3 Ways to Find More Dance Work
Finding work as a professional dancer can be tricky, to say the least. There just seems to be far more dancers than there are jobs. It's a very competitive industry, and most find it difficult to make a living off of dance alone.
Despite this unfortunate fact of life, dancers continue to take the leap of faith towards making a career out of it because for many of us, the idea of doing anything else just doesn't feel right.
That sense of self, the feeling of purpose, and the FREEDOM dance gives us far outweigh the obstacles we face in our career pursuit...or so we think.
Those rose colored lenses quickly disappear once rent and rejection start to pile up. Just as in any romance, when you're finding it harder and harder to sustain a living, you start to ask yourself, "what's love got to do with it?"
We can't pay bills with hearts and flowers, right??
True, you can't pay your bills with the fulfillment you get from dance, BUT you can use that feeling to help you work smarter at building your career.
I know exactly how that feels because I've been there.
I was frustrated that my income didn't match my hustle. I felt tired and run down. And truth be told, I felt like giving up. (And I did for second...but that didn't last long.) ;-)
Fortunately, I stayed at it. I searched high and low for dance work, tried a few different approaches, and actually found something that worked. Using the tips I'm about to share, not only was I able to find consistent work, but work also found me!
Here are 3 ways to find more work. Use these approaches together to help power your career.
1. Subscribe and Submit to Dance Job Boards
The internet is such a useful tool. We have access to so much information at just the click of a few buttons. Which means, the easiest way to start searching for more work is through online job boards.
While you can search traditional boards like Indeed, you won't get very far there. You should direct your search to industry specific boards like Answers4Dancers, Stage Door Connections, or Dance USA. These types of boards have job listings that are specifically for us.
Here's the thing about job board though. Everyone is probably taking the most convenient route by searching these places as well. So, instead of searching just one board, go the extra mile, and search them all.
I used to SCOUR the internet to find jobs. I'd sit for hours on any type of job board looking for auditions or job postings, and I didn't even have a personal computer at the time. I went to the library, a friend's house, or wherever. I just did what I had to do to get my career off the ground. Which brings me to my next tip...
2. Self-Submit to Companies and Arts Organizations
After I tapped out on the job boards, I would continue my search by looking up specific companies to see if they were hiring. This is another way to go the extra mile. I'd think about the types of jobs I'd like to have, figure out the types of companies that offer them, then I'd find a contact within that company and submit my materials.
For instance, I'd ask myself, "who needs choreographers, instructors, or dancers?" In response to that question, I might say "theaters", in which case, I'd make a list of all the theaters in my area that I'd like work with. Then, I'd send each theater my headshot, resume, links, etc. as well as a great introduction to who I am and what I have to offer.
Self-submitting has been one of my most successful approaches to getting work. Of course, everyone didn't reply back to my inquiries, but of those that did, I often booked multiple jobs with one company just from one email and the few meetings that followed.
Just as I mentioned in my post on 'How to Find the Dance Jobs You Actually Want', you've got to start somewhere. Think of all the organizations in your area for which you'd like to work, find the appropriate contact within each organization, and then submit your materials.
3. Take Class to Network
If you've read my post on networking for dancers, then you know that training IS networking for us. Networking is just building relationships, and when you take classes consistently, you're able to build relationships with choreographers and other dancers.
Also, getting plugged into your local community can help with auditions and finding work. I can't tell you how many jobs I've direct booked (no audition) just from being plugged into my local dance community.
An artist once hired me to perform in one of her showcases just from watching me in class. I booked a 3 month gig in Shanghai from the connections at a studio where I taught, performed, and took class regularly. And I've booked a number of industrials by being plugged into the arts community at large within my city.
So, you see, it's incredibly important for you to get in class regularly. Attend the same classes at the same studio(s) for an extended period of time, and you'll begin to develop relationships that will help propel your career forward.
Using any one of these tips will get you going in the right direction, and using them collectively will definitely take you from a walk to a sprint. So go the extra mile and do what it takes to get your career going.
You have something special to share, and it's time for the world to see it!
I've shared these tips and much more in my book, The Freelance Dancer's Roadmap. And to save you time, I've condensed the tips into a quick and easy-to-read summary. Click the button below to get a summary of all of my career tips from this killer guide.