THE DANCER AND THE INDUSTRY

Published on 2nd Feb, 2011

Hello to the dancers, artistes and entertainment enthusiasts out there. My name is Stephen Agisilaou and I’m the choreographer and director of a contemporary jazz company in Melbourne; Vertical Shadows.

When asked to write a monthly blog about anything my little heart desires I was apprehensive as I’m not much for spelling or grammar, So I’m letting you in on the secret that what you’re about to read was definitely proof read by two to three people.

I’ve been known for being overly honest with my voice in the dance community and while that sometimes gets me into trouble; I’m a firm believer in following your voice. If your voice lines up with your passion and talent, in lies the key to success.

In an industry where the masses have the voice it’s easy to get lost in the gossip. We get so involved in our dance cliques, one thing to remember is outside of your studio/agency/dance-style/city, there is another world of dance you know nothing about and it knows nothing about you. I have been dancing for 10 years now and for the 7 of them I’ve spent in Melbourne as a public dance figure, well the gossipy stories I’ve heard! The one thing we all understand about ourselves, as dancers, is that we are basically our own species. This species consists of being out-spoken, emotional, trusting and overtly sexual, not to mention we dance around like ferrets in public. Our hyperactive personalities make us a dead giveaway for gossip and drama, but what to say on the subject . . . . . Less talk; more dance probably, remember gossip is a sign of weakness and insecurity.

Less talk and more dance . . . easily said than done in a country were arts seems to be a last thought to the general public. I find starting something new and exciting in Australia is easily swayed when you soon find out that not only is there no support from the big dance companies, governments or influential people but barely any from the people around you. How many times have I seen shows at the arts centre and just because the company is from overseas it gets funding and grants from us to perform a show that really has not much to it. Recently dance has grown in support but unfortunately it’s for all the wrong reasons. The dance TV shows have more to do with drama than dance and have broken the dream of being a dancer and one day dancing on a big stage live for a work that has meaning and thought put into it artistically, These days I meet dancers here and overseas who are sorely in training to get on these TV shows and be famous.

Open yourself up to all experiences and challenges. Set goals monthly. Have the intent of not just settling for what may come your way in this industry, but much more and making sure it happens. This way we not only improve ourselves but also push the people around us.

I believe this is an industry where we need lots of different skills and abilities. I do not feel what I’ve written and will be writing here is the be-all-and-end-all on dance and there are places for all of us here. But one thing I know is not once have I questioned being a dancer. I was lost until dancing came; from the age of 17 when I started I have never looked back. Throughout my monthly blog I plan to talk about the things I found in this industry as a dancer and also as a choreographer, hopefully it will help and inform you but also motivate you to challenge yourself as an individual in this industry we call dance!!!!!

Thank you
Stephen Agisilaou

Vertical Shadows is now one of Melbourne’s edgiest company’s. For more information on VS please visit www.verticalshadows.com.

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