After You're Booked: The One Thing You Should Know

You booked the job of your dreams! Your hard work has finally paid off, right? Well, just a heads up: there’s a lot more work ahead of you.

We all know to shine our hardest in auditions. We know the choreographer, casting director, and whole panel of judges are looking for what makes us stand out from the crowd. We push our bodies and minds to the brink because we need this gig to pay rent next month.

But once we get the job, we tend to relax.

The check has already been promised so all we have to do is show up, learn the choreography, and go home. We might mark when we feel a little tired, sit rather than review on breaks, and be less creative and open in the moment. It becomes just another job rather than an opportunity.

A few years ago, I booked my first movie, and it just so happened to be with a legendary choreographer. As soon as the film wrapped, the choreographer booked one dancer on a major tour. Two years later, that same choreographer hired another dancer as an assistant choreographer. Looking back, I realized that I was a stand out in the audition room but not necessarily a stand out on the job.

So, here’s what I wish I had realized when I booked the job…

The audition does not end when you get the call. Every rehearsal, every shoot day, every moment on that job is an audition for the next one.

Prove yourself to be an asset and the choreographer will hire you again. It’s that simple. Choreographers don’t want to hold eight-hour auditions in search of the right candidate. They want to use people they already trust. So, when you’re on a job, show them that you are professional, hardworking, and talented. Be the dancer they can’t live without. If you want to continue working in this industry, it’s not enough to just show up and do the choreography. You have to give it your all.

A stand out dancer might…

  • Lead a walk-through or review while the choreographer is out of the room

  • Work one-on-one with a dancer or actor who’s struggling

  • Use breaks to clean his/her movement or work on dope tricks that the choreographer could use

  • Rehearse at home

  • Have a positive attitude

  • Arrive early and stay late

  • When given difficult tricks or movement, say, “I will learn,” rather than, “I can’t.”

  • Go full-out every time

  • Never settle for “good enough”

  • Help fellow dancers by giving notes or sharing a foam roller

  • Practice the choreography in slow motion so every move is as clean and extreme as possible

These little things tend to be the difference between a dancer who books occasionally and a dancer who is constantly booked. Choreographers want to use dancers they can rely on to get the job done exceptionally well. Be that dancer.  

Note: This post was contributed by ATL dancer, Kalyn Hardman.  Click here to learn more about her.

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