Let's face it: If you wanted an easy, straight-forward career path, you probably wouldn't aspire to be a professional dancer. First of all, there's no set path to success. If you want to be a doctor, you go to medical school. A lawyer? Law school. And while there are tons of great higher-ed opportunities for dancers (check outour Septemberissue!), the programs are far less standardized—and job placement immediately following graduation is the even more challenging. Dancers have to face all kinds of other tough stuff—like auditions and typecasting and rejection and understudying and side jobs and injuries and...you get the picture.
Long story short: It ain't easy! But with a little help and guidance, navigating the world of show biz needn't be quite so daunting.
Broadway veteran Adam Cates' new book, The Business of Show: A Guide to the Entertainment Business for the Performing Artist, is just what it sounds like: a one-stop shop of career advice for aspiring performing artists. Want to know how to use social media for self-promotion? Wondering what kind of pay you can expect for different gigs? Nervous about understanding the industry jargon in your contract? Want help navigating the networking process? Cates (the assistant choreographer of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) answers all these questions and more, bringing together advice from dancers who've made it big—and the artistic directors, choreographers, producers, agents and casting directors who helped them get there.
The Business of Show is available in paperback and e-book on amazon.com and in select retail stores. We're also giving away three print copies! Click here to enter for a chance to win one.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "