Sponsored

How to Prepare for Your Journey as a Professional Dancer

We caught up with former Rockette Trina Simon at Showstopper's Myrtle Beach dance convention to get her expert advice on how to work as a professional dancer. Trina's work on Broadway has given her insight into the key things to focus on as a professional dancer looking for jobs and making a name for yourself, whether you are new to the world of professional dance or you have been making your way from one audition to the next for a while.


Auditions
Above all else, Trina recommends confidence. Being a confident dancer at an audition makes you stand out. Confidence says that you know what you're doing and that you feel like you belong on stage. This will make directors and judges notice you even if you aren't the best dancer because there is something attractive about owning your presence in a room.

"MY EYE GOES TO THE DANCERS WITH THE MOST CONFIDENCE. EVEN IF THEY MIGHT NOT END UP BEING THE BEST ONE, THEY PULL YOUR EYE TO THEM BECAUSE THEY APPEAR TO KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING."

Trina also told us that rejection is something that will happen. Rejection is inevitable when you are an artist, and if you do not think you can handle rejection, this might not be the best path for you. You will learn from these rejections, though, so take your rejections and make the best of them. Trina also recommends using rejection to your benefit by auditioning for experience. Audition for anything you can, even parts that you do not think you are right for or that you might not want. The more you audition, the more comfortable you will feel in auditions. That comfort and experience will help you succeed in your career.

"THE MORE YOU PRACTICE, THE BETTER YOU ARE AT IT, AND AUDITIONING IS DEFINITELY AN ART."

Know the Process
Working as a professional dancer is a process. Every step of the way is an art that you have to master. Learn every step of this process from the possibility of being cut from an audition to how to pack your dance bag to be prepared. This also means learning and mastering as many skills as possible so you are prepared for whatever an audition may throw at you. This could mean working on your singing skills or taking classes in acrobatics if those are areas that you feel could bolster your presence as a performer.
Part of the process is honesty. Don't lie on your resume. Eventually, the skills that you claim to have will be asked of you, and if you cannot meet the director's expectations, you can always be replaced by someone who can. Be yourself and make the most of the talents and skills you do have. That is the best way to take control of your part in the process of working professionally.

Take Opportunities to Network
When you go to auditions or work with choreographers and directors, develop relationships with them! These relationships will help you at future auditions with those same type of creative minds. These connections can also lead you to productions and jobs all over the country and even the world (you don't have to head straight to Broadway!).

Trina Simon was a Radio City Rockette for 17 years. She has performed in their Christmas and Spring Spectaculars, among several other events throughout the years. After being promoted to the Rockette's Assistant Choreographer, she trained the Rockettes for 10 years. Trina has also performed in Animal Crackers, A Chorus Line, Crazy for You, West Side Story, The Will Rogers Follies, 42nd Street and Anything Goes at such theaters as Paper Mill Playhouse, Sacramento Music Circus, Casa Manana, St. Louis MUNY, Kansas City Starlight, and Houston's TUTS. Trina is also a former company member of Clear Lake Metropolitan Ballet. Trina now hosts at Showstopper Dance Competitions and teaches at Showstopper Dance Conventions.

By Veronica Good
Writer, Showstopper VIP

Show Comments ()
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Andrew Ross, Courtesy Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Where in the world is Miko Fogarty? Just three years ago, she seemed unstoppable. After being featured in the 2011 ballet documentary First Position, she became a teenage social-media star, winning top prizes at competitions in Moscow and Varna and at Youth American Grand Prix, and dancing in galas around the world. Last most of us heard, it was 2015 and she had just joined the corps of Birmingham Royal Ballet and even appeared on Dance Spirit's cover. A year later, she dropped off the ballet radar.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Rigorous program, check. Well-rounded technical training, check. Purposeful liberal arts curriculum, check. Study your craft abroad, check! If you are looking for all the above, the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College truly has it all.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Thinkstock

Dance teachers have to deal with a lot. While open communication with your teacher is obviously key, lame excuses for less-than-great behavior are guaranteed to get on her nerves. Always avoid these seven excuses that will 100 percent get your dance teacher's blood boiling.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Reese Hatala takes front and center in the crazy-cute commercial (screenshot via YouTube)

Y'all already know that what you really need after hours of studying is a well-deserved break in the form of an epic dance party. But what are you supposed to do when you're stuck in the library and can't crank up the volume on your favorite tunes?

Keep reading... Show less
Trending-posts
via @younmephoto on Instagram

Summer's coming to a close which means it's time to head back to school and back to the studio. And though we have no doubt that you'll log a lot of dancing this fall, every dancer knows that there's bound to be down time in between technique classes, rehearsals, stretching, and waiting to be picked up. So give your Insta feed a break and check out these dance-tastic books that'll not only entertain you, but might even teach you a thing or two.

Keep reading... Show less
Cover Story
Class at the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance (photo by Ema Peter, courtesy USC)

If you closed your eyes and pictured dance paradise, what would it look like? Maybe you'd start your morning in rehearsal with a renowned contemporary choreographer, and then work on a dance driven by computer programming, and then run to a music video audition, and end the day discussing the impact of African dance styles on American pop culture.

Guess what? That dance paradise isn't just a dream. It's the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, a young program that's already attracting some of the most talented dancers around—for good reason.

Click here to meet Alyssa Allen, Simrin Player, and Jake Tribus, three of USC's standout students.

