Self-Marketing for Dancers

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By Sara Willcutt

1) Start with a Dance Resume
Your dance resume should highlight your experiences and accomplishments in order to foster your current dance goals.

The resume will include a cover letter, photos, reviews if you have them, references and for some a video.

Your resume is your advertisement to choreographers or dance company directors.

Do not make your resume an autobiography or list every performance you have ever been in. Try to keep your resume to one page. This may mean that you can’t put down everything. This is where you need to make choices and think about what job you are auditioning or applying for.

Your resume is important and it can set you apart form others.

2) Take Your Time and Do Your Best
Your resume needs to be perfect; getting a job could depend on it. You should make sure your resume is updated and that you always have someone proofread it to check for any errors. If you resume is sloppy, full of errors or confusing, it might imply that you are not motivated to do your best.

A clean well-written resume can give potential employers confidence that you pay attention to details and are professional and serious about your dance career.

3) Do Your Research
Before you create or update your dance resume, be sure to research the company or groups that will be looking at it. This can allow you to personalize your resume and cover letter to be more effective. Make sure you spell the director’s name correctly. Find out where the director has danced and studied. Find out the name of the artistic director.

To Do Your Research:

  • Look in the ASD Dance Directory find links to dance company web sites.
  • Look at Dance Magazine and Dance Spirit magazine to find articles about particular companies.
  • Look for reviews done in the New York Times.
  • Search the company name on big search engines like Google and Bing to see what comes up. You can also search the director’s name.
  • Go to the library and look at Stern’s Performing Arts Directory, which is most likely in your local library. It lists every Dance Company, their addresses and phone number.
  • Look at Cyber Dancer Page which is linked to many dance sites.

4) Make Contact
Call your target companies and ask to talk with the person in charge of public relations. Tell them that you are a dancer that is interested in auditioning for the company. Ask for information on their repertoire for the past five years and the repertoire the company intends to dance this season. Ask where the company is planning to tour, for the director’s biography and to whom you should send your audition materials. Offer your e-mail address so that it might be easier for them to e-mail rather that mail you information.

Try to find a member or former member of your target companies to talk with. You might find them through a find or some contact information on the companies’ website. Ask them questions such as:

•   Who teaches at rehearsals?
•   What are the rehearsals like?
•   What is the director like?
•   How are the dancers treated?
•   What is the range of salaries?
•   What time of year do the dancers return their letters of intent?

A letter of intent is a letter from the artistic director indicating his intent to continue working with a dancer for the next season. The directors then know how many contracts must be filled.

The best time to send your resume to an artistic is when he or she learns that a new dancer or dancers are needed.

Doing research like this means that you are not only prepared to write your best and most targeted resume, but you will also learn about the companies you are
interested in. You may discover that you are excited about a company, or you may find that it wouldn’t the right place for you. You can save a lot of time and energy by only auditioning for companies that would work out for you if you become a part of them.

Doing your research shows how much you care about the audition and that you are serious. Finding connections with directors and artistic directors is priceless.

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Marketing Your Dance Studio

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By Debra Gilbert

You have finally gained the experience and the financial backing it takes to run your own dance studio. Congratulations! Now comes one of the hard parts: marketing it to an audience to gain clientele. Here is an outline of ideas that one can use in starting up your dance studio and with the economic hardships of our time, some of these ideas are fairly inexpensive, if not free!

Word of mouth: Obviously you have the skills and possibly already have a few potential dancers lined up already, but it really is not enough. To start off, you need to create a snappy catch phrase that will have the dancers sashaying through those doors. The more creative, yet simplistic that you are with your catch phrase, the more buzz it will create. Once you have a catch phrase intact, ask your friends and fellow dancers to spread the word about your studio. Also, do not be afraid to make a scene! Enter your dancers into showcases and neighborhood shindigs so the audience will see the kind of training they should be looking for!

Hit the pavement: It is time to go old school. Design and make some fliers with all the info about your dance studio. This kind of advertising will be cheap, if not free, and shows dedication and creativity. Then, gather some friends and hit the streets. Hang up fliers in heavy foot-traffic areas, preferably outside and inside colleges and local businesses (where advertising is allowed) so potential dancers will be sure to notice the posting. Hand out fliers along the way to prospective students. In addition, to make business cards can be costly, but will make your studio appear and feel professional.

Go paperless: Another way this all can be done and environmentally friendly is sticking to the Internet, which in truth, is the probably the most effective way to draw attention. Spread your name across websites that offer free advertising (like the website that you are on right now). The more your name is out there, the more questions will arise as to who you are.

Build a website. This can be inexpensive to costly, depending on the website design. Even though you want an eye-catching display for your readers, keep in mind that it does not need to be an eyesore. Also, create MySpace and Facebook profiles for your studio. You want to get as much free advertising as you can get. Make your website and profiles fun! Take pictures of your studio, the dancers, and the instructors. Have all the info readily available for classes offered, times, dates, dance levels, costs, contact info and bios. Your site will benefit from mentioning awards that you, your instructors and/or your students have won.

Another sure way to have your studio booming is to make a video to market your dance space. Provide an introduction, a small tour and some dance pieces that include your work. Post it up on YouTube (and include the link or have it embedded onto your website if you decide to build one). Making the video can be rather expensive unless you have connections with a local filmmaker that will be willing to shoot your video for cheap or for free (it does not hurt to bargain either; offer them some free classes in exchange).

The main thing to keep into consideration is that you want to target new, semi-professional, and regional dancers. Although most students will be beginners, you want to focus on the styles that the studio offers at that level. Be available and hospitable to answer questions and offer to set up tours of your studio. Break a leg!

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