Ballet Careers

Ask Amy: How to Turn Connections into Dance Gigs

Zachary Guthier and Erica Felsch dancing at National Choreographers Initiative during a summer layoff. Photo by Dave Friedman, Courtesy NCI.

I have a short contract at a small company. What's the best way to build connections for freelance gigs during my layoff? —Allison


During my career, I found that the best way to build connections was through colleagues and friends who already had them. If you know dancers who regularly get work during your company's off-time, ask them how to get in touch with those directors. Ditto for dance friends who live in metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where project-based companies are common.

It may also be worth visiting dance hubs like Steps on Broadway or Alonzo King LINES Dance Center for classes and choreographic workshops. Introduce yourself to the teachers and dancers and let them know that you're looking for freelance work. I once met a choreographer this way, and we ended up working together.

Looking for performing gigs during your layoff?

Tap into all of your resources, including friends,

connections at major dance schools,

visiting stagers and online audition notices.

Take advantage of visiting stagers and choreographers at your company, too. They know people who know people, and since they're familiar with your dancing, they may be able to put in a good word for you. And reach out to area schools to see if they need guest artists for productions like Nutcracker.

As you build your network, make sure your resumé, headshot, photos and video clips are up-to-date. You can also join networking groups on Facebook, such as We Are Dancers, or set up a profile on websites like needdancers.com, networkdance.com and dance.net, which connect artists with jobs. And bookmark Pointe's auditions webpage—it's continually updated with companies looking for dancers. I also recommend making business cards—you never know who you're going to meet at a performance or a party.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

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