Keep reading... Show less
Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm on the fence about switching studios. My current studio is pretty relaxed about technique, but it's like a second home to me—I have so much fun with all my friends there. There's another studio nearby that's much more serious technically. I want to dance professionally when I grow up. Should I choose the school that has a great community, or the one that will help me reach my dream faster?

Erin

Keep reading... Show less
Trending-posts
Thinkstock

Picture this: You're in rehearsal, and you finally get a move the way the choreographer wants it—except that it makes your back twinge each time. Should you say you're in pain, or should you suck it up and keep going? You don't want to injure yourself, but you also don't want to jeopardize your role.

The dance world often teaches students to be quiet and obedient around authority figures. That said, there are definitely instances when you need to speak your mind. Try these tips to navigate sticky situations.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Jo Rowan (front) teaching ballet class at Oklahoma City University (photo by Shane Bevel, courtesy OCU)

Let's say this right up front: Everyone agrees that a talented dancer can move to NYC or L.A., start auditioning, and get booked without a dance degree. And graduating from a program doesn't guarantee that you'll have a successful dance career. So, what weight does a degree carry in the industry? "The reality today is that if you don't get a degree, you will be at a disadvantage," says Dr. Sally R. Sommer, director of the Florida State University dance department's semester-long immersion program in NYC. Proactive and engaged college students become more adaptable, thoughtful, and resilient dancers. Combine these qualities with a deeper understanding of dance history, practical experience with the professional expectations of choreographers, and access to a growing community of peers, guest artists, faculty, and alumni, and it's easy to see why a degree could mean more doors are open to you.

Keep reading... Show less
Trending-posts
via @younmephoto on Instagram

Summer's coming to a close which means it's time to head back to school and back to the studio. And though we have no doubt that you'll log a lot of dancing this fall, every dancer knows that there's bound to be down time in between technique classes, rehearsals, stretching, and waiting to be picked up. So give your Insta feed a break and check out these dance-tastic books that'll not only entertain you, but might even teach you a thing or two.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Andrew Ross, Courtesy Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Where in the world is Miko Fogarty? Just three years ago, she seemed unstoppable. After being featured in the 2011 ballet documentary First Position, she became a teenage social-media star, winning top prizes at competitions in Moscow and Varna and at Youth American Grand Prix, and dancing in galas around the world. Last most of us heard, it was 2015 and she had just joined the corps of Birmingham Royal Ballet and even appeared on Dance Spirit's cover. A year later, she dropped off the ballet radar.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Victoria Caban brought the heat with her flamenco routine. (via YouTube)

I never thought we'd make it here, you guys, but after 11 grueling weeks of competition and five rounds of Duels, "World of Dance" will enter The Cuts phase of the show next week. The talent is unreal this season, which makes the goodbyes that much harder. Last night, during the last round of The Duels, we witnessed a mass exodus, as only six acts advanced to the final round. My heart still hurts a little, and I've got no more tears left to cry, but I'll pull it together to recap the evening for you.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Showstopper is the nation's leading dance competition. It provides the perfect platform for dancers, teachers, and choreographers to showcase their talents and hard work. Showstopper's environment is inviting, motivating, and above all, inspiring. If you haven't experienced it, now is the time!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
He's been appearing on/choreographing for the show since 2006. (Adam Rose/FOX)

"Mister Travis Wall," as Cat Deeley would say, has had one heck of an epic "So You Think You Can Dance" journey. Since first appearing on the show as a contestant during Season 2 (back when he had frosted tips!), he's become one of the series' most respected choreographers and mentors. In fact, his work for "SYTYCD" has earned him Emmy nominations every year since 2011. EVERY. YEAR.

To celebrate his latest Emmy noms—for "SYT" Season 14's "Change is Everything" and "Strange Fruit"—The Wrap magazine talked to T.Wall about what the show has meant to his life. And as always, Travis was full of dancy wisdom.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Jo Rowan (front) teaching ballet class at Oklahoma City University (photo by Shane Bevel, courtesy OCU)

Let's say this right up front: Everyone agrees that a talented dancer can move to NYC or L.A., start auditioning, and get booked without a dance degree. And graduating from a program doesn't guarantee that you'll have a successful dance career. So, what weight does a degree carry in the industry? "The reality today is that if you don't get a degree, you will be at a disadvantage," says Dr. Sally R. Sommer, director of the Florida State University dance department's semester-long immersion program in NYC. Proactive and engaged college students become more adaptable, thoughtful, and resilient dancers. Combine these qualities with a deeper understanding of dance history, practical experience with the professional expectations of choreographers, and access to a growing community of peers, guest artists, faculty, and alumni, and it's easy to see why a degree could mean more doors are open to you.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun

In case you missed it, our favorite actress/dance fangirl Jennifer Garner hit the studio this weekend to brush up on her technique (stars, they really are just like us). And the end result might be even better than Garner's #TutuTuesday posts. At the request of American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, Garner took to her Instagram story to participate in Lil Buck's #GoinInCirclesChallenge.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Soooo gorgeous. (via Instagram)

Edgar Degas' famous sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen has been getting a lot of love recently—and by "love," we mean everything from a tutu upgrade to a full-on musical telling her story. But artist Doyle V. Trankina's reimagining of the sculpture, with none other than Misty Copeland taking the place of the young Paris Opéra Ballet School student who inspired the original? It might be our favorite Little Dancer tribute yet.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Giveaways