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?
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.
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!