With the X-Factor about to announce their final contenders for the live shows Fremantle has engaged Simon Lind from Project Moda (who taught at the Australian Dance Festival on the weekend) to organise and choreograph dancers for the weekly shows. After being at the Australian Dance Festival all weekend there was one thing that really stood out to me in regards to the workshops and also to many people I spoke to over the two days… Why do (quite a few) “professional dancers” not do class anymore? With 20 workshops running each day with Australia’s supreme choreographers, wouldn’t you expect dancers to be hungry to learn all they can? Especially as the teachers that were there are people booking dancers for gigs all the time. While the workshops were packed, they were packed with mostly young dance students with a couple of dedicated and passionate full timers. There are of course exceptions to the statement I just made but your learning as a dancer should not stop at 21 or 22 it should continue throughout your whole career.
As you would have noticed when you see dancers on television or at a corporate show or in a film clip there is rarely an ‘Audition’ to get these gigs. After speaking with a choreographer who books dancers quite regularly they explained that there is never the time or budget to do an audition therefore they call dancers they know that are reliable, respectful and capable to do the job. All it takes these days is a simple phone call or text message to say this is when the job is, we will rehearse here and here and the money is X, Interested? This is why you may see the same people turning up dancing everywhere…
So for all the professional dancers out there that are waiting for the work to drop into your laps, I suggest you get back to class. Take class with everyone and really start to treat yourself as a business. Go to the classes of choreographers that are booking jobs and speak with them after class if you are looking for advice. While some choreographers may look hard on the outside they are usually more than happy to give you advice and constructive comments. Remember they were in your boots once before.
So next time you feel like complaining about the lack of work in Australia as a dancer think about what you have done recently to keep yourself growing as a performing and also growing your database of contacts.
Is it time that you got back to class?