to start researching schools and programs ASAP. If you are still in high school, begin your research no later than your sophomore year. If you are a young adult who is revisiting the idea of going to college, then give yourself ample time to research your options and submit applications.

In your research, you will find that most college dance programs are heavily focused on modern dance. My own university training consisted of modern, ballet, and West African. My program required no jazz or hip-hop classes. This was a shock to me, and I wish I had researched my program more thoroughly before enrolling. That is not to say that I gained nothing from the experience. On the contrary, I received amazing training in styles of dance that I never thought I would study. But the program requirements took me off guard. I aspired to work in commercial dance, and my program was not especially suitable for my goals. This meant that I had to spend my limited free time taking hip-hop classes outside of my university, as it was the closest thing I could find to commercial dance training in my area. The point is that these early stages of research are vital!

If you’re like me and you want to work in commercial dance, then know that there are very few commercial dance programs. Though it is not comprehensive, below is a list of schools that either has commercial dance programs or boast a curriculum that offers some commercial dance training.

  • PACE University
  • The Studio School
  • AMDA
  • Oklahoma City University

A great way to supplement your research is to participate in summer programs. Some colleges offer summer programs/intensives for high school students. If you have the time and money, I highly recommend giving this a try. You’ll have a chance to meet some of the faculty and to become familiar with the school’s facilities. It is almost (but not quite) like a trial run to see if that school is a good fit for you. Bonus: some colleges offer credit for their summer programs. Should you choose to attend that school, you’ll start your college career with credits already on your transcript. Also, remember that no summer program is a bad summer program. If you find that you really disliked the training you received, then you have one less option to consider—you’ve narrowed your search.

As you already know, selecting a university and dance program is a big decision and not one to take lightly. If you are graduating from high school and know that you want to go to college, but are unsure of your next step, remember that a community college is also an option. But you have to keep a few things in mind. First, to save you time and money, you’ll want to make sure that your community college credits transfer to whichever university you plan to attend. Second, you will need to thoroughly research the schools you plan on attending because some require you to be at their program for a full four years due to dance requirements. Other schools are a little more flexible and you can complete your program in less time. Be sure you speak with both an academic and dance advisor before making any decisions.  To be completely honest, some academic advisors are not always on top of all the requirements for each department (even though they should be). Also going to summer school through a community college is always an option as well. I attended community college every summer to complete some of my general education classes so I could save a little bit of money.  

College Auditions

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you start planning this wonderful future of yours, you must first be accepted at your preferred university. This is where college dance auditions (and applications!) come into play. Like all auditions, these can be stressful and exhausting. The best way to prepare is to… do your research! Shocker, I know. You didn’t see that one coming. Try to get an idea of what each school will require for your audition. From my own experience, I can tell you that most of my auditions required full ballet and modern classes. Some auditions also demanded a one-minute solo, as well as an interview. Other auditions had jazz or West African class on the schedule. You get the picture—auditions vary from school to school. Do your research as best you can to prepare for each audition. A few other things to remember:

  • Don’t forget about applying to the school itself. The last thing you want is to be accepted into the dance program but miss the deadline for the application to the school.  
  • Always bring your printed dance resume with you to college auditions. Some schools will ask for your resume, and others will not. It’s best to be prepared.
  • If your audition requires a solo, make sure you have your music both on your phone and on another device. (My college auditions were only a few years ago, and the music had to be on a CD.)  
  • Universities can seem like a labyrinth to those unfamiliar with the campus. Get to the school early on the day of your audition to make sure that you can find your way and not be late.

In case the implication here wasn’t clear enough, note that you should plan for multiple auditions. Though it should go without saying, you cannot bank on getting into one school. Give yourself some options. It never hurts to have back-up schools. That being said, remember to invest your time and money wisely. If you are traveling across the country for auditions, you are likely incurring many costs. Don’t waste your money by traveling to schools that you have no real interest in attending.  While you are across the country auditioning for a specific program, I would also try to see if there are other colleges in the area having auditions around the same time. If so, you should audition for those schools even if they aren’t one of your first choices. It gives you more options for the future and you are already in the area so you might as well try!

Location

Speaking of travel, where are you going? Did you say that you’re flying to Nebraska for a college audition? Do you want to work on Broadway and live in a big metropolis? Oh, you do? THEN NEBRASKA ISN’T THE PLACE FOR YOU. If you are going to college, you are likely making a four-year plan. Make sure you are going to a school in a city where you will be happy to live for an extended period of time. I went to school in Chicago. I had been to Chicago many times before, and I loved the city. But it might not have been the most strategic choice for my goals. As I’ve already mentioned, my dream is to work in commercial dance. And there were limited commercial dance opportunities in Chicago. This meant that I would inevitably move to LA, home of the commercial dance industry. After four years of hard work and networking in Chicago, I had to start over again. For those of you who want to work in the performance industry, location is important. Allow this factor to weigh heavily in your decision-making. On the other hand, for those of you who ultimately wish to work at or own a studio, location is a less-critical issue to take into consideration when choosing a college.  

“Extracurriculars”

Be invested in your schoolwork 110% of the time. But also remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. While in college, you can and should audition for real, paid work. While in college, you can and should take classes outside of school to make connections with working choreographers. While in college, you can and should participate in events, mixers, and the like for your local dance community. College is the perfect time to begin building your resume and your professional network. This is quite possibly the most important takeaway from my own experience. I worked and trained outside my university endlessly. I spent my spare time teaching dance, going to auditions, taking extra classes, etc. And when I graduated, I had a job in the dance industry. I had my start. These “extracurriculars” are imperative to your success.

A final note: as I’ve already said, college isn’t for everyone. You can have a successful dance career without ever setting foot in a university. You might choose to wait and go to college later on in life. That’s fine. Do whatever works for you. But if you choose to get a degree in dance, don’t let yourself be shocked like I was. Make sure you are enrolling in a program that fits your ambitions. College is far too great an investment (in terms of time, money, and effort) to be careless in your decision-making. As always, research is your best friend—never undervalue it.

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[ April 16, 2019 by Annie Libera 0 Comments ]

How To Get In Front Of Working Choreographers

Allow me to start by stating the obvious: in order to get in front of working choreographers, you must first know who the working choreographers are. Let me say it one more time for the people in the back, do your research! Some of the most “popular” teachers in LA, who have the most views and followers on their Instagram accounts, might not be booking work as choreographers! Sure, you can receive good-quality training, make great strides in your artistry, and even walk away with amazing video footage from their classes. But are you investing your time wisely? If you dream is to be a backup dancer for Ariana Grande, and you aren’t taking Brian and Scott Nicholson’s classes because you are taking someone else’s class at that time, then you aren’t using your time sensibly.  

Think of the instructor whose classes you take the most often. You are probably very used to their movement and teaching style.  You would likely feel quite confident if they were teaching an audition combination. And you’ll want that same confidence when auditioning for working choreographers. To achieve that level of self-assurance you need to know as much about the choreographer for whom you are auditioning for, as you do about the person you take class from the most. Understanding a choreographer’s style and what they expect gives you an advantage and sets you up for maximum success.  

As we have discussed in previous blogs, some choreographers and creative directors don’t teach a weekly class in LA. Now the question is how can you get in front of these choreographers?

Conventions

One of the most common ways to take class from working choreographers is to attend conventions. Weekend conventions can be pricy, not to mention the additional money you may need to spend on accommodations, food, flights, and/or a rental car. Depending on the convention, some might announce the faculty lineup several weeks in advance, while others might release these details within a week of the convention’s start date. Some conventions allow you to stop in and take a singular class or just one day instead of the entire weekend.  One of these options may be better for you depending on your budget. Regardless, it is worth your time to research this avenue and to try a convention or two. Even if you don’t make a personal connection with a specific choreographer, at least you will become familiar with his/her teaching style and expectations. This will only better prepare you for auditions going forward.

Master Classes

The other main way to get in front of choreographers is to attend their master classes. Be sure to follow these choreographers on Instagram and sign up to receive notifications for when they post. Signing up for these post notifications will allow you to be one of the first people to find out about their classes. You’ll want to check their Instagram Stories for additional information as well. Another way to find out about master classes is to check the master class tab of a studio’s mobile app. Most studios use the Mind Body layout for their apps, and the apps are all easily accessible.  

Some choreographers and artistic directors might hold master classes only once a year. So it’s extremely important to take their classes when they’re offered. You should also keep in mind that some choreographers don’t teach at all anymore. So then what do you do? If you encounter such a scenario, then your best course of action is to find out who their assistants are. You may be able to take the assistants’ classes instead.

Getting in front of working choreographers is key to building a career in this industry. Attend their classes whenever you can. You want your name and face to become recognizable to these potential employers. And this requires consistency and dedication. It is very common to have to introduce yourself a handful of times.  Don’t take it personally. These choreographers see hundreds of dancers every week. Try your best to stick around after a class and say “thank you” to the teacher. Not only is this proper etiquette, it’s also about trying to make that personal and emotional connection with them. Commit yourself to becoming visible, and eventually your name and face will begin to stick with these choreographers. As a reminder, you cannot simply leave an impression on these professionals. Rather, you must leave a stellar impression on them. Put your best foot forward in these classes, but also bring a positive energy to the room at all times. These choreographers aren’t just looking for talent. They’re looking for personality and professionalism. You can be the greatest dancer in the room. But no one will want to hire you if you bring a negative vibe to classes and auditions. So get out there, have fun, and start making connections!

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[ April 8, 2019 by Annie Libera 0 Comments ]

Successful Dance Careers for Non-LA Residents

For those of you seriously considering pursuing a career in commercial dance, you likely have found that most jobs and training opportunities lie in and around Los Angeles. However, not every dancer desires to relocate to LA. So how does a non-LA resident go about making a successful commercial dance career for himself/herself? It’s an easy question to ask, but a difficult one to answer as there are many variables in play. First and foremost, a “successful dance career” looks different to everyone. That fact alone makes this a near-impossible question to answer, but I’ll attempt to do so anyway.