Post Grad Prep: 5 Ways to Start Preparing for Dance Life After Graduation

The break is coming to an end, which means that dancers everywhere are gearing up for the start of another season.  For some, it'll be a season of firsts and the beginning of a new journey.  For others, that journey will soon be coming to an end with graduation just a leap away.

If you're already certain that pursuing a professional dance career is the right move for you, you may want to consider planning your transition now.  Here are five ways you can start preparing for dance life after graduation.

1.  Start training at studios where your favorite choreographers teach.

I'm sure you're already aware that for dancers, training is networking.  So if you already know where you'd like your dance career pursuit to begin post-graduation, then taking class is a great place to start.

If you'd like to work with specific choreographers, find those studios, and take class consistently.  Maybe it's a company you're after?  Then find those classes, and get there.  If you're moving to a new city after graduation, you may find some of your favorite choreographer teaching at touring conventions.  You may even find some of them teaching online classes.  In this tech-driven world we now live in, there's definitely a way to find the work that speaks to you.  So seek it out, and then get there.

2.  Get planted in the local dance community.

Speaking of seeking out and getting there, planting yourself in the local dance community is another great way to start building connections.  After all, you can't get work if no one knows who you are and what you can do.

Planting yourself in the community can look a few different ways.  It can be taking class regularly, as we mentioned before.  It can be volunteering at an organization's dance event.  It can even be attending shows and supporting the work that's being presented there.  It's immersing yourself in what's going on in a particular community and building relationships while you're at it.

Again, if you're not yet living in your post-grad destination, can you plan a visit before graduation?  Perhaps you can find ways to get connected remotely.  At the very least, research what's going on in your future community, and make plans to get involved once you're there.

3.  Start building relationships now.

More on networking.  As you can see, networking is incredibly important to building a thriving dance career.  Often times, you'll get work based on the relationships you've built.  So why not start building those now?  

You can start building them in class, not just with choreographers, but with other dancers too.  You can build them at shows and community events, and you can even build them online in Facebook groups.  

An even better place to start is where you are right now, with the network you have now.  Ask your dance friends for recommendations and introductions.  Even better, ask your professors or dance instructors for them too.

4.  Start developing your professional materials.

Professional materials are essential to your dance career.  You can't audition or self-submit without a headshot and resume, at the very least.  Don't take this step lightly either.  Your professional materials can mean the difference between a 'yes' or a 'no' when it comes to getting work.   

Start by researching photographers for headshots (which Instagram makes pretty easy for us these days).  Then gather your credits and experience to develop a professional resume.  It would also be beneficial to build professional social media profiles and a website for your work.  Take your time to develop quality materials that will support your talent and represent you well.

5.  Start auditioning or self-submitting now.

If you have the time in your schedule, it'd be helpful to start submitting for work now.  The idea is to get the ball rolling before you graduate so you can hit the ground running.  If you start looking for opportunities now, you can get the momentum going well before you graduate.

It'll also be great practice for when you're in your pursuit full-time.  Building confidence in your auditions takes time.  Getting work via a self-submission can take time as well.  Set yourself up for a seamless transition by looking for work now.   

Here's the point: get connected and get ready so you can get to work.

Prepare for your dance life with a bit of structure and inspiration using our 'I AM A WORKING DANCER' workbook.  This awesome career tool includes every tip from The Freelance Dancer's Roadmap, journaling prompts for researching and strategizing every facet of your dance career, and some of our favorite inspirational quotes.  Click here to get yours today!  

